In the last few years, France has been stepping up its game in terms of luxury tourism. From a country that mainly did business with Britain and Germany until very recently, it is now a favored destination for tourists from all over the world. The new French Constitution cemented freedom of religion into law, making it “the land of Liberte, egalite et fraternity”, and that increased acceptance of immigrants from Arab-speaking countries has had a major impact on its culture.
Alongside this opening to the Middle East comes an increase in tourism from China too – who are starting to develop their luxury travel market especially since Chinese President Xi Jinping went on his tour of France last year. In turn, France’s influence seems to be rubbing off on China – regarding architecture, the French-designed Louvre-Lens museum in northern France has been hugely successful. Its success is likely something that will become evident to many people this year when it opens its doors again after a two-year refurbishment program.
With so much attention being given to France, investors are beginning to build luxury hotels – which means not only better accommodation for tourists but also more business opportunities for caterers, restaurants, and other providers of hospitality services. Some of these new hotels are American companies looking at their domestic market, but others are European firms that want to tap into growing tourist revenues from Asia.
The Crillon Hotel Paris is one such firm – it’s run by MWB Group, which is based in the UK. It’s designed to fill a gap in the Paris market – not just for tourists but also for business people, who require better rooms than are available elsewhere without being too expensive. The hotel was originally an old palace that had suffered during both World Wars – it was renovated and upgraded by MWB Group, though most of the original features have been retained.
The most striking thing about this new addition to Europe’s tourist infrastructure is its location – 2 Place de la Concorde 20 Champs-Élysées Paris 8th. This isn’t far from the Eiffel tower, but this hotel doesn’t aim at ordinary tourists – they’re aiming more at high-level corporate guests, who won’t be put off by the idea of being a little outside tourist area. For corporations who have staff in Paris anyway, having all your employees stay at the same hotel will improve security and even productivity – but it also makes business trips more convenient for everyone involved. In addition to this, the location is highly accessible from Charles de Gaulle airport, which means that guests can arrive from further afield without being stuck in traffic jams.
The rooms aren’t cheap – they start around €600 per night – but then again you do get good value for money here. Each room has its bathroom with a bathtub and there’s even space to store luggage if you arrive early or leave late – offering plenty of privacy while not compromising on luxury. The hotel has a library on the second floor that’s open to the public, so people can either relax there or use it as a meeting place. A new restaurant called ‘The Willi’ will be opening here shortly – curiously, it is being run by Gordon Ramsay Holdings Ltd, who have celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay working at their establishment.
Another new establishment is Le Cheval Blanc Courchevel 1850, which opened its doors just two months ago after renovations were completed by French firm Novotel. It isn’t only tourists who are being looked after, but also skiers who are attending one of the largest ski resorts in France on any given winter season – Courchevel is highly exclusive and extremely pricey to visit unless you’re a high-roller
However, skiers who’ve had enough of the bustle at Courchevel 1850 can now head down to Le Cheval Blanc Courchevel 1850’s bar – it has its own après ski beverage menu that runs into the hundreds of different types of champagne, wines, and spirits available. Just like other new hotels in France, this one offers luxury rooms with ensuite bathrooms for guests, though prices are only slightly lower than some luxury chain hotels which may be more readily known across Europe. Companies wishing to make business trips here will also appreciate how easy it is to get hold of their colleagues on the ground via video conferencing facilities available in all rooms – which makes for better productivity overall.