Paris’ Most Stylish And Glamorous Party Of The Year As The Peninsula Paris Celebrates Its Grand Opening
Steeped in Parisian history, The Peninsula Paris – owned by Katara Hospitality and The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Limited (HSH) – opened its doors quietly with a traditional lion dance on 1 August 2014. However last night, the hotel celebrated its grand opening in a blaze of colour, music and a guest list comprising international stars, guests from around the world and “le tout Paris”.
Guests arriving at the party were greeted with three enormous Montgolfier balloons floating above a Hollywood-style red carpet, bearing the golden word of hospitality “Welcome” in French, Arabic and Chinese – the three languages that forge The Peninsula Paris’ culture.
An enormous feat of organisation and logistics, the hotel’s team had been preparing for the event since last summer, planning the many activities scheduled to take place throughout the evening.
The opening ceremony was hosted by French TV personality Valérie Expert, with speeches by The Honourable Sir Michael Kadoorie, Chairman of HSH, and Mr Christopher R. J. Knable, Chief Operating Officer of Katara Hospitality, on behalf of their Chairman, His Excellency Sheikh Nawaf Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al-Thani.
“For many years, I had hoped that our first hotel in Europe would be in this magnificent city of Paris. There are two reasons for this: first, because Paris is the quintessential capital of art de vivre and elegance. And in our business, we strive to uphold these typically French values every day. And then, my family has a long history with France, one that has lasted for three generations. This tradition continues with my three children“, declared Sir Michael.
Katara Hospitality’s Christopher R. J. Knable added: “We are proud to be part of history here today, and on behalf of His Excellency Sheikh Nawaf, Chairman of Katara Hospitality, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to our partners The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels for their support; this is the first step of many in our story together.”
The speeches signalled the start of the festivities, inviting guests to discover the various areas and themes throughout the hotel, together with musical performances by some of France’s best-known musicians:
- At the historical staircase in the reception lobby, the Orchestre de Colonne (one of Paris’ oldest orchestras, founded in 1873) greeted guests with lively Gershwin-inspired tunes – referencing George Gershwin’s stay at the original Hotel Majestic (today The Peninsula) in 1928, where he wrote “An American in Paris”.
- Singer and actress Lou Lesage and DJ Cécile Togni appeared in the Lobby restaurant, which was transformed into a dancefloor for the night, together with a Josephine Baker-style performance by French model and singer Inna Modja.
- “Duelling pianos” were the order of the night at the Salon Etoile, with Matthias Mimoun and Flavien Compagnon playing all evening long as guests enjoyed the live cooking stations dotted around the room.
- Cantonese restaurant LiLi hosted DJ Noémi Sunshine Ferst, while the signature rooftop L’Oiseau Blanc restaurant and terrace saw guests partying under the stars to the music of the Something A La Mode band and well-known DJ Gostan.
VIPS and celebrities abounded, including :
- Zhang ZiYi,
- François Cluzet
- Jean-Pierre Marielle
- Gérard Darmon,
- Elsa Zylberstein,
- Géraldine Nakache,
- Karin Viard,
- La Princesse Anna of Bourbon des Deux Siciles,
- Christopher Thompson
- Laurence Ferrari
- Bruce Toussaint
- Elodie Frégé
- Julie Ferrier
- Maréva Galanter
- Karine Silla Perez
- Valérie Expert
- Jean Todt
- Emmanuel Perrotin
- Jean-Claude Jitrois
- Arnaud Lemaire
- Yaffa Assouline
While the festivities proceeded, the back-of-house was a hive of activity in a celebration of the art of hospitality and gastronomy. The menu developed by Executive Chef Jean-Edern Hurstel featured copious quantities of caviar, blue lobster, wild salmon and line-caught European sea bass, Kobe beef, milk-fed lamb and veal carpaccio. Sumptuous dessert buffets created by award-winning Pastry Chef Julien Alvarez included literally thousands of cream puffs, verrines of seasonal fruit and dessert tarts with heady scents of tonka, chocolate, raspberry, lemon and nuts, petit-fours, chocolates and vast arrays of sweets, all set off to perfection by a chocolate fountain and over 150 litres of ice cream.
The occasion also called for fine wines, Champagnes and the very best Grands Crus selected by the hotel’s Chief Sommelier Xavier Thuizat, including:
- 1800 bottles of champagne and wine
- 300 bottles of spirits for mixing cocktails
- On arrival, partner Dom Pérignon served guests a duo of delicacies – Dom Pérignon Vintage 2005 and Alverta Imperial caviar from Petrossian.
- Deutz – The Peninsula Hotels’ Champagne partner for over 25 years – filled and refilled glasses through the night
- Champagnes on offer also included Laurent Perrier and Taittinger which offered two Methuselahs (= eight bottles each) of Comte de Taittinger 2005 to celebrate the event.
- Thuizat also paid tribute to his home region of Burgundy, with a Jeroboam (= four bottles) of the coveted Meursault Premier Cru.
- Highlights from the hotel’s extensive wine cellar also featured celebrated Bordeaux wines including Chasse-Spleen, Château Talbot, Domaine Duclot– La Vinicole, and the great Burgundy vineyards including Chapoutier and Prieur-Brunet.
The Peninsula’s florists were busy too – the hotel’s signature roses were in abundant profusion everywhere, including :
- 110 large and 170 small arrangements around the hotel
- 9,000 roses, utilising 20 types of rose
- 1800 stems of greenery
The festivities continued late into the night until the last guests finally left. The team then set to clearing up, as it was business as usual this morning. It was definitely a night to remember for guests, employees and Parisians, forming another glamorous chapter in the history and heritage of The Peninsula Hotels
The Peninsula Paris’ General Manager Nicolas Béliard, added “It was with immense pleasure that my team and I welcomed our guests for this highly anticipated evening – the result of months of work, organisation, planning and commitment by the men and women who make The Peninsula Paris a veritable family and who, today, are my greatest source of pride.”