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Book excerpt: The Luxury Collection: Hotel Stories

June 7, 2013

The Luxury Collection: Hotel Stories dust jacket


By Francisca Matteoli

Prince de Galles, Paris: A Luxury Collection Hotel

In the late 1920s, a piece of land at the crossroads of scenic Avenue de l’Alma (now Avenue George V) and Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie was put up for sale by the Paris city hall.

Two businessmen fought over the purchase, each planning a luxury hotel named Hotel de l’Alma. Unable to reach an agreement, the two split the plot: Parisian businessman François Dupré developed the George V Hotel, and André Million, president of the Grand Hotel and the Meurice, built the Prince de Galles.

And so, a bit of Parisian hotel history was born.

Constructed on the Chaillot quarries, from which the stones were extracted for the Arc de Triomphe, the Prince de Galles was built by architect Andre-Louis Arfvidson, a pioneer of the Modern Movement.

Inspired by the Decorative Arts exhibition of 1925, he created a classical yet modern façade and a magnificent mosaic patio.

French and international luminaries were keen to experience the grand opening, and they eventually became regular guests.

The Prince de Galles hosted Sir Winston Churchill, Lord Chamberlain, Marlene Dietrich, and the King of Yugoslavia from its privileged position in the Golden Triangle by the Champs-Elysées.

But the hotel gained renown in the 1960s as the favorite hotel of another king—Elvis Presley. It was his favorite place to stay during his Parisian getaways until his death in 1977.

Since then, new generations of stars have fallen in love with the hotel, from Kirk Douglas to Élie Chouraqui, and even Michael Jackson, who stayed many times.

Now the hotel is ushering in a return to its original glamour, thanks to an extensive two-year restoration.

The new Prince de Galles reopens its doors this year to show off its 159 guestrooms and 44 lavish suites designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, including a new Royal Duplex Suite with a private terrace and panoramic views over the City of Light.

The restoration reinstates the special services and delights that made this 1920s landmark a Paris icon, overlaying its beautiful Art Deco bones with modern comforts.

And with the help of designer Bruno Borrione, an exceptional dining experience is reborn, the beautiful mosaic patio once again the centerpiece of this treasured Parisian hotel.

Excerpted with permission from The Luxury Collection: Hotel Stories, by Francisca Matteoli. ©2013 Assouline Publishing. Adapted for style.

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