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The Shangri-La Paris, due to open on December 17, is the latest in a wave of palatial super-luxury hotels established in the city.
Housed in the former private home of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s grand-nephew, Prince Roland Bonaparte – in the City of Light's prestigous 16th arrondissement – the Shangri-La has 81 rooms including a massive 27 suites, many with views of the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine.
The most sumptuous suite was originally the prince’s private rooms while the penthouse has a 100 square metres of exteriour deck. The building is a listed heritage institution and its original features have been retained.
The Shangri-La joins a special category of hotel created by the French Tourism Ministry, where the establishments go beyond the familiar five-star standard into a whole new realm of luxury. It's no accident that the ministry describes these hotels as “palaces”.
To qualify for the 'palace' title a hotel needs to in a special location, have a minimum rating of five stars and offer rooms with a minimum of 32 square metres.
Décor has to be 'first class', a spa is essential (as is child-minding) and highest-class food served 24-hours of the day.
Palaces must employ multi-lingual staff and – here's the bit we like – a phone call from any guest must be answered within five rings!