The Christmas issue

Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 28th December, 2016 for your chance to win a share of $50,000!

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Top 35 recipes of 2016

2016 was all about slow-roasting, fresh pasta and comfort food. These are the recipes you clicked on most this year, counting back to number one.

Decadent chocolate dessert recipes for Christmas

13 of our most decadent chocolate recipes to indulge guests with this Christmas.

Chilled recipes for summer

When the mercury is rising, step away from the oven. These recipes are either raw, chilled or frozen and will cool you down in a snap.

Best travel destinations in 2017

We're thinking big for travelling in 2017 - and so should you. Will we see you sunrise at Java's 9th-century Borobudur Buddhist temple, across the table at Reykjavik's newest restaurants or swimming side-by-side with humpback whales off Western Australia's coast?

Christmas vegetarian recipes

The versatility of vegetarian dishes means they can be served alongside meat and seafood, or enjoyed simply as they are. With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve put together some of our favourite vegetarian recipes to appease both herbivores and carnivores alike.

What the GT team is cooking on Christmas Day

We don't do things by halves in the Gourmet office. These are the recipes we'll be cooking on the big day.

Summer feta recipes

Whether in a fresh salad or seasonal seafood dish, feta's creamy tang can be used to add interest to a variety of summer dishes.

Christmas ham recipes

The centrepiece of any Christmas feast, hams can be glazed with many ingredients. Here are our favourite combinations.

Suite dreams

Combining new-age technology and exquisite design, the new hotel Fouquet’s Barrière takes opulence to the next level on the Champs-Elysées.

In Paris, there are close to 1500 hotels with a total of 75,000 rooms to fill, so any newcomer would need to be very special indeed to outrank the competition. Especially if its premium suite retailed at 15,000 euros (about $25,000) a night.


For starters, it would need a stunning location. Right in the heart of the city's Golden Triangle would be perfect, on the corner of the Champs-Elysées, say, and Avenue George V.


It would need some unique selling points, such as a sublime underground spa and swimming pool, and the largest standard suites in the French capital. And if it was really serious about success, it would stock those suites with the ultimate in new technology - pop-up plasmas, anyone? - plus opulent extras such as walk-in wardrobes and marble-clad bathrooms that feel more like personal beauty salons.


The interiors would, ideally, be entrusted to a megastar French decorator - someone like Jacques Garcia, designer to the Sultan of Brunei and the Midas touch behind such wildly prosperous ventures as Hôtel Costes in Paris and La Mamounia in Marrakech. As it happens, all of the above - and much more besides - defines Fouquet's Barrière, arguably the most spectacular new hotel to open in Paris since the George V welcomed its first guests in 1928.


The family-owned Lucien Barrière group, which owns an upmarket portfolio of European hotels, casinos and restaurants, hopes its dazzling debut in Paris will earn it a place in the city's pantheon of palace hotels - alongside the George V, the Meurice, the Crillon, the Plaza-Athénée and the Ritz. It's a lofty ambition, granted, but what Fouquet's lacks in old-money grandeur it makes up for with contemporary opulence and unrivalled technology.


Take, for example, the hotel's standard suites, many of which have impossibly romantic outlooks onto the Champs Elysées. Each is a minimum 40 square metres and contains everything you would expect of a top-end hotel - king-sized beds, high-speed internet and exquisite finishes (leather, velvet, mahogany, sharkskin).


Each also has a flat-screen television embedded in a mirrored wall, invisible until you turn it on and it shimmers to life like a genie in the glass. In some of the more lavish suites, the television emerges from a console at the end of the bed. It's all so very futuristic.


Beside each bed is a cockpit of controls so you can, without rising, tell housekeeping not to disturb you, open the door to room service, or send your butler on an urgent errand.


Of course there are butlers here. At your service, day and night, for anything. "Anything," stresses Mme Anne-Charlotte Archimbaud, the devastatingly chic sales manager who guidedGourmet Traveller through this dream palace.


Bathrooms here are spacious salons with three lighting levels, rainshower, deep bath, mist-free mirrors, dual basins, and outsized toiletries that include a choice of shower gels - one to stimulate you in the morning, another to relax you at night - and Hermès Un Jardin Sur Le Nil eau de toilette. There's another invisible LCD in here too, complete with waterproof remote control. It's all so very inspired.


