Name one of the big hotels or venues in Paris and it's likely to have either just been refurbished or about to undergo a renovation. Many of the big hotel groups are investing heavily in improving their existing properties.
Le Meridien Etoile in Port Maillot near the Palais des Congres is currently being refurbished to update the property in line with Le Meridien's new 'chic, cultured, discovery' branding. Work, which will be completed in stages, started on the bedrooms in October and will move into public areas in 2008, with the project scheduled for completion in April.
Over the road, the Concorde La Fayette is also embarking on a huge revamp, starting with a quarter of the 1,000 bedrooms this month, with plans to update the main lobby, conference rooms and its Panoramique Bar, with spectacular views over the Eiffel Tower, next year. Concorde is also closing the historic 170-room Hotel Lutetia next year for a £84m total renovation.
The Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel & Conference Center officially opened in May this year after a complete refurbishment, while the new Holiday Inn Paris-Porte de Clichy opened at the end of last year, with 275 rooms, and several meeting spaces.
Several new hotels have also opened recently just outside the city, including the Paxton Residence Hotel Spa, half an hour from the city centre and ten minutes from Disneyland Resort Paris. It offers 232 apartments and a 1,000m2 convention centre split into 25 rooms. The Vienna International Dream Castle, with 386 rooms and 14 suites, has also opened recently near Disneyland. Inspired by the architecture of 17th-century castles, it offers six meeting rooms and gardens.
Back in the city, many conference venues and cultural sites have been updated, including the art deco Salle Pleyel concert hall, which reopened late last year, and the reopening of the Grande Halle de la Villette, the Theatre des Trois Baudets and the Forum des Images this year. For its 25th anniversary, the parc d'expositions Paris-Nord-Villepinte inaugurated its hall 7 in January this year. The additional 15,000m2 expands the parc's total event space to 210,000m2. Other major conference centres recently refurbished include the parc d'expositions Paris-Le Bourget, the Porte de Versaille, the CNIT and the Palais des Congres, which has completely renovated its Grand Amphitheatre.
Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel
Where is it? Formerly a Sofitel, the newly renovated and rebranded Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel & Conference Center is on the Left Bank of the Seine near the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Pres, once home to many famous artists and writers. Marriott bought it in March 2006 and officially opened in May this year.
Group check-in: The hotel does not have a separate desk for group check-in but will place mobile desks anywhere in the lobby entrance or conference centre at the client's request.
Meetings menu: This is the largest conference centre integrated into a hotel in Paris, with an area of almost 4,500m2 including 40 meeting rooms on four levels, accommodating anything from ten to 2,300 delegates. The main ballroom seats up to 1,200 delegates theatre-style, while the auditorium seats 160. There is also a separate banqueting area.
Techno talk: State-of-the-art resources include a projection room, 12 interpretation booths, video-conferencing facilities and wireless internet.
Cocktail cabinet: The R'Yves bar and restaurant is based on Marriott's "great room" concept, with the casual cafe and bar area downstairs split into several unique, contemporary spaces furnished with stylish booths, banquettes and creative lighting. Upstairs, the restaurant serves breakfast and European brasserie-style fare.
Sleep tight: There are 706 rooms spread over 21 floors: 605 deluxe rooms, 88 executive rooms, 13 disabled-access rooms and 51 suites. Decor draws inspiration from the interior of the Park Lane Marriott, with a touch of Parisian chic. All rooms have a 32-inch flatscreen TV, broadband internet, spacious desks and ergonomic chairs.
Added value: The hotel offers private parking and a new health club. An elite lounge is available for guests in executive rooms and suites.
Day delegate rate: Rates start at £69 per delegate. The property is also planning to launch a special offer rate for UK C&I agencies for 2008.
Diana Sellou-Payen, + 33 1 40 78 78 97
Email: Diana.sellou-payen@marriott hotels.com