Walking into 251 rue Saint-Honoré is stepping into the world of true, ultimate luxury. This is the address where Mandarin Oriental started creating a small piece of paradise nearly two years.
It was my husband’s birthday yesterday and even if I am absolutely overwhelmed with work at the moment, I could not leave him without a surprise. So, I invited him for an apéritif at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. A fairly new 5-star hotel in the center of Paris, impeccable service, a great choice of drinks, original decoration and a lush terrace. A perfect setting for people watching, too. What else could one ask for?
We ordered a glass of rosé wine called AOC Côtes de provence Alycastre «Domaine la Courtade» 2011 and a glass of champagne, Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. We were immediately offered a lovely, truffle-flavored nut mix with giant black olives. When the drinks arrived, we noticed that the quantity was bigger than usually (prices were 10€ for wine and 29€ for champagne).
Our waiter Christian noticed that I was taking photos and offered to take one of us together. I jokingly responded that we actually live in Paris and do not need touristy photos, but it would indeed be nice to have a photo of us because it is my husband’s birthday. Christian acted like a professional photographer but after a photo shoot he made a smooth transition to the waiter’s role and brought us more olives (this time green).
After about five minutes Christian was back with a small cake (un cannelé) that had a candle on it! He congratulated my husband and asked if there is anything else he can do for us. As we were heading to a restaurant afterwards, and because French people usually don’t eat sweet food before a dinner, we asked if he could kindly wrap it up to us. “Pas de problème” was the answer, and a few minutes later the cake came back in a small box. We paid the bill, put a five-euro tip on a table, and left with a smile. If this is not an example of excellent customary service, then what is…. I don’t remember ever being inside a Mandarin Oriental hotel, but I will pay extra attention to it every time I see one during my future travels.
PS We continued to a restaurant called La Régalade Conservatoire, but a review will have to wait a little bit… All I can say now is that the food was excellent, but the service did not match the Mandarin Oriental level.
Mandarin Oriental Paris: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/paris/
La Régalade Conservatoire: http://www.hoteldenell.com/index.php?cat=14&ID=14&nom=La%20R%C3%A9galade%20Conservatoire