I don’t usually tell a story in my accommodation reviews. But the story of how this hotel came to be is quite moving that it deserves to be told.
So please indulge me. Sit back and relax. After all, it is very rare that I tell you a good LOVE story.
A Young man and his dream
Let’s go way back to 1906. Francois Andre had just moved to Paris from Ardeche (South Central France) to seek his fortune. Every single day, he would stare at Fouquet’s restaurant in the corner along George V street and Champs Elysees and he said to himself that one day, he will build a luxury hotel, and that is where it’s going to be.
He was able to build a casino and a hotel, though not in his dream corner spot. In his later years, he passed on the casino/hotel business to his nephew, Lucien Barriere. He told his nephew to continue the quest for him of building a luxury hotel in the heart of Paris, in this exact location.
Family, Tragedies and Love
Lucien Barriere took over the business and while in the process of refurbishing their existing hotels to high standards of luxury, he passed away in 1990.
At this stage, his uncle’s original dream of acquiring the building on top of Fouquet’s was still unfulfilled.
Lucien Barriere’s daughter Diana , was determined to continue the family mission.
Alas, in 1997, while travelling, Diana got into a serious accident while on a plane. She did recover but not in the best of shape. Her mind was still very sharp though, because when she found out that Fouquet’s was for sale, she wasted no time purchasing the entire building in order to complete the dream of having that luxury hotel in THAT exact spot.
Shortly after she bought the place, she passed away from her injuries in 2001.
Her husband, Dominique Desseigne vowed to finally accomplish this dream once and for all.
Finally in 2006, he was able to open the hotel. A tribute to his wife Diane. And to her father Lucien Barriere, and to the young man who dared to dream 100 years ago, Francois Andre.
Dominique Desseigne and his family still owns the hotel at present. And the next generation are getting shaped to take over.
A family-owned luxury hotel that took 100 years in the making. The only 100% French-owned luxury hotel in Paris.
And for our first time both in Paris, it was a thrill for Zombie and I to be hosted in this hotel that tells of love, hopes and dreams.
It isn’t a wonder why the Barriere family were intent on building the dream luxury hotel in this spot. It’s the perfect most central location in Paris.
It’s hard to miss it while walking down Champs-Elysees, with its signature overhang roof of the restaurant Fouquet’s.
Brand -fanatics will love the fact that located just across Fouquet’s Barriere is the Paris flagship store of Louis Vuitton.
As for me however, what I did enjoy was the convenient location to Arc de Triumph
Now bear in mind that when we arrived at the hotel, we had just flown in from Reykjavik (with 1.5 hours sleep from watching the magnificent Northern Lights the night/early morning before). And we were looking dishevelled at best.
Yet when we arrived at the doors of Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere Paris, never have I seen hotel staff that look actually pleased to see and welcome guests into their property.
Our bags were taken immediately from us, and our butler introduced herself to us. She took us to a sitting area where Zombie and I were offered drinks and pastries while she checked us in.
It did take quite a while for the room to be ready (we arrived around 2PM), however we were happy to wait in the quiet and private area.
First of all, let me tell you that weeks before our arrival in Paris, the Concierge team had been in contact with me to thoroughly find out my room preferences.
And when I say thorough, I mean that they sent me a form called “Your Favourites” that allowed guests to specify all their preference in the room from pillows (wellness) , to music (I chose classical), to my drink preference (still water please), my choice of reading (Herald Tribune from the selection), and even the colour of flowers ( yellow, of course).
Talk about customer service that really wants you to be as comfortable as possible!
Now, here were are in the actual hotel room.
Our butler was with us when we entered the room and she explained and showed us all the amenities. She advised us that she is at our disposal. However we didn’t really need her ‘service’ again as everything in the hotel was so convenient and user-friendly.
The first thing I noticed was the classical music playing as we entered. And soon after about 20 minutes, the music changed into a more trendy vibe, more like a fashion/hip soundtrack with light beats. It was very reminiscent of “The Devil Wears Prada” soundtrack (musical scores) and I loved it!
We were given 3 pillows each which was very generous. The pillows were so huge that it almost took up all of the bed! And even if the hotel is situated in a busy street (hello, Champs Elysees and George V) the windows and balcony doors are double, if not triple glazed. It was pure silence when it is shut, and we slept almost a full 12 hours uninterrupted for the 2 nights we were there.
Even if I’m not a big fan of flowers, I loved the single rose in the room. And it’s yellow too! 🙂 Yellow makes me happy.
The concierge did ask me if I was more of a savoury or sweet- tooth. Well the platter above gives the obvious answer 🙂 I loved the chopped almonds in milk chocolate clusters!
The room faces George V street directly, and Champs Elysees to the right. You can see a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower (top part only) from the room.
The bathroom is so spacious it could house another room inside. There is a tub, and a separate shower area. And the toilet area is to the right.
I’m not normally a huge fan of in-house branded toiletries. Fouquet’s Barriere has its own line of toiletries and do they smell oh so good! I love musky and warm scents, so I was thrilled to find a hotel-branded toiletry line that I finally loved.
