by Sophie Gayot
Although I missed the 100th-anniversary celebration of Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris in April of this year, I was there last night for its “unofficial” closing ceremony. Yes, you read that correctly, the Plaza’s last day was September 30th. Rest assured, it is closing for a good cause: to reopen with even more grandeur (if that is even possible).
The owner, the Sultanate of Brunei, has purchased three adjacent buildings to add to the historic hotel. Suites and reception space will be created. For now, I must leave it to your imagination how it all will turn out. General manager François Delahaye tried his best to keep the hotel open as he did during the two-year renovation in 1998. But for the comfort of the guests, used to so much luxury and refinement at one of the most prestigious hotel addresses in the world, Delahaye has decided to close the doors for about six months.
In an emotional speech (you can watch it here), he has guaranteed all of us that nothing will change and the charm of the palace will be preserved. I can only applaud this. There is nothing better than “old charm”.
I am looking forward to the reopening of the hotel. In the meantime, the regulars are welcomed at the Dorchester Collection sister property Hôtel Meurice. And chef Alain Ducasse’s cuisine, executed by chef de cuisine Christophe Saintagne, will be served at Le Meurice restaurant.
You can click on each photo to enlarge. Photos © Sophie Gayot