Eat | Afternoon Tea at the Shangri-La hotel, Paris

La Bauhinia at the Shangri-La hotel, Paris La Bauhinia at the Shangri-La hotel, Paris La Bauhinia at the Shangri-La hotel, Paris

 

My goodness, I love this hotel! If they let me sleep in a tent in the lobby, I’d be like “when?” and this is from the woman who was too snobby as a 12-year old to go on a school camping trip to Shropshire. Milla in Shropshire? I think not. The last time I was at the Shangri-La was back in October and I thought the décor was nice but they have pulled out all the stops for Christmas. 153 photographs in one afternoon – I’ll add some additional images to my Facebook page at some point. I feel lucky to be able to go to such ridiculously beautiful places on a regular basis and although luxury never gets old, few places impress me before I’ve even stepped through the door. Two Ming Dynasty-inspired vases welcome you into the former home of Napoleon 1st’s great-nephew, Prince Bonaparte and then the festive white and gold Christmas decorations instantly put a smile on my face. The Shangri-La, which I have now renamed “Shangri-Wow” and expect you to follow suit, not only has a view overlooking some of Paris’ most famous monuments, it has maintained some of the original features from floors to tiles and is architecturally a delight. We were seated on a large round table on the upper level of La Bauhinia, one of the hotel’s three restaurants and it seemed as though we had 2 members of staff to ourselves. We were incredibly well looked after and I really appreciate how nice the staff were – really exceptional! It was a particularly nice touch for such an important occasion – my leaving do!

La Bauhinia at the Shangri-La hotel, Paris La Bauhinia at the Shangri-La hotel, Paris La Bauhinia at the Shangri-La hotel - Not Just Another Milla

The Shangri-Wow defines the term “fusion” as the hotel’s Asian roots work harmoniously with France’s strong style and renowned cuisine. Not a finger sandwich in sight – canapés of parma ham, fois gras, salmon and mushrooms flowed just as easily as the Ruinart rosé champagne. For those not keen on the sweet stuff, there was a lunch/all-day menu to choose from including this mouth-watering prawn and grapefruit salad. I cannot even begin to describe how good the scones were, so be sure to read Emma’s review but needless to say, our plates were emptied rather quickly. As if the caramel, chocolate and fluffy lemon meringue treats weren’t enough, we were presented with an assortment of chocolates. There was only one negative thing… Our scones were served with whipped cream, not clotted cream as they should be. Very minor detail (sorry, I am British after all…) and the seemingly endless supply of chocolate made up for it. Seriously, how much chocolate did they give us? Please Shangri-Wow, never stop with the chocolate!

La Bauhinia at the Shangri-La hotel, Paris La Bauhinia at the Shangri-La hotel, Paris La Bauhinia at the Shangri-La hotel, Paris

I’ve said it before and oui, I’ll say it again: presentation is vital. The red teacups compliment the hand-painted green wallpaper, the delicate orchids and vases add to the interiors and as the pianist serenaded us with soft tunes, I could have easily stayed a week! Although I’m super busy over the next few weeks, I must go back just to enjoy the festive décor one more time. An absolutely wonderful way to say goodbye to my friends. Speaking of friends…

La Bauhinia at the Shangri-La hotel, Paris La Bauhinia at the Shangri-La hotel, Paris La Bauhinia at the Shangri-La hotel, Paris

My time as une Parisienne is drawing to a close and I am so excited about what the future holds. Moving back to London is an exciting step and since I made the decision several months ago, I have felt nothing but sheer relief and happiness, but more on that when I leave. As I sat with my friends in the exquisite La Bauhinia, I felt sadness about leaving for the very first time. Friendships require time and effort. None of us work together, went to school together, are related – we have no reason to spend time together other than the very simple fact that we like each other. If you’ve ever moved to a new city/country, you’ll appreciate how lonely it can be. Yes, you meet people but how many of them do you actually connect with? Paris has been a hard place for me to make home and these last few months have been so challenging for more personal reasons. Having these absolute sweethearts in my life to hold my hand, wipe my tears, and there have been many this Autumn, encourage me forward and drink champagne with me (!) has made me so inexplicably grateful. Thank you so much ladies and of course, our token male, Xavier!

La Bauhinia
Shangri-La
10 Avenue d’Iéna
75116 Paris
France
+33 1 53 67 19 98

22 Comments

  1. 13 December 2011 / 23:17

    That last paragraph made my eyes start to fill with tears – I enjoyed our wonderful times together from flutes of kir royal in the Rive Gauche to the very last chocolate at the Shangri-La (ooops! I mean Wow!). I am so excited for you as you set out on your new adventure and wish you nothing more than to find peace, love and happiness where ever life leads you next. But you will be sorely missed in Paris, Milla!

    — all my friendship and champagne,

    Stephanie

    • Milla
      Author
      16 December 2011 / 07:46

      You and me both – I’m still crying from Sunday! I’m really going to miss you and our wanderings around the Marais. Remember, London isn’t far 🙂

      “all my friendship and champagne” – love it!

      xx

  2. Sarah
    14 December 2011 / 11:21

    153 pictures in one afternoon?! Sounds exactly like something I’d do!! After this recommendation (errr…more like a command), we will definitely have to drop in! If there is a place that has been nicknamed the “Shangri-Wow” and never stops serving chocolate, well I simply MUST check it out!! I’m sure I’ll be able to find a spot in our schedule to squeeze this in!
    I think Gail said it best when she said when you live in another city from the one you grew up in, friends are the family you choose.

