Today’s the day. At noon here in Paris, the prestigious jury revealed the country’s first government certified “Palace Hotels.” The hotel classification system was recently revamped, and only then did the French Government add a five-star category to the mix. Hotels within that category are allowed to compete for an additional distinction called “Palace”-- demonstrating "l'excellence à la française" and showcasing the very best that France has to offer. In addition to meeting certain criteria (the size of the guest rooms, spa on property), the hotels must prove to be truly exceptional. The winners of this award (the tourism equivalent of the "Pulitzer Prize") will hold the title for a period of five years.
The star-filled jury was chock full of creative personalities. Here’s the list of folks who bestowed the honor on a mere eight luxury hotels in the entire hexagon: Dominique Fernandez, member of the Académie Française; Adélaïde de Clermont Tonnere, French journalist and novelist; Aliza Jabes, President of the NUXE Laboratories; Hubert Joly, President and CEO of Carlson; Serge Nicole, President of the “Ateliers d’Art de France”; Joseph Olivereau, Honorary President of Relais & Châteaux; Carole Rousseau, television host and producer; Yves Rousset-Rouard, movie producer; Gonzague Saint-Bris, writer, historian and journalist; Jean-Michel Wilmotte, architect et designer.
And without further ado, the eight super-luxury hotels named “Palaces” are:
Le Bristol (pictured), Le Meurice, Park Hyatt Vendôme and the Hotel Plaza-Athénée in Paris; the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz; Les Airelles and Cheval Blanc in Courchevel; and the Grand Hôtel Cap Ferrat on the French Riviera.