The French government announced the eight recipients of its new ‘palace’ hotel rating May 5, dealing a blow to some of Paris’s most famous hotels.
The ‘palace’ rating is an official designation above five stars awarded by the French tourism authorities — it’s designed to help travelers identify the cream of the country’s many swanky hotels.
A total of four Paris properties were given the award — the Bristol, the Meurice, the Park Hyatt and the Plaza Athenee.
A further four outside the capital were also lauded; the Palais in Biarritz; the Airelles and Cheval Blanc in Alpine resort Courchevel; and the Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat.
However, several high-profile properties were not deemed worthy, raising eyebrows in the French tourism industry.
The George V by Four Seasons, a world-famous property just off the Champs-Élysées, was excluded, despite boasting a Michelin-starred restaurant, one of the most luxurious spas in Paris and 30 suites with private terraces.
Also omitted was the Ritz Paris, widely regarded as one of the most prestigious hotels in the world which has played host to guests including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel and Princess Diana.
Hotel de Crillon, which was constructed in 1758 as a palace for France’s monarchy (who were then executed in front of it 35 years later during the revolution) didn’t make the list either, despite being one of the oldest luxury properties in the world.
For the man in charge of the Plaza Athenee, the Dorchester Group’s Francois Delahaye, the omissions were too much.
“I have a bitter taste of victory in my mouth,” he told AFP. “That the Ritz and especially the George V were not on the list removes all credibility from the award.”