Stay in a princely palace in Paris with dazzling views of the Eiffel Tower

Whether you're one of the 15 million tourists heading to Paris for the Olympics or one of the approximately 37 million visitors who visit the city throughout the year, a stop at the Shangri-La Paris should be on your itinerary.

The City of Light is home to many of the world's best hotels, but here are some things that make Forbes Travel Guide 5-star hotels stand out from the rest.

Rich History

Many Paris hotels boast the title of “Palace”, a government-awarded designation given to luxury properties with exceptional locations and first-rate service. The Shangri-La Paris easily earns the title, but when it was built in 1896, it was actually a veritable palace for Prince Roland Bonaparte, Napoleon's great-nephew.

The prince was a geographer and botanist, and his mansion was the world's largest private herbarium at the time, housing over 2.5 million species of plants, including almost half of the planet's flower species. Combining 19th-century luxury with 21st-century environmental consciousness, the hotel is fittingly the first hotel in Europe to achieve the Forbes Travel Guide VERIFIED Responsible Hospitality badge.

Room with a view

You can stay in Bonaparte's former apartment: the one-bedroom L'Appartement Prince Bonaparte, with its blue-and-gold Directoire design, 16-foot ceilings with crown molding and gold leaf work, Versailles-style parquet flooring, living room, dining area, and full butler kitchen.

While the Prince's Suite is impressive, the hotel's real draw is its Eiffel Tower views. Nearly half of the hotel's 100 rooms and suites offer front-row seats to Paris' Iron Lady and the Seine. At night, you'll find yourself drawn to the window, eager to see the tower sparkle for five minutes every hour, a light show that never loses its allure.

Light-filled rooms exude classic elegance in hues of blue, white and ivory, while Chinoiserie touches like black lacquer dressers and silk wallpaper allude to the brand's Asian heritage. Marble bathrooms feature Guerlain amenities, separate bathtubs and heated floors, elevating the experience from lavish to ultra-luxurious.

Great food and drink

La Bauhinia, an all-day restaurant set over two floors, has a soaring glass dome that creates a bright and airy atmosphere. In summer, a tree-lined terrace opens for al fresco dining. Mornings here are a celebration of French pastries; the breakfast buffet is a treasure trove of delicacies, from strawberry-filled madeleines to flaky croissants. Top your pastries with a fresh, all-natural Nutella-like spread at the touch of a button.

As the day progresses, La Bauhinia transforms its menu into inventive seafood small plates, like crispy rice with tuna and a decadent caviar topping, but it's the lobster French toast that steals the show: A round, fluffy piece of bread is brought to your table, and a waiter spoons juicy lobster chunks, sea beans and bisque onto it. French toast Soothing cooking has been elevated to an art form.

While Shangri-La's first European hotel is thoroughly French, Shang Palace expresses its Asian roots. It's one of the city's leading Chinese restaurants. Surrounded by wooden screens and pillars studded with jade flower carvings, highlights include carefully arranged batnet-cut vegetables topped with ginger-flavored salmon sashimi, crispy blue lobster with salted egg yolk, and melt-in-the-mouth grilled cubes of A4-grade wagyu beef.

For an evening drink, head to Le Bar Botaniste. After the prince's death, his extensive plant collection was donated to Lyon's Claude Bernard University, but the hotel continues to pay tribute to Bonaparte's love of botany with this intimate bar. Cleverly designed to resemble Napoleon's tent with striped wallpaper, the bar is peppered with homages to nature, from the lush leafy walls to the edible flowers that accompany cocktails.

The botanical-forward menu includes drinks such as the almond-flavoured Three Clicks Left, Gin Anna (an organic French spirit), gentian (a plant used as a bitter), peach liqueur, almond brandy and grapefruit soda. health To the Prince's botanical legacy.

Extravagant Design

This Paris hotel exudes a sense of grandeur as you approach its white Louis XIV-style façade made from French stone and decorated with lions and other statues. Napoleon I commissioned Ernest Genty, who also restored the Louvre and the Tuileries Palace (the royal palace before Versailles), to design his urban sanctuary.

Once inside, the white stone interior feels even more opulent. The lobby is a masterpiece of marblework, with floors covered in shades of maroon, marigold, pine green and white, made from five different types of marble from the Pyrenees, the Alps and Tuscany. As you walk up to the vaulted rotunda, to your left you'll see a striking sculpture of a black Venus wearing a gold-feathered loincloth and a snake coiling around her foot. A torch she holds above her head lights you across the checkered floor to the sweeping white Carrara marble staircase, with its decorative steel and polished brass banister that curves upwards. It's one of the hotel's most photogenic backdrops.

A flight of stairs leads to a series of salons. While we don't usually recommend visiting hotel meeting areas, these venues served as Bonaparte's dining and family rooms, and he spent most of his time in these sumptuous spaces. The Louis XIV-style Grand Salon is covered in shimmering gold leaf from the high ceilings to the walls. Look closely and you'll spot the Bonaparte coat of arms, the imperial crown and bee, among the gold leaf work. Gold lions' heads decorate the white marble fireplace, quietly anchoring the room's grandeur.

Next door, the Salle à Manger harbours a secret that was uncovered during Shangri-La's 2006 renovation: Beneath 14 layers of paint lies hand-carved mahogany panelling depicting battle weapons and trophies commissioned by Bonaparte, paying homage to the family's military traditions. This unexpected find has been meticulously restored, transforming the space into a beautiful salon.

For a more feminine aesthetic, step into the Empire-style Salon de Famille, where soft blue walls are lined with painted figures, including an angelic, winged woman framed by a medallion.

For a salon-like experience fit for royalty, consider splurging on the Bonaparte Dinner: this exclusive private event recreates the previous owners' lavish banquets, from imperial crown porcelain plates to a four-course French meal, in a space that has hosted generations of elites.

Sparkling Pool and Spa

When you need to unwind from your Parisian adventures, head to CHI, the Spa at Shangri-La Paris. The four-star spa incorporates the hotel's botanical motifs, from the delicate floral wallpaper that covers the halls to the white plant reliefs in the treatment rooms. The theme continues in the snacks. Sip on teas of turmeric, ginger, coconut and holy basil, or water infused with orange blossom, staghorn sumac, ginger and vermicelli. After a long flight, book a calming CBD massage to ensure a good night's rest.

The spa also has a 17-metre pool with a mosaic bottom, high ceilings and columns. A wall of windows lets in plenty of natural light, and there's a small, plant-filled terrace for those wanting to sit on a chaise lounge and get some fresh air – a welcome upgrade from the space's former home as the palace's stables.

From Forbes

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