    • Milla
      Author
      16 December 2011 / 07:45

      Snap, snap, snap from Milla, plus our token male was such a good sport and took quite a few of the 153. Come on, commands don’t get better than this. Do as you’re told and you will get plenty of champagne and chocolate. Yay!

      Gail is so right, as always. She also happens to be one of my favourite people in the universe. Living abroad, as you know, is hard so connecting with people is vital. I am so blessed to have made friends with some seriously nice people.

  3. 14 December 2011 / 12:08

    wow, what a glamorous Christmas setting and decorations, looks dreamy! Would have loved to have joined you girls! perhaps next time in London! 😉

    xoxo

    • Milla
      Author
      16 December 2011 / 07:41

      Cam, when you come to London, I will take you for tea. I’m not sure where yet as I have the fun task of discovering Afternoon Tea in my city. Monthly reports will follow.

      xx

      PS – I wish you could have been there as well.

  4. 14 December 2011 / 16:24

    there better be room in that tent for me and my sleeping bag!!!

    What a wonderful evening this must have been … all that chocolate, sigh! Greedy much?

    I’m glad you are truly enjoying your last days in Paris; what a perfect way to say goodbye and add to all the wonderful memories!

    • Milla
      Author
      16 December 2011 / 07:37

      A slumber party with chocolate, champagne and scones? Er, yes please! They didn’t stop with the chocolate hence why I fell in love with the hotel!

      Sad saying goodbye and there are tears daily but I know that we’ll stay in touch, so it’s all good.

  5. 15 December 2011 / 10:06

    The expat life can be difficult, and I am longing for Hong Kong, where I had my group of friends and all my routines…. So I definitely know how you feel.

    You are sad to leave Paris, but I am happy to have you in London! Trop hate que tu viennes, ma chere. Looking forward to meeting you in person.

    • Milla
      Author
      16 December 2011 / 07:28

      Of course you are – you were in HK for quite a while, non? I never thought I would be sad to leave Paris but my friends are just, wow, such good people.

      Super excited to meet you – we have to make some time mid-Jan for tea.

  6. 15 December 2011 / 16:39

    Such gorgeous pics! By chance, Sir L and I had dinner at La Bauhinia this past Friday and it was wonderful! The hotel is decorated so well for the holidays – walking in just put me in the best mood. Plus the staff was wonderful, kind, etc and the food was great. Good to know their tea is wonderful as well! Best of luck with your move back to London. -Kristen

    • Milla
      Author
      16 December 2011 / 07:27

      Thank you Kristen. La Bauhinia is really nice, and I’m so glad I could it in before leaving. You liked the decorations as well – gorgeous aren’t they? Yes, I’m a big fan of this place. Hope you’re settling in well.

  7. 15 December 2011 / 21:31

    Hello Milla, what a beautiful place (again!) to spend an afternoon tea with friends, it all looks great girl! love to read all your post about your “food experience” and the writing makes it all more delicious. I wish you all the luck and happiness in London and can’t wait to read about it.

    Btw, for my sisters birthday two years ago I visit the Krasnapolsky for a high-tea in A’dam with my four sisters and mother, also a great place to spend an afternoon.

    Audrey

    • Milla
      Author
      16 December 2011 / 07:25

      Good morning Audrey,

      Is the Krasnapolsky the hotel on the famous square? If so, I’ve been there. Very nice indeed. How lovely to share afternoon tea with the ladies in your life. A great tradition indeed. If I have a daughter, I hope to enjoy this British tradition with her.

      Thank you so much – I love discovering new places and this was the final hotel I wanted to try. I have another one from November to post as well. Thank you for your best wishes. I just know London will be great and I really look forward to sharing more about my experiences there.

      Have a great day!

      x

  8. 17 December 2011 / 13:26

    Oh, it IS a wonderful way to say goodbye to Paris. So glad that the Shangri-La didn’t disappoint!

    • Milla
      Author
      19 December 2011 / 14:08

      It was the best! Have you been to the one in KL?

      • 20 December 2011 / 11:01

        Nope, I haven’t! But since I’m starting work in January, I might just try Shangri-La soon 😉

        • Milla
          Author
          20 December 2011 / 11:28

          You found a job? Congratulations! Do tell…

  9. Maya
    19 December 2011 / 11:54

    Oh, I so know what you mean about friendships in foreign cities. And it’s hard to connect even if you are social. So you work hard and invest a lot of yourself in them, and it is hard to let them go… 🙁
    Hotel looks fab and it’s so funny to imagine a snobby 12 year old Milla! heheheheheh

    xx

    M

  10. Milla
    Author
    19 December 2011 / 14:12

    Exactly. I’m not one to spend time with people just for the sake of it and so these people here are special to me. All that time invested and then to leave feels bad, but knowing that I will only be in London makes it easier. Did you stay in touch with your London friends?

    xx

  11. 2 January 2012 / 00:13

    Wow! Now that is luxury at it’s finest. The perfect combination of perfect food, service and décor according to your review. Must-try indeed!
    And I agree with you: it’s the friendships that you build that make life abroad enjoyable and successful.

    • Milla
      Author
      5 January 2012 / 14:12

      Oh Anne, you would love this place! Loved it! The food, the décor, the surroundings and of course, the wonderful service.

      I’m really sad to leave my friends but grateful for our times together and I just know we’ll stay in touch.

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