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!
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!
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…
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!