Provence & Côte d'Azur: After a year of waiting, the results have finally been announced
Palace distinction goes to Riviera hotels
After a grinding and long-winded process over one year, the results of the highly reputable accolade were announced on Wednesday by Atout France, a tourism organisation which supervised the allocation process. How many hotels that actually applied for the title remains unknown.
Three were selected: Byblos and Château de la Messardière, nestled in the glamorous town of Saint Tropez, and La Réserve in Ramatuelle. The luxurious establishments will keep their "palace" title for a total of five years.
The French Ministry of Economy, Industry and Employment hired a 10-member jury to assess a range of luxurious hotels in France aspiring to achieve the palace distinction, taking into account aesthetic quality, environmental and social policies, financial effectiveness and their contribution to the spread of French culture.
After patiently waiting for the verdict since the 30th June last year, General Manager of Château de la Messardière Alexandre Durand-Viel was moved by the announcement. "I am really proud and it just goes to show how hard all the staff have worked and the immense effort that has gone into the hotel for many years," he told AFP.
"We expect a significant notoriety boost now," said Antoine Chevanne, owner of Byblos.
The 'palace' label was introduced in November 2010 with the aim of distinguishing certain French hotels from their international rivals, in turn boosting the country's profile as an exclusive holiday destination, particularly in locations such as Paris and in the south of France.
The three luxurious Riviera hotels will now join nine other members of the official Palace club, which consists of Hôtel du Palais (Biarritz), Les Airelles (Courchevel), Le Cheval Blanc (Courchevel, owned by Bernard Arnault), Le Bristol (Paris), Le Meurice (Paris), Park Hyatt (Paris), Plaza Athenee (Paris), Grand Hôtel du Cap Ferrat (St Jean Cap Ferrat) and George V (Paris). A total of eight residences were first awarded the exclusive distinction in May 2011.
For a hotel to receive the award, it has to follow a number of specific requirements. It must have larger rooms than those of five-star establishments, more facilities such as a spa and gym, excellent and efficient service including a range of multilingual employees, an excellent restaurant as well as an exceptional and exquisite ambiance – all factors which make the guest's stay a divine, unique and memorable experience.