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Hotel de Crillon – number one in Paris?

Hotel de Crillon, Paris

Hotel de Crillon, Paris

Hotel de Crillon, located next door to the U.S. Embassy and a stone’s throw away from Champs Elysées, is considered one of the best hotels in the city. Maybe even THE best? Well, the jury is still out, we would say it’s probably between Hotel de Crillon and Hotel George V.

Individual service is one of the main selling points of this hotel. When you arrive, you are seated while doing your check-in (keyword “seated”, you don’t stand in a queue at the reception desk). Makes you feel very comfortable after a long trip.

The standard rooms are smallish but nicely decorated in a baroque style. At your disposal there are several restaurants (the stylish restaurant Les Ambassadeurs and L’Obé, which is more relaxed) where you will encounter some of the best French cuisine. After your meal, you may want to enjoy a late digestive at the piano bar – it is renowned as a major meeting point in Paris among the powerful and famous.

The hotel was built in 1758 and has seen history in the making for over two centuries. During the past decade, it has changed owners several times and, according to the French media, the hotel was bought in 2010 by a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family.

Although it is in excellent shape, a few bits and pieces do look border-line shabby and when we asked the staff about it, we were told that the new owner plans to close it down in 2013 for a major refurbishment.

One can only imagine how Hotel de Crillon will look after it had been thoroughly polished through. Then it just might beat George V.

A glittery and side-splitting New Year’s Eve!

©Moulin Rouge®

Before we celebrate the New Year in Marrakech in a couple of days we would like to revive the memory of a very special New Year’s Eve, the one in Paris.

Being a source of inspiration for numerous books, documentaries and movies for over a century, Moulin Rouge, despite its corny reputation among cultural experts, continues to deliver cabaret shows that attract thousands of tourists each year. On New Year’s Eve 2008, the samandthedunes team (minus Sam) ended up at this historic cabaret, sipping champagne and watching cancan for the first time.

We had picked up our tickets the day before and were then at the same time given a short tour of the premises. When the doors opened and we saw the theatre in all its glamour, we were struck by all its opulence and the vibes it generated: the foyerthe auditorium, the wooden floors, the small tables, the staircase up to the balcony, not to mention the stage. But, when we came back on New Year’s Eve, all the original charm had suddenly faded. Instead of hearing the sound of creaking floors, there was an ear-splitting ruckus from hundreds of tourists planning to celebrate the New Year in exactly the same manner as us. This shouldn’t really have surprised, but it did.

As soon as the show started the magic revived. It’s fun, catchy and entertaining all the way through and the scenery is impressive (we were sitting far back so a pair of opera glasses wouldn’t hurt). Part of the performance is built around the famous topless dancers, of course, but there were also many other numbers involving various flying and jump splits that should impress even the harshest of critics. There were even mini-horses and dogs hopping around on two legs on the stage (Sam would have loved that!). In the end, when the orchestras’ grand performance of Jacques Offenbach’s Galop infernal filled the room and literally lifted the roof-top, it was just impossible not to be emotionally affected and jovial at the same time.

For the price of 900 Euros we were offered a three course dinner (for future reference avoid the steak), two bottles of champagne and some nice surprise gifts. After a long and entertaining evening we stumbled out of this establishment not knowing which leg to stand on (whether it was the champagne or the glitzy cancan, we prefer not to say).

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