The travel industry should be thrilled that the ever-popular destination, France, is experiencing a season of revival with new, luxury hotels, renovations and restaurants with delicious offerings.
Lalique, Luxury French Glass Company, Opens Hotel in Alsace
Recently opened in the French region of Alsace, the Villa René Lalique used to be the family home of the founder of Lalique, the iconic French crystal brand. The villa was built near the company’s factory--nestled on a leafy six-acre expanse in the village of Wingen-sur-Moder, an hour’s drive from Strasbourg. With just six suites, it's been transformed into a luxurious hotel decorated with Art Deco-inspired furniture and custom made crystal.
You’ll also find plenty of Lalique crystalware in the restaurant, helmed by the Jean-Georges Klein, previously at the Michelin three-starred L’Arnsbourg restaurant in the Lorraine region. One of the hotel highlights is the wine cellar, stocked with 20,000 bottles, some from the family of Lalique CEO Silvio Denz. Nearby, guests can explore the Lalique museum, designed by award-winning architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. The hotel project has been under construction since 2013, and since the hotel’s opening in September, there’s been much buzz.
New Rooms at Cheval Blanc in Courchevel
Here’s some news from Cheval Blanc, the “haute couture” hotel from LVMH located in the world's most exclusive French alpine ski resort. This ultra-luxe address in Courchevel has unveiled nine new rooms including six junior suites, done up in materials like marble, wood, bronze, leather, and cashmere. The closets and bathrooms were designed to be even more spacious. There are three different color palettes: pistachio and purple; gold and camel; and red, black and gray.
The luminous lobby has new artistic additions from Louis Vuitton’s “Nomadic Objects” collection created by the Campana brothers. New art installations can also be found in the White restaurant (culinary maestro Yannick Alléno is still at the helm of the hotel's gastronomic restaurant, Le 1947).
The White Bar has also had a makeover. To celebrate the 250th birthday of Hennessy, the head barman has invented a unique cocktail called Celebration, made with Cognac XO and champagne.
Last but not least: the Guerlain spa has a number of new therapies including express 30-minute treatments for instant revival after a day on the slopes. And rock star hairdresser John Nollet has set up a salon on site.
Four Seasons Hotel George V Opens New Restaurant in Paris
The talk of the town in Paris is the recently-opened eatery at the Four Seasons Hotel George V. Complementing the two existing restaurants—the Michelin two-starred Le Cinq and La Galerie—Le George serves light Mediterranean-style cuisine that’s designed for sharing. The official website describes “a convivial, gastronomic experience, taking guests on a journey between the French Riviera and northern Italy.”
Celebrated interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon decorated the restaurant, which is located inside a former hotel ballroom and has views over the marble courtyard. In spring 2016, Le George will unveil L’Orangerie, a glass-enclosed patio space. In the kitchen is Chef Marco Garfagnini from Carrara, Tuscany—he was named Young Italian Chef of the Year 2005 by the Gambero Rosso guide.
Lunch menus are priced from 65 euros; dishes are also available a la carte, and by the half portion. Dishes include Saffron risotto; Ravioli Del Plin with black truffle and parmesan cream; Roasted sole with basil and vinegar sauce; Corsican mountain goat glazed with Banyuls wine; and Free-range salt-crusted chicken.
Hotel Napoleon Celebrates Renovation
As witnessed every Paris Fashion Week, the city’s urbanites sure know how to throw a party. Here's another case in point: The recent “Roaring Twenties”-themed fete hosted by the Hotel Napoleon to celebrate a renovation. Located on Avenue Friedland, the five-star hotel takes its name from the fact that it has sweeping views of the Arc de Triomphe, the iconic Parisian monument commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte. Back in the 1920s, Russian businessman Alexander Pavlovich Kliaguine bought the mansion as a wedding gift for his Parisian bride to entertain the aristocratic elite. Today the hotel is still owned by the Kliaguine family, and it features 51 rooms and 51 suites within a stone’s throw of the Champs-Elysées.
A recent renovation added a new restaurant and polished the building’s gleaming white façade, and the Hotel Napoleon—led by General Manager Ludovic Corpechot—decided to fete the occasion in style. Guests were dressed to the nines in Roaring Twenties garb, and there was live music, a speakeasy style gambling room, and even a pop-up salon where guests could get a bespoke hat—made in front of their eyes and designed to fit their personality.
The bubbly was free flowing (Bruno Paillard’s Première Cuvée, Rose, and Blanc de Blancs Trand Cru), and the gourmet edibles included a station dedicated entirely to foie gras: the delicacy was served five different ways, and the foie gras lollipop served as the final, lingering taste. The Hotel Napoleon is part of the Preferred Hotel Group and the Chateaux & Hotels Collection.
Provence’s Chateau de Berne Completes Renovation
Nestled on a 1300-acre estate in the heart of the Provençal countryside, the Château de Berne is home to a 300-year old winery. Surrounded by grape vines and olive groves, the Château de Berne welcomes guests to visit the vineyards and ancient cellars, stacked with lovely rosé wines. The hotel has 27 guest rooms, which were redesigned in a “country chic” style, and have views over the garden, vineyards, and forest. During the renovation, completed this past summer, an additional three rooms and a family suite were added to the total room count.
The Bouscarelle brasserie was also renovated with an outdoor terrace; the gourmet restaurant boasts a new chef’s table; and a spa was added to the chateau’s guest facilities. Measuring 8,600 square feet, the new spa offers a range of treatments by Cinq Mondes. There’s also a counter-current swimming pool, two jacuzzis, a sauna, steam room, solarium, a relaxation area with and herbal tea room. Rounding out the amenities: a fitness room and lovely outdoor pool. Foodies will want to sign up for one of the classes offered by Chef Jérémy Czaplicki in the new cooking school.
L’Apogée Courchevel's New Japanese Restaurant
L’Apogée Courchevel's new Japanese restaurant, Koori, will open for the 2015-2016 winter ski season under the supervision of Executive Chef Jean-Luc Lefrançois and Pastry Chef Eve Moncorger.
Koori will host up to 50 guests and serve a varied Japanese menu with dishes such as The Koori Carpaccio or black cod in miso sauce, along with a selection of sushi and other Japanese specialties. Pastry Chef Eve Moncorger will offer a menu of sweet delicacies, including Pearls of Japan in coconut milk with fresh mango cubes.
Guests will also enjoy a selection of sakes and a varied tea collection in a warm and elegant atmosphere created by designer Joseph Dirand. A double staircase leads to the restaurant's dining room, which has a marble counter topped with two huge glass candle holders created for the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, surrounded by a wine cellar displaying Jeroboams.
Koori will be open every evening for L’Apogée Courchevel’s 2015/2016 winter season, beginning on December 11, 2015 and through April 2, 2016.