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Iconic Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris celebrates its centennial

Posted by Melanie Nayer  February 18, 2013 07:12 AM

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HOTEL PLAZA ATHENEE.jpgThe grand dam on the fashionable Avenue Montaigne in Paris is taking luxury style to a new level as it prepares to celebrate its 100th birthday.

Since Plaza Athénée's opening in April 1913, it fast became a melting pot for the fashion elite, international diplomats and luxury travelers from around the world. It's been home to Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Jacqueline Kennedy and Hollywood A-listers including Josephine Baker, Grace Kelly and more. Christian Dior first set up his couture salon here, and Chanel, Nina Ricci, Chloe, Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuitton soon followed with stores on the trendy Avenue Montaigne. Today, the Avenue Montaigne is synonymous with designer luxury, and the Plaza Athénée is the meeting point for French hospitality and Parisian glamour.

I recently visited the hotel during a trip to Paris. The rooms are draped in elegant adornments such as bronze lamps and crystal chandeliers. While some of the carpets, drapery and fabrics look tired, it's all part of a magical mystique that floats through the hallways of this enchanting hotel. The rooms overlook either the Eiffel Tower or the Plaza Athenee's own garden, which becomes an ice rink in winter (see more photos below).

Athenee-Room.jpgOne of the hotel's signature suites. Here, the living room windows perfectly frame the Eiffel Tower.

Plaza Athénée is the place to stay if you fall to extremes. The see-and-be-seen crowd will love the creative cocktails and people watching at Le Bar du Plaza Athénée, while those looking for an escape will appreciate the hotel's spacious rooms, plush bathrobes, and butler service. At Plaza Athénée you can remain front and center, or retreat into a much needed luxury escape.

As Plaza Athénée prepares to turn 100, the legendary hotel is introducing a few new stylish friends to the party.

Exclusive Shows at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées - Home to the Orchestre National de France and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the iconic Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, located just steps from Plaza Athénée, is also turning 100. The Théâtre, renowned for its eclectic programming and historical impact, has remained famous for being the world premiere site of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring when it first opened in 1913, a ballet performed by Diaghilev's Ballets Russia. Joining Hôtel Plaza Athénée to mark the occasion, guests of the hotel will have the exclusive opportunity to see the already sold-out choreographic interpretations of the original show, with performances held on May 30 & 31, June 6 & 7, and June 25 & 26. "The Rite of Spring" package includes: one night in a junior suite deluxe or superior suite with VIP welcome; American breakfasts; two box tickets for The Rite of Spring at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, with a cocktail in a private lounge during intermission; and supper for two at Le Relais Plaza. From 2,900€ (approximately $3,923 USD) in a junior suite deluxe, 3,365€ (approximately $4,549 USD) in a superior suite.

Toast with New Baccarat Crystal Cocktail - Toast the centennial with the new "Cocktail Harcourt Baccarat" libation created by legendary bar manager Thierry Hernandez, which will be available all year-round at Le Bar du Plaza Athénée, as well as Baccarat B Bars in Japan. In the hotel's signature red color and served in a Baccarat Harcourt crystal glass, the new cocktail combines a mix of red fruit: blackberries, wild strawberries and cranberries over a foundation of Cognac, spiked with a dash of passion fruit and topped with champagne. Cocktail priced at 28€ (approximately $38 USD).

Celebrate Bavarian Evenings at Le Relais - Honoring the original founder of Plaza Athénée Emile Armbruster who originally hailed from Germany, guests will have the opportunity to learn more about the property's storied history and founder during three Bavarian evenings on February 21, 22 and 23. Werner Küchler, restaurant manager of Le Relais who also hails from Germany, helped inspire the menu of Bavarian specialties such as beer-lacquered pork hock, cabbage and potato quenelles and farm duck with cabbage and potato quenelles served with cooking liquor. The restaurant will be decorated in the colors of Bavaria, complete with traditional folk music and wait staff dressed for the occasion in Lederhosen. 95€ per person, excluding drinks (approximately $128 USD). In addition, Werner will host guests at a historic cruise-themed party in June. Le Relais was designed to be a replica of the dining room on board the famous French ocean liner, Normandie!, which made numerous voyages between France and the U.S. in the 1930's.

Continuing to preserve and celebrate history, Plaza Athénée will also plant 100 trees on the grounds of Versailles in spring 2013 and will create a time capsule buried at the hotel, containing Plaza Athénée items dating from 1913 and today that represent the hotel. The property's most loyal guests and Facebook fans will be able to submit ideas via social media channels, which will be announced later this year.

Anthenee-room2.jpgA garden view suite has a separate seating area and overlooks the hotel's private gardens.

DiorInstitute.jpgThe DIOR INSTITUT is located in the Plaza Athenee and offers tailored-made spa services to guests wishing to indulge in DIOR's famous line of amenities.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Melanie Nayer is a travel writer who spent many years in the newsroom before jetting off to see the world. Her goal is to bring readers the best insider information More »

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