Hotel for All Seasons
in a Timeless City
Deco near Champs Élysées
1928, when wealthy American Joël Hillman decided
to build a luxurious residence for a few well-heeled
visitors, Art Deco was all the rage. The new construction,
close to the Champs-Élysées and off
l'Etoile, contrasted sharply with the city's nineteenth-century
Hausman style and immediately attracted what was
then the international jet-set society. Of course,
jets weren't the mode of travel yet. Guests came
aboard luxury liners, listening to the new sound
of jazz and wearing the gowns of Mademoiselle Chanel.
property's next owner, Francois Dupre, husband of
the heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune,
was an art collector. For a quarter of a century,
he accumulated a fabulous array of furniture, carpets,
tapestries, paintings and objets d'art. As a result,
V was much like a museum, albeit one that served
as home away from home for luminaries from around
the world. Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Gene Kelly,
Gary Cooper, Vivian Leigh, Sophia Loren, President
Gerald Ford and John Wayne were among the many who
checked in. As well, The Society of Nations (precursor
to the United Nations) established temporary quarters
here, as did General Eisenhower at the end of World
rooms have terrace views
the hotel was purchased by Prince Al Waleed of Saudi
Arabia, the royal decided a complete renovation
was in order. The upgrade took place over the course
of two years under the auspices of the Four Seasons
group. Everything was redone, except, of course,
the landmark architecture. Fewer rooms (245 compared
to the original 320) mean more space and comfort.
They are completely soundproof and stocked with
state of the art electronic equipment. Although
some art pieces were sold at an auction in 1988,
many remain, such as the beautiful Flanders and
Aubusson tapestries, inlaid wood furniture, nineteenth
century bronze sculptures and many works from the
French painting school of the nineteenth century.
stay in this magnificent oasis near the Champs-Élysées
is a unique experience that is accented by the excellent
food at Le
Cinq, the hotel's flagship restaurant. This is a temple of classic French cuisine. The gourmet tasting menu offers six courses, and on it can be found a remarkable lobster tart with French bean salad, spiced sea bass with balsamic vinegar, milk-fed veal chop in its own juice with crispy risotto cake, citrus and tomato emulsion, strawberry sorbet to finish with warm coffee, and chocolate millefeuille.
Cinq dining room
V's wine selection
Desserts are out-of-this world, including compote of citrus fruit steeped in Earl Grey tea with a puffed rice Florentine wafer and ten-hour baked apples with caramel ice cream and caramel cider. Le Cinq and the superbly stocked wine cave are directed by Eric Beaumard, who earned the title of best sommelier in France and became vice champion of the world. The service is impeccable.
Going to France? Check our guide.