The suites come in seven increasingly voluptuous categories until you reach the ultimate - the Grand Suite de Paris, which spans 550 square metres and has its own terrace with exhilarating city views. Each of the larger suites resembles a classic Parisian flat, encompassing 'le savoir-vivre à la Française', as Mme Archimbaud explains. It's not an easy concept to translate, but inside these apartments you know exactly what she means; they are so French in their appreciation and expression of beauty, comfort and facility.


Also very French is the fact that from the street you can barely tell the hotel, which opened in November 2006, is here. Fouquet's Barrière has been created by amalgamating five adjoining buildings into the one corner showpiece, with a private garden at its heart. Noted architect Edouard François blended the exteriors into a seamless Hausmann-esque stone façade, complete with mouldings and whimsical wrought iron detail. It looks just like any other grand Parisian streetfront, except perhaps for the rectangular windows that François has punched out of the stone at intervals, affording guests the sorts of views they'll presumably want to come back for.


All passers-by would note at a glance is the suave exterior and the 108-year-old Fouquet's Brasserie on the corner, a favourite haunt of movie stars and glitterati, site of the annual César Awards after-party, and officially designated a 'French cultural shrine'.


The hotel entrance is located discreetly on Avenue George V, diagonally opposite that other French cultural shrine, the Louis Vuitton flagship store. Just look for the doorman in the brown velvet cape, then head past him into the foyer of Carrara marble, gold leaf (there's seven kilometres of it plastered throughout the hotel) and curved walls lined in rich chocolate leather embroidered with creeping vines.


Between the foyer and the hotel's private garden lies the domed Le Diane restaurant, with phalaenopsis orchids blooming in gilt-lined alcoves and tiny, perfect arrangements of orchids and roses on each precisely laid table. Through the windows here you can glimpse the hotel's vast rooftop terrace, a teak-lined reception area with views of the Eiffel Tower.


Buried beneath the foyer is the U Spa, a subterranean pleasure dome comprising a swimming pool (the second largest in Paris, apparently), a hammam (Turkish bath), six massage rooms, bagnotherapy (a water-oriented spa treatment using pressurised jets), fitness room with personal trainer, steam room and sauna. It has a high-times-in-the-Roman-empire feel to it, but the treatments are entirely New Age; guests can be swaddled in a slimming treatment of Peruvian red liana paste mixed with Amazonian berry extract, or have facial lines soothed away under a pack of Pacific seaweed. It is, like the rest of Fouquet's Barrière, unashamedly out of the ordinary.


THE FINE PRINT

Fouquet's Barrière

46 avenue George V, Paris, + 33 1 4069 6040, www.fouquets-barriere.com. Doubles from $950 a night. For more information or a free copy of The Leading Hotels of the World Directory, call (02) 9377 8444 within Sydney or 1800 222 033 outside Sydney or visit www.lhw.com/fouquet.

THE FINE PRINT

Fouquet's Barrière

46 avenue George V, Paris, + 33 1 4069 6040, www.fouquets-barriere.com. Doubles from $950 a night. For more information or a free copy of The Leading Hotels of the World Directory, call (02) 9377 8444 within Sydney or 1800 222 033 outside Sydney or visit www.lhw.com/fouquet.
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
The GT x STILY
Christmas Boutique is now open

The smallgoods, homewares, art and more from the pages of GT are now all under one roof, ready to take their place under the tree.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

You might also like...

Best of Italy

Rome, Florence, Naples, the Amalfi... the list of our favour...

Best New Hotels 2009 slideshow

We’ve got the keys to the most fabulous new hotels in the wo...

Burgundy, France: Top soil

“Water can rust iron. Imagine what it does to your insides. ...

Bali's new high

It’s no secret that recent times have been tough for Austral...

New South Wales South Coast

Unsung hero Flashier holiday spots may steal the limelight, ...

Gourmet Barcelona

From the city's best sandwich bar to its favourite charcuter...

Greece's Mani peninsula

Greece’s rugged and bloody Mani peninsula was once a no-go z...

Venice in pictures

Read our story on what to do if you only have 24 hours in Ve...

Great Brittany gallery

Take a walk on the wild side. Follow Brittany’s windswept co...

South African safari lodges gallery

Travelling from the Great Karoo to the Kruger, Emma Ventura ...

Iceland photo gallery

Erase the images of that volcano with the unpronounceable na...

Happy holidays

They’re following the sun and chasing the snow, staying clos...

Kyneton and Castlemaine

Kyneton and Castlemaine were born out of the gold-rush era, ...

Insider's guide to Manly

Breath of fresh air The classic Sydney beachside neighbourho...

The best of New Zealand

Choosing from the bounty of New Zealand's holiday destinati...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×