Hôtel de Crillon, Paris $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
In this, its flagship property, Concorde Hotels manages to make the the oppressive designs of the ancien régime—stone staircases, mile-high frescoed ceilings, monumental chandeliers, and endless salons—seem somehow humanized. But when it comes to exclusivity (and price), the place is as authoritarian as Louis XVI. The 147 rooms and multiple-bedroom suites are outfitted with Aubusson carpets, Baccarat crystal chandeliers, and the red velvet-upholstered armchairs and gilded, leather-topped desks and tables are the real deal. The views (over Place de la Concorde) are the best of all the Paris palace hotels, and top-of-the-line technology (flat-screen TVs and broadband Internet access) is in place, too. Guests wash up surrounded by polychrome inlaid marble floors, marble-clad walls, saunas, Jacuzzis, and Turkish baths. Service, of course, is fawning and ubiquitous—there's even a special brigade to coddle canine guests. Dinner reservations at Les Ambassadeurs can be hard to come by; the Crillon Bar serves drinks and light meals to a modish crowd. Emperor Hirohito, Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, Madonna, and, yes, the Dalai Lama have all stayed here, and the pedigree continues to draw a power-elite clientele—all you have to do to join the ranks is pony up at checkout time.
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