‘Everyone is hurting’: Paris’s luxury hotels running on empty

July 3, 2015

The Charlie Hebdo attack accentuated a longer-term decline in trade for the French capital’s high-end accommodation sector

Rather than yield to the ambient gloom, the most recent of Paris’s luxury hotels, the Peninsula, chose to crack open the bubbly and forget about the crisis. Having opened last August, on Avenue Kléber, the management held an official launch party in April. Two thousand happy people, including the chain’s top customers and celebrities such as actors Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh, gathered, savouring champagne, canapes and buckets of caviar.

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But this beano was no more than a ray of sunshine in a very cloudy sky. Luxury hotels in the French capital have been having a hard time since the new year. Clement Kwok, CEO of Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, which owns the Peninsula group, acknowledged this quite openly: “In January, February and March 2015 the market was weak,” he said during a brief visit to Paris. Nor is he alone. Didier Le Calvez, general manager of Le Bristol, puts it rather more bluntly: “The first quarter was catastrophic.”

The truth is that the events of January merely accentuated a decline in trade for luxury hotels in Paris

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Women customers will have the final say, because what matters is being close to the luxury goods outlets

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