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France

PARIS

HOTEL PRINCE DE GALLES

1928 was a good year for having fun. Think of all those sleek motor cars with long, long bonnets, drawing up outside town palaces decked out in Art Deco. Inside, the beautiful people partied. The music was jazz and the cocktail shaker was chrome. Z was the letter of choice: zigzags for the bathroom and zebra skin for the sofas. When you wearied of the same old crowd, if you were rich and in Paris and you fancied something new, you jumped in the Hispano-Suiza and headed for the latest hotel on the avenue George V. Designed by the architect of the moment, Arfvidson, it was the place to be – the Hotel Prince de Galles.

Hotel Prince de Galles, ParisNamed because its owners wished to welcome the then Prince of Wales for his annual sojourns in the French capital, the Prince de Galles has over the years played host to other interesting folk – like Winston Churchill, Elvis Presley and Marlene Dietrich. And now, me.

Let me say at once that there are two aspects of this hotel which are marvellous. First, its location. Close to the rush of the Champs-Elysées and yet imperiously separate on its stately avenue, it is surrounded by the grandest of the grand boutiques. If fashion is your passion, this will be your heaven. All around there are opportunities for serious spending. A few thousand euros here, a few thousand euros there… Your wardrobe will soon be thrilling once more.

Hotel Prince de Galles, ParisAnd my second gold star goes to the Prince de Galles for its public areas. Walls of honey-coloured stone, floors of costly marble, gilt chandeliers and antique chairs – all the accoutrements of the grand luxury hotel are here, and in a most delightful ensemble. After a rather tiresome taxi ride from the Gare du Nord, the cares of the world (and of bad-tempered taxi drivers) fell away as I walked into the hotel’s lovely entrance hall.

Soon I was up in room 409 (822 euros a night, bed and breakfast for two) – an apartment decorated with the typical Parisian love of colour (in this case, yellow and light blue). There was plenty of space for the two armchairs, and through the window I could admire the geometric patterns of the mosaic on the walls of the inner courtyard. I liked the original door-plates and handles – the latter in the form of a streamlined bird’s wing.

I did not dine in the hotel restaurant, Le Jardin des Cygnes, so I cannot comment on Chef Pierre Dominique Cecillon’s cuisine. I can, however, report that the quality of my food at breakfast – grapefruit juice, bacon and mushrooms, fresh melon and pineapple, and coffee – was excellent. And, since the breaking of my fast was done in the restaurant, I can also report that this impressive classical chamber – with its potted palms, painted sky and wooden panelling – would certainly make a handsome setting for a good dinner.

1928 was a good year for having fun. And – to judge by the Prince de Galles – it was a good year for opening hotels.

 


ADDRESSES

HOTEL PRINCE DE GALLES

33 avenue George V, Paris 75008, France.
Telephone +33 1 53 23 77 77
Fax +33 1 53 23 78 78
Email: hotel_prince_de_galles@sheraton.com
www.starwood.com/princedegalles
Double rooms from 390 euros, breakfast extra
Ask about special offers

Francis Bown 2003
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