To my delight, when I opened this tin in the sink, it presented my very own perfume oil that had that same musky, warm oriental scent! It says it’s an all-around perfume oil that can be used in the body and hair, though I would suggest you don’t use it on your hair as it left my hair slick, but fragrant.
Now the best feature of the bathroom, is where the toilet area is:
This has seriously got to be one of the coolest views in Paris, from a toilet!
TURN-DOWN SERVICE/ SPA
We went out for abit of sightseeing and dinner and when we returned to our room, we had an extra bottle of still water each, a box of chocolates, and the room slippers ready on either side of the bed.
However we weren’t ready for bed as we wanted to use the award-winning spa pool and sauna of Fouquet’s Barriere.
The hotel’s in-house spa, U-Spa, recently won the Best Luxury Hotel Spa for the 2013 Luxury Hotel Awards. And it’s not hard to see why.
We used their sauna and Zombie tried their hammam. The water temperature was very calming and it was the perfect way to unwind after a busy day in Paris.
The hotel only came about in 2006. However, more than a hundred years ago, the legendary Fouquet’s Restaurant was already known. This restaurant became well-loved by the film industry because one of Paris’ first cinemas, Gaumont Champs-Elysses Ambassade, is just across the road, and back in the day the artists, directors and producers believed it to be good luck to have their contract signing in Fouquet’s restaurant.
To this day, Fouquet’s Restaurant (and hotel) is widely associated with the film industry. The reception / dinner of the Cesar award (France’s equivalent to Oscars) is held here every year.
We had lunch at Fouquet’s Restaurant and while the mains were amazing, it was their desserts that really stood out. Their selection of desserts were endless, it took me quite awhile to decide (they serve desserts ala yum cha where the selections are in a cart).
I opted for the chocolatey almond coated bar and it was just heavenly! Zombie had the lovely cream-based dessert on the right, the name of which escapes me now but that one was also just as divine.
Apart from the usual celebrities that frequent Fouquet’s Barriere, I was very pleased to know that Fouquet’s Barriere hotel know who the Real VIP’s are:
the very important pets.
The hotel is pet-friendly, and if it’s your pet’s first stay at the hotel, Fouquet’s Barriere will give your pet a personally embroidered quilt/blanket for him/her to use whenever you check in at the hotel.
A thing to note though, even if the hotel is pet-friendly and our room was, I never once got the hint or whiff that it was pet-friendly! Superb cleaning and sanitation throughout.
The hotel overall has that old glamour feel to it yet at the same time having top notch facilities. Fouquet’s Barriere Hotel is considered a boutique luxury hotel, and this hotel trumps all boutique luxury hotel chains that I know. It definitely exceeds the boutique standards.
As the hotel was born out of hope, love and determination, I did feel that the positive customer service we received throughout reflected the beginnings of Fouquet’s Barriere.
The only downside throughout our whole stay is that the tv in the bath tub didn’t work, and we called for a service man, who came in the room and checked, and explained (in what we could grasp) , that he cannot fix it, or he didn’t have the proper tools to fix it.
But this is me being nit-picky, and just really telling you every aspect of my experience. But really? A broken bath-tub TV is NOTHING compared to the stellar service and hotel experience we received.
I will definitely stay here again. I want to suggest Fouquet’s Barriere Hotel to those who have only tried the mainstream luxury hotel brands, and are hesitant to try the “boutique” brands. This Rolls-Royce of all Boutique hotels really set the bar up high. I personally feel that Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere can stand as 2 both boutique and luxury, and lead in both categories.
Fouquet’s Barriere Hotel
46 Avenue George V, Paris 75008
We were guests of Fouquet’s Barriere Hotel Paris, however this has not influenced my views and opinions of the property. All words and opinion are mine.
What a beautiful story! and a beautiful hotel! Not a huge fan on the giant pillows, make the bed look stumpy 🙂 BUt very impressived with how luxurious it looks!
Jean | Holy Smithereens says
Hi Sam! Yes very lovely hotel. And agree the pillows were giant sized at least 2 out of 6 would be on the floor the next day! LOL 🙂
Chad @ Long Long Way says
A dozen years ago my and wife and I were engaged in Paris… on the Eiffel Tower, of course 🙂 but we didn’t live it up like this. This is a gorgeous hotel in an amazing city!
Jean | Holy Smithereens says
Hi Chad! Congratulations on the 12 years! WIth a proposal like that you have certainly lived it up! 🙂 WIshing you many more travels and years together to come!
Contented Traveller says
We are going to Paris in february and this looks like a wonderful hotel to consider. Now tell us where to stay in London 🙂
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Hi Paula, ooh love love London! 🙂 Hoping to go there this year too 🙂 Ok, Andaz on Liverpool http://goo.gl/XDmVzb is very modern and chic (and may i add sexy!) . It’s a good choice if you prefer to be around east london.
Hyatt Regency Churchill goo.gl/OCFLGf is my choice of location as its dangerously close to Oxford st shopping and they’ve got great afternoon tea as well. If you want luxury with a more personalised charm , very similar to Fouquet’s Barriere , The Goring is also great 🙂