Chinese guests are high priority targets of luxury hotels in Paris; meanwhile foreign investors, especially Hong Kong-based hotel companies are attracted to the Parisian luxury hotel market.
Qatar’s Katara Hospitality and The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels partnership recently launched the Peninsula in Paris. Of the 30 billion visitors Paris attracts each year, nearly 40 percent of them are from overseas, and a large number are Chinese.
The Peninsula and other hotels in Paris are looking to woo Chinese guests as they are deemed the world’s biggest luxury spenders. While Chinese spending in France rose more than 20 percent over the previous few years, spending has been a bit lower so far this year, up only 14 percent for the first six months of 2014.
With an additional drop in spending from other tourist populations— namely Russian, Indonesian, and Japanese— Parisian hotels are interested in attracting as many Chinese clients as possible. Reuters reports that the French government has even aided such efforts by making it easier for Chinese tourists to obtain visas, improving public safety, and working to remedy recent attacks on Chinese visitors.
Vanguelis Panayotis, the director of development at MKG Hospitality in Paris, commented on the Peninsula and other Parisian hotels strategies saying, “Twenty years ago, all hotels had the same code. Now, they specialize to appeal to particular clients.”
In catering to their international guests, the Peninsula offers a Cantonese restaurant (one of six food options), and familiar Chinese lion sculptures sit at the entrance welcoming patrons. Accommodations at the hotel also include rooftop gardens, spas, Rolls-Royce limo services and advanced tablet-managed temperature and light controls in each room.
The new hotel, which was bought from the French Foreign Ministry and cost a reported $1 billion, also has a rich history. It had previously been used as an army headquarters for German soldiers in World War II, was where George Gershwin composed the iconic “An American in Paris,” and was the site where Henry Kissinger signed the peace agreement that ended the Vietnam War.
The grandeur of the amenities coupled with the building’s impressive history will come at a cost, of course. Suites go for 695 to 25,000 euros ($933 to $33,500) a night.
Clement Kwok, the chief executive officer of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, told Bloomberg “We’re building an asset that we think will be an important landmark for the 50, for the 100 years to come. [The] Peninsula has been successful in competing, even in the most competitive cities in the world.”
The Peninsula is now one of a group of five-star hotels in Paris—56 in total—that are owned by foreign investors. The Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Asia Ltd. and the Mandarin Oriental International Ltd. also opened hotels in 2010 and 2011 respectively. In June it was announced that the Kai Yuan Holdings Ltd. would buy the Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysees for a staggering $345 million euros.
Paris’ luxury hotel scene is about to get more crowded, with the forthcoming launches of several additional five-star hotels like the Plaza Athenee (set to open this year), the Crillon (next year), and the Cheval Blanc (2016).
Foreign investors are dominating the luxury hotel scene and are vying for attention of the important Chinese clientele.
image credit: peninsula.com