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The Palace designation: France’s highest honor for hotels

What is the Palace designation?

Established by the French Ministry of Tourism in 2010, the Palace designation was created to distinguish hotels that not only go far above and beyond the five-star hotel requirements but also contribute to France on a cultural level. “The hotels that have been selected are an expression of French excellence in the realm of hospitality and art of living, while embodying the diversity of France,” says Christian Mantei, CEO of Atout France, which awards the Palace distinction.

The Palace hotels must qualify for a five-star ranking, which has requirements like a valet, staff members who speak at least two foreign languages, and large guest rooms that meet specified dimensions. But there are dozens of five-star hotels in France that fit that criteria—what sets the Palace hotels apart is their history, their location, their atmosphere, and a certain uniqueness: essentially, a je ne sais quoi.

But the hotels do have some more concrete qualities that often contribute to the palace designation, like having multiple Michelin-starred restaurants or particular positions on staff that go well beyond the typical roles of concierge or housekeeping.

How do you get the Palace Distinction?

In order to earn the distinction, a hotel must impress a committee comprising figures across industries, from architects to businesspeople to media personalities, checking every box of a lengthy list of requirements and passing site inspections and interviews.

24 hotels have been awarded the prestigious ranking:

Four Seasons Hotel George V
Hôtel Plaza Athénée
La Réserve Paris-Hôtel and Spa
Le Bristol Paris
Le Meurice
Mandarin Oriental Paris
Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme
Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris
Shangri-La Hôtel Paris
The Peninsula Paris

Alps, Courchevel
Cheval Blanc Courchevel, Courchevel
Hôtel Le K2, Courchevel
Hôtel Les Airelles, Courchevel
Le Royal Evian, Evians-les-Bains

French Riviera and Provence
Byblos Saint-Tropez, Saint-Tropez
Château de la Messardière, Saint-Tropez
Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel, Saint Jean Cap-Ferrat
Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc, Antibes
La Bastide de Gordes, Gordes
La Réserve Ramatuelle Hotel Spa and Villas

South West
Hôtel du Palais, Biarritz
Les Sources de Caudalie, Martillac
Hôtel les Prés d’Eugénie, Michel Guérard, Eugénie-les-Bains

Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France, Saint-Barthélemy

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