Do I choose boysenberry ice-cream which I know and love, or do I try something new, something that may taste even better, but then maybe it won’t …?
It’s not very often that I indulge in ice-cream, so when I do I want the experience to be un-regrettable. The choice of flavour needs to be everything I’ve anticipated, and so often trying something new has led to regret and disappoint. For this reason, I find myself conservatively choosing boysenberry ice-cream time and time again. It never disappoints, I know exactly how good it is, and although it’s not a new experience, it’s still a memorable moment.
Having visited the City of Lights four times in less than 2 years, I find myself faced with the same ice-cream flavour choosing indecision. Same hotel which I know and love or try somewhere new? Thank goodness for the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal who solved this for me by inviting me as a guest to experience firsthand, five star, first arrondissment luxury. This was a hotel that I had considered many times, but between procrastination and Boysenberry behaviour, this hotel remained on my “list” to try. After reading glowing reviews on Tripdviser and having perused their online hotel publication, I was so impressed by the professionalism , location, cleanliness and beauty that we chose to extend our stay at our own expense, before even arriving. I was confident it would be an unregrettable decision, and I was right.
Too often an establishment will excel in one area, and score poorly in another. We’ve all experienced hotels that are beautiful but the service is substandard. Or perhaps vice-versa, where the service is impeccable, but the façade or interior lacking. Or the restaurant meal is delicious, but overpriced. Sometimes the location is ideal, but the bed and pillows uncomfortable. In fact the more I speak with people regarding travel, the more I realise just how many settle (unknowingly, or begrudgingly) for substandard experiences. The idea that the “perfect place”, is like a four leaf clover, and impossible to find, but not so with Grand Hotel du Palais Royal. It really is the possible impossible. Allow me to formally introduce this ‘four-leaf-clover’.
Doors open revealing the lift interior which is decorated by a photograph of the Palais Royal area. An extension of the Parisian experience, even when travelling inside a lift one feels enveloped by this romantic city.
Once a residential home during the 18th Century, Grand Hotel du Palais Royal was renovated and re-opened in July 2013. The stunning interior renovation can be credited to the artistic genius of Pierre Yves Rochon, with cultural references accented throughout the hotel by the Louvre’s atelier. However, for me the crowning jewel is the location and views. Situated within eyesight of the Louvre, Palais Royal Gardens, and Sacre Coeur Basilica in the distance (chose a room on an upper level such as the Prestige Suite), yet obscured within a quaint, one way street courtyard. You are perfectly sheltered from the hustle and bustle of busy Paris, yet the central proximity to all major monuments, particularly the Louvre makes this an excellent time saving choice for accommodation. The courteous and professional staff dispel any negative stereotype that you may have heard about the French, as they genuinely seek to accommodate ones’ needs, and English is commonly understood too. I am so thankful for their efforts in tracking down our lost luggage with the airline, and once again the services of a five star concierge on such occasions is invaluable. I could not imagine having had to navigate the linguistic acrobatics between French and English with Charles de Gaulle Airport baggage-claim, so I left it in the very capable hands of our hotel concierge. It makes sense after a 27 hours flight, but that’s another story.
It’s often said, if you want to know what a person values take a look through their photo album. On this occasion the majority of the photos I captured during my time at the hotel feature the stunning views of Paris rooftops and city skyline. The prestige suite showcases this to perfection. Each morning I awoke was to the instant stimuli, “Welcome to Paris” as the grey and terracotta rooftops were visible from my bed and bathroom. The simple act of brushing my teeth or doing my makeup becomes a pleasure because of the stunning views visible from the bedroom, bathroom, and believe it or not toilet too, (no toilet literature needed on this occasion with views like that).
The breakfast buffet is of a high quality, boutique style, with the option of al a carte, so you need not fret about congealed buffet eggs. The setting is calming, white and Autumnal tones create an atmospheric ambience in the lobby area, while the restaurant is light with colourings of white and green.
Because there seems to be a cynic in most people, and I can hear the cynic’s voice begging for what wasn’t perfect to be disclosed, I can only mention what I experienced. So for those that need the fault in our faultless experience, the name of the hotel is too long. Thereafter I found nothing but excellence, in all categories, particularly where it counts the most.
Within one minute of leaving the Hotel, I was strolling through the Palais Royal Gardens, coffee in hand (Australian style coffee) from the go to café Kitsune, also located within the picturesque gardens. Did I mention the world class shopping in this area that tourists don’t seem to know about?
My bedroom balcony birds-eye-view overlooking the quaint courtyard (resolving to waste more time drinking coffee and people watching from this vantage point the next time).
Location! Location! More of the magic, that makes Grand Hotel du Palais Royal so perfectly placed within the 1st Arrondissment.