Welcome to my palace

27th May 2011, by Chris Gill

The Airelles, Courchevel - now a 'Palace' rating

The Airelles, Courchevel - now a 'Palace' rating

French authorities have been renewing the country’s hotel rating system again, this time introducing a new ‘Palace’ rating to eight hotels that they believe merit a superior class – regarded as better than 5-star. Can there really be that much difference?

While most people tend to take more notice of review sites, rather than ratings, it seems the French want to develop the competition among its top-end properties and to encourage the luxury market to grow – which, according to various reports, it is doing.

Two of the hotels awarded this new status are (not surprisingly) in swanky resort mecca – Courhevel: The Airelles and the Cheval Blanc. Both hotels are in 1850 and were selected for qualities that put them a cut above the 5-star status.

We don’t feature these two rather exhorbitant places in our current Courchevel chapter, but they are similarly located in the Jardin Alpin part of the resort; the Airelles a grand, but ornately wooden property with 34 rooms, 14 suites and and a big spa centre [pictured above]. You won’t fall short on pampering, but some of these grand properties leave us cold in terms of atmosphere.

The new ‘Palace’ category was entrusted to the Ministry of Tourism, who based it on the fact that there was no formal distinction among the 5-star group. It did apparently not acknowledge a hotel’s location, size of bedrooms, multilingual staff, service quality and any other distinguishing features that make a place a bit more special.

With these elements now considered, the eight hotels were elected ‘Palace’ properties for 2011/12.

So, will you be staying in a palace this winter? We’d love to hear all about it!

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