New Palace ranking, the highest for luxury hotels in France oddly avoids top Parisian hotel GEORGE V Four Seasons

Ranked yearly by industry experts, reputed magazines as well as independent review portals such as TripAdvisor, as THE Best luxury hotel in Paris, The Four Seasons George V has not been awarded the ”Palace” ranking, an outrageous and discriminatory decision by the French Authorities.

Instead, only 3 other Parisian hotels were awarded the Palace distinction, namely Le Bristol, owned by the German Oetker family (recently renovated), Le Meurice and Plaza Athenee owned by the Sultan of Brunei (Dorchester Collection Hotels) and the Park Hyatt Vendome. Outside Paris, the following French hotels have been ranked as Palaces: Hôtel du Palais à Biarritz,  Les Airelles and Cheval Blanc (owned by LVMH)  in Courchevel, et le Grand Hôtel Cap Ferrat.

Another Parisian landmark, The Ritz Paris was not included on the ”Palace list”, however, given the derelict state of the hotel in the past decade could, in some way, justify the exclusion. Yet, this is not the case for the George V, Four Seasons, which has benefited from constant investment in its facilities, not to mention the very high level of customer service which the Four Seasons has been maintaining since taking over the management of the property.  Less than 2 months ago, the George V Four Seasons announced further investment worth 30 million euros in renovating and upgrading the hotel rooms.

Speaking to AFP, Dorchester Collection CEO, Mr François Delahaye said ”this is a bitter victory” adding the committee has discredited  itself by not including The George V and The Ritz in the Palaces list.

UPDATED (09/05/2011)

An outrageous explanation followed by Dominique Fernandez, President of the ”Palace” committee: ”A palace is not a space enclosed within four walls. It is like a novel, a place of magic and one who enters feels like being in a kingdom of 1.001 nights”.  Questioned by journalists on why the Ritz and the George why had not been awarded the Palace distinction, Mr Fernandez replied ”When the Goncourt prize is awarded, no explanations are given as to why certain candidates were unsuccessful”.

We would dare contradict Mr Fernandez. While the Goncourt prize is attributed by a private institution which was established by a critic, the ”Palace” distinction committee was formed at the initiative of the French Government, which was well aware of all implications, including financial for the ”winners” as well as the ”losers”. When the French Secretary of State Frédéric Lefebvre announced early last week that for the next submission of applications, conditions were more lax, he did not take into account the huge image damages a hotel would go through in case of re-applying.