Hotel insider Superb Four Seasons service, attention to detail and just enough glamour to make your jaw drop but not so much it feels sickly and over the top.
Four Seasons George V, Paris
A capped and robed doorman shoots a deferential smile and guides you to the revolving door - a portal to supreme luxury beyond which lies a high-ceilinged marble lobby still sparkling, even nine years after the hotel's $125 million (Dh460 million) restoration in 1999. Even more striking than the interior décor is the lobby's abundance of flowers displayed in dramatic arrangements courtesy of the hotel's in-house floral design team. The hotel flies in 15,000 blooms each week, with which the teams create new themes which run throughout the hotel. But the main show is here in the lobby
Mon ami, c'est Paris, c'est magnifique! To be more precise, the hotel is just off the Champs-Élysées in the stylish 8th arrondissement. The Arc de Triomph and the Eiffel Tower are both within walking distance. All around are examples of the work of the Paris-born town planner Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann, who was responsible for much of Paris's rebuilding in the mid-19th century under the patronage of Napoleon III.
The Four Seasons group of hotels has set many benchmarks for service around the world, but I have a suspicion that the engine room for this global service machine is right here at the George V. The hotel staff seem to work on a philosophy of "nothing is missed; everything is possible".
The rooms are inspired by Louis XVI design, with lemon-yellow and white striped fabrics, replica period furniture and small book boxes for those who fancy kicking back on a chaise longue and having a good read. There are a few duplex suites with the bedroom located up a short staircase. The hotel's floral design team has been busy here in the rooms, too. Each room has its own display which consists of either a bunch of flowers or at least a single stem or what is called a "leafy cluster". The higher floor rooms and suites have romantic views over the rooftops of Paris.
To explain the history of the hotel. He replies with a glamorous story about how the lobby in 1930 housed a branch of the Chase Manhattan Bank as well as a charter air-taxi desk where guests could book flights to London, Berlin and the wealthy resorts of Deauville and Le Touquet. On a more practical note, the concierge was able - with one phone call - to confirm my departure the next day on the TGV train to Cannes and even give me a seat number.
It seems that the days of luxury hotels sporting merely one Presidential Suite for passing dignitaries are gone. The George V has three of them, and two Royal Suites to boot. Such decadence is an indication of the company you will keep if you stay here: high-flying Americans, well-connected Gulf Arabs, and the odd celebrity.
Late afternoon tea served in La Galerie as a small jazz trio was tuning up for cocktail hour. La Galerie is a lounge adjacent to the lobby, the walls of which are hung with original 17th century Flanders tapestries. Immaculate china and silver appear on shiny trays and everything seems immensely civilised.
Not having enough money to dine in style on Brittany turbot or lobster at the magnificent Le Cinq restaurant, which, according to the lucky ones who have sampled it, is an experience like no other. Maybe one day.
If you want to do Paris in style, pick the George V. Superb Four Seasons service and attention to detail and just enough glamour to make your jaw drop but not so much it feels sickly and over the top.
George V, 31, Avenue George V, Paris 75008, France, +33 149 52 70 00. Doubles from Dh3,740 per night. @email:www.fourseasons.com