Among the many storybook sights in Paris – an architectural wonderland where even utilitarian traffic circles are postcard-ready landmarks – Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris ranks high. A crown jewel in the Four Seasons portfolio, the Hotel has attracted the world’s glitterati since opening its doors in 1928. Honouring the 90th anniversary of this grande dame of the Champs-Élysées, we’ve put together a brief guide to its illustrious history – and summarized why it’s still the only place to stay in the City of Lights.
Heritage Highlights: A Brief History of the George V
When it opened at the height of the art deco period in 1928, the George V – its name a nod to the British monarchy – coddled guests with amenities that were unheard of at the time, including two bathrooms per suite (it was rare for any Parisian hotel to have an en-suite bath at all, much less two), a telephone with an outside line and dumbwaiters that delivered food straight from the kitchen to the room. By 1930, guests could charter flights to or from London, Madrid and Berlin on the Hotel’s three-seat Farman plane. But why would they ever leave? Designed by French architects Lefranc and Wybo with a sunlit inner courtyard, the Hotel feels like a royal residence where you’d want to stay awhile – one where a subterranean wine cellar, built 14 metres below ground in former stone quarries, holds some 50,000 carefully curated bottles.
No surprise, then, that some of the 20th century’s boldface names chose the George V as their home away from home in Paris. The Beatles wrote “I Feel Fine” in their suite at the George V, where a piano was installed just for them; their photographer, Harry Benson, captured them twisting and shouting during a pillow fight for some of the most famous images of the Fab Four ever made.
Even in the most romantic city on earth, the George V is so romantic that Elizabeth Taylor and Conrad Hilton chose the eighth-floor Penthouse Suite – with wraparound overlooks of the cityscape — for their honeymoon. The view, of course, includes the Eiffel Tower, which now sparkles by night every hour on the hour in an effervescent light show reminiscent of Champagne bubbles. “The George V is in the Golden Triangle of Paris, so it has always been in the middle of things – cinema, fashion,” says Roderick Levejac, Chef Concierge of Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris. “We became a part of it. Yves Montand, the Beatles, Orson Welles . . . I could name a hundred more. They all knew the address.”
A Splashy Spa
The just-renovated Spa at Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, reopening in June 2018, is a striking tribute to relaxation in style. Included in the revamp designed by the celebrated Pierre-Yves Rochon: a 90-square-metre (970-square-foot) fitness room, a new salon for your daily coiffure and a 17-metre-long pool – a rarity in Paris. Interiors will be lush with orchid arrangements by Jeff Leatham, the Hotel’s lauded Artistic Director, who has 12,000 flowers delivered direct from Amsterdam every week to adorn the George V.
One Michelin-starred restaurant distinguishes a hotel from the rest. Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, has three – each worthy of a trip to Paris. Le Cinq is the only restaurant in the city to have garnered three Michelin stars in 2016, 2017 and 2018; Chef Christian Le Squer’s menu changes regularly but may include such edible wizardry as roasted blue lobster with pistachio and creamy coral sauce, or truffle spaghetti with morel mushrooms and ham.
The Hotel’s other two mainstays shine with one Michelin star apiece: Mediterranean-style Le George – be sure to try the sea bass crudo with powdered balsamic vinegar – and the atrium-like L’Orangerie, an ideal setting for a brunch of champions. Under its glass dome, windows look out on the marble courtyard, as do guests dining on such dishes as smoked soft egg served with imperial caviar on a bed of watercress.
Each of the 244 guest rooms and suites at Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, combines fine French design traditions (gilding here, Louis XVI furniture there) with meticulous modern enhancements – 24-hour dining and dry-cleaning, even in-room bread toasting services. “We have renovated the Hotel since its opening, but, to me, nothing has changed,” Levejac says. “The George V has a real story. Throughout the years and changes, it remains one of the most well-known hotels of the whole world, and, of course, one of the very best too.”
Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
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