Shangri-La, Paris – a ‘unique French private home feel’

Stefan Bollhalder, General Manager of Shangri-La Paris speaks to CPP-LUXURY.COM, exclusively, about the hotel’s exceptional performance and its establishment as one of the finest luxury hotels in the French capital.

How has the performance of your hotel changed since opening the Spa and the addition of new rooms and suites?

The addition of the new rooms and suites increased our capacity and therefore helped us to be able to answer to the need of small high end “groups” either families or executives / board of directors who are looking for an exclusive venue for special events or meetings.  101 rooms and suites is still a small capacity compared to our competitive set but we have turned this into a strength as we have created a unique “french private home feeling” our clients appreciate when they stay with us.

Guest recognition is key to the success of hospitality industry and we deliver highly personalized service and welcome combined with a great worldwide Shangri-La guest loyalty program

SPA is a part of the mandatory requirements of the today’s high end travellers. Health and well being is becoming more and more important in the today’s way of life. A SPA offers a perfect answer to the need to relax and work out for both leisure and business clients.

Which are the key competitive advantages of Shangri-la Paris?

Asian hospitality in a french historical building is a perfect and unique match : Shangri-La offers “the best of both worlds” to its clients.
Our clients love the history of the building which is the former private home of Prince Roland Bonaparte and the feeling of being in a private parisian home remains very present making every guest stay a very nice experience.

Shangri-La Hotel Paris offers a choice of three different food experiences : the Shang Palace is the only 1 Michelin star Chinese restaurant in France, l’Abeille is a french 2 Michelin star restaurant and La Bauhinia proposes a nice choice between traditional french dishes and traditional South Asian signature dishes.

Last but not least, thanks to its location the Shangri-La Hotel Paris is the only Palace offering full Eiffel Tower views from a large number of rooms and suites.

Some would argue that your hotel boasts a ‘challenging’ location, in comparison with other Palace hotels. Please share your views.

As explained above our location is recognized as a “+” by our guests. In fact looking into and analyzing the guest comments in the social medias “location” is actually one of our key strengths.

What is your view on the future evolution of the Parisian luxury hotel market with more inventory being added next year?

Adding new luxury hotels in Paris can only be seen as an opportunity to challenge and renew ourselves constantly. There has always been enough space for excellence and the clients will definitely abandon those who are not able to deliver the level of service they expect when staying in a Palace hotel.

Do you envisage a potential decline in rates and/or occupancy due to a saturation effect?

Rate goes with a quality of product and service. Our clients are ready to pay if they find both : therefore it is our task to maintain service and product at a level our clients will want to stay with us and pay our prices.
Decline of rate and occupancy might be experienced by those who don’t question themselves and / or fail in maintaining service and product level

How important is brand recognition on a competitive market such as Paris?

Brand recognition is key for the positioning of a product and nowadays it is very rare to find a hotel with no brand affiliation. Brand also brings strong support in communication, marketing and sales.

Since opening, what has been your mix of guests? – mature markets versus emerging markets

Shangri-La Hotel Paris has been well positioned since its opening on the historically  key markets of all parisian palaces : USA, France, Russia, UK, GCC with a leader position in Paris for the Chinese and Hong Kong markets thanks to our Brand.

Our presence throughout the world with a very well organized sales network with regional sales offices is an additional support to develop the existing and potential markets.

Would Shangri-la consider opening a second hotel in Paris?, i.e. a property targeting business travelers.

Our Group’s main focus on expansion is driven by our Asian properties, we are always on the look out for quality hotel operation in key markets and given the correct opportunity I would think that this could be an option, likewise for any other European capital

Stefan Bollhalder General Manager Shangri-La Paris, exclusive interviw