The Michelin Guide

The newest Michelin Guide will be released on February 6, and it has already given flow to a lot of ink across luxury hotels. The awarding of Michelin stars is the sole distinction (or ‘punishment,’ in its absence) that boasts international recognition. Many hotels flaunt one prize or another, issued by such and such jury that has decided to spotlight such and such establishment. But the Michelin Guide, which has existed since 1900, constitutes the official reference for restaurants and hotels.

If there are numerous restaurants that run after these stars, there are also those that leave them plainly alone. Those that win the stars achieve notoriety and new clients. Those that lose a star lose their clients (some by as much as 40%, according to one restaurant owner who was forced to redesign his entire offering and organization in order to rectify the situation in the days following).

Pride in starred restaurants

In luxury hotels, where ego is at times pushed to its peak, the number of stars dazzles not only the eyes of it clients, but also those of its staff team, the hotel managers, and, of course, the chefs. Needless to say, it’s an incredible asset for a hotel. The renown of a starred restaurant at a Palace, for instance, speaks for all the restaurant services within a hotel: room service, the bar, the salon, tea, other restaurants, and banquet offerings (the hotel’s event-planning offerings).

A company will be only too proud to invite its best clients to a newly named 3-star restaurant. On the other hand, for those that have lost a star, who would dare bring their best clients to a restaurant that now seems demoted in the eyes of all but the most faithful! The company certainly won’t wish to associate its image to this failure! It’s a tough judgment because, between you and me, the restaurant likely still remains of good quality!

This year, for instance, l’Abeille, the French gourmet restaurant in the Shangri-La Paris Palace, has just lost one its stars, likely due to the departure of chef Philippe Labbé (who left this past August). The restaurant is thus short one Michelin star. Meanwhile, the gourmet Cantonese restaurant Shang Palace at the Shangri-La has been able to preserve its star.

The restaurant Le Strato of the 5-star Le Strato Hotel in Courcheval has lost a star, bringing it down from a 2-star to a 1-star establishment.

No stars yet for the gourmet Cantonese restaurant at the Peninsula Hotel, whose ambition has remained strong. There, too, and even more so than the Plaza Athénée, the quest for excellence will be a long one, since the hotel has just scarcely opened (5 months) with a new team. It will take some time for the employees to arrive at a level of service of excellent quality. These things don’t just happen overnight; time is necessary. It has been like this, and it’s perfectly normal. There is, after all, a time for everything.

The restaurant 1947 at the Palace Cheval Blanc in Courchevel has preserved its 2-star ranking since 2010, though David Alléno hopes to bump up to three.

The hotels that win Michelin stars

La Table du Lancaster

La Table du Lancaster in the Lancaster Hotel has just won its second star, and Julien Roucheteau continues to offer his sensory voyage through his cuisine. Discover his interview here: The Lancaster Hotel: New Ways of Welcoming.

The Réserve Ramatuelle, which won the Palace distinction back in 2012, has earned its first star for its restaurant La Voile under chef Eric Canino.

Yet another first star goes to the mountainside restaurant L’Ekrin, the gourmet soul of the Hotel Le Kaïla. The young 33-year old chef Laurent Azoulay, who splits his time between winters in Méribel at Le Kaïla, the first 5-star hotel in the resort town, and summers at his restaurant in Avignon, Le Saule Pleureur.

The hotel with the most stars currently in France is the Palace Plaza Athénée. It could lay claim to having three stars, but it will have to wait to recuperate them. The Michelin