Dawn was just breaking over the Paris skyline as my limousine moved down the Champs-Elysées and turned onto a quiet, tree-lined side street before slowing to a stop in front of an elegant, white stone facade. As if on command, my limbs, cramped from the transatlantic flight, relaxed, and my pulse became more regular. Such is the magic of the George V; when you arrive at the hotel, one of the world’s most luxurious and stylish, you feel as though you have come home.
This assumes, of course, that your own residence is redolent with the aroma of thousands of blooms at every turn, that its rooms are capacious and hung with original oils and 17th-century tapestries, and that its wine cellar is stocked with tens of thousands of bottles of the finest vintages. What truly sets the George V apart from other luxury hotels is its incomparable capacity to accommodate guests’ desires and interests.
For newlyweds, there is no more romantic hideaway than the eighth-floor Honeymoon Suite, with views of the Eiffel Tower, the Pantheon, Notre Dame, and St. Louis des Invalides just across the Seine. For traveling CEOs, the three Presidential Suites provide a full range of business capabilities along with private kitchens, oversize beds, and the ultimate Parisian power address. The spa contains a shiatsu room conforming to authentic Japanese standards.
For epicures, the hotel’s flagship restaurant, Le Cinq, is a destination unto itself. Under the guidance of executive chef Philippe Legendre, formerly of Taillevent, Le Cinq has become the first hotel restaurant in the city’s history to earn three Michelin stars within three years of its opening.
Le Cinq’s staff includes the 2002 European champion sommelier, Enrico Bernardo, who presides over some 35,000 bottles stored in a former stone quarry located 14 meters below ground.
In the 1940s the wine cellar was sealed with a stone wall to protect the hotel’s vintage treasures from being seized by German soldiers.
Seated comfortably at one of Le Cinq’s corner tables, my sense of well-being mounting while perusing the wine list, I decided that there is a better way to prevent the 1990 Romanée-Conti or the 1949 Château d’Yquem from falling into the wrong hands, and that is to drink it.