Each of Paris's palace hotels (there are 12) excels in all the ways you'd expect, yet also offers a singular allure. If we had to sum up the Shangri-La's, we'd have to say, "Beautiful views!" as more than half the hotel's 101 rooms come with the Eiffel Tower in sight from a terrace or window (or bathtub)--seriously, the best of them even put you pretty much right at the Iron Lady's sparkling feet. But we could just as well mention the pool, easily one of Paris's top three, the cuisine (two Michelin stars, three restaurants), or the overall ambiance, which is exceptionally beautiful. This is, after all, the exquisitely restored private mansion of Napoleon Bonaparte's grandnephew.
The hotel's 36 suites range from lovely to stupendous, with such offerings as a luxe Art Deco-inspired apartment (Chaillot) with a sprawling private terrace and the Eiffel Tower almost at arm's length, to Roland Bonaparte's sumptuous private apartments—a listed historic monument—with a bathroom the size of a Manhattan rental. A more prosaic luxury is to be had in other rooms and suites, all in Empire or modern style, with custom furniture, plush sofas and lounge areas, in a tranquil palette of pale blues, cream and beige, many with silk-clad walls and damask curtains.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Some consider this neighborhood remote. But if you're a walker—or wish to explore some of Paris's lesser-known but exceptional, museums—this is a great area to do it.
Oversized marble bathrooms feature heated floors, classic fixtures, separate rain shower and bathtub, double sinks, a mirror that doubles as a flat-screen TV, and daylight—a rarity in Paris. The sublime Imperial Suite is about as opulent as it gets in Paris, featuring miles of gilding, frescoed putti, and original oil paintings.
Fancy a view from your tub? Well, you'll certainly get one at this hotel, in many of the rooms! Go ahead--take a bath and stare at the Eiffel Tower.
This former stately home's lovely lounges have been painstakingly restored down to the mahogany fireplaces, frescoed ceilings and soaring marble entranceway and grand staircase. A beautiful series of paneled rooms are great for meeting up for a coffee or enjoying elegant teatime in front of a roaring fire.
Note the beautifully restored ceiling fresco in the first-floor lobby to your right representing the four seasons.
The Shangri-La is justly famous for its pool, housed in the former stables. Flooded with daylight and possess of a grassy outdoor sunbathing area, it's big, airy, and luminous where most Paris pools are small and subterranean. Not this one! You're in for quite a treat.
A tranquil contrast with the pool, half-lit Chi spa offers an exhaustive menu of delicious treatments by the Organic Pharmacy, a luxury British brand. Double rooms for couples available.
A small but well-equipped gym overlooks the pool terrace. A private coach is available by request.
You will not lack for dining choices, with three elegant restaurants to choose from—including the excellent two-Michelin-starred L'Abeille—helmed by Christophe Moret—and the Shang Palace, one of Paris's best Chinese restaurants— to choose from for any meal of the day, including teatime or late night tapas at the bar.
Le Bar Botaniste's sumptuous coziness is augmented by a dusky, candlelit atmosphere in the evening. An excellent cocktails menu highlights botanical ingredients, a running theme this establishment, once overflowing with Prince Roland's rare specimens.
In summer, the Shangri-La offers a small terrace bar-café, often with a special theme.
A quick walk to the metro station Alma Marceau, you can also pick up the Batobus boat taxi at Trocadéro and go to eight of Paris's major sites by water.
Great views abound, at nearby Maison Blanche's rooftop terrace, Musée Quay Branly's glassed in Les Ombres, and Monsieur Bleu, at the Palais de Tokyo. Not to mention Alain Ducasse's Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower.
This isn't the place for cocktails bars of the lowly sort, that said, Monsieur Bleu is an elegant spot for a drink on the terrace or at the inside bar. Or you can head over to Le Dokhan's Champagne bar on jazz night.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Though somewhat off-the-beaten-path, this is a beautiful quiet neighborhood with tons of discoveries to be made, starting with the superb Musée Guimet across the street. Fashion lovers should check out the Musée Galliera, whose beautiful gardens are perfect for relaxing with a book, as well as the Palais de Tokyo for contemporary art and its twin, the Musée d'Art Moderne. We don't just like this hotel--we love it. One of the more intimate of the palace hotels, it's got all the bases covered—atmosphere, dining, pool, views—with a level of service that pampers while putting you totally at ease.