The owners of the Peninsula Paris hotel have unveiled a costly refurbishment which they hope will help lure well-heeled visitors to the French capital.
A total of 430 million euros has been spent as part of a battle to attract Asia’s new class of super-rich.
Rooms start at just over 1,000 euros a night rising to 25,000 for a penthouse suite with a garden in the 1908 building near the Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysees.
Each of the 200 rooms allows guests to make free phone calls anywhere in the world. Fittings include a nail polish-dryer and a tablet computer centralising all functions from dimming lights to ordering breakfast.
The 600 staff includes masseuses and even experts on what cigar to smoke.
The project is a joint venture, run and 20 percent owned by the Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels group behind the Peninsula hotels in cities such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, New York, Chicago and Beverly Hills.
The rest belongs to Katara Hospitality, part of the Qatar Investment Authority.
The opening comes at a difficult time for the luxury industry in France, suffering a drop in traffic from Russian, Indonesian and Japanese tourists and a slowdown in spending growth by the Chinese.
The French government is seeking to exploit its position as the most visited country in the world to boost the country’s trade balance and stimulate the eurozone’s second largest economy by convincing tourists to spend more.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is spearheading efforts to persuade tourists to extend their stays in France, noting that Spain pulls in 30 percent fewer visitors than France but derives 10 percent more revenues from them.
The Peninsula’s prospective clients are at the top end of a tourist sector which brings in 82 million visitors a year and contributes 12 billion euros to France’s balance of payments.
But that is still not enough to wipe out an overall trade deficit which stood at 4.9 billion euros in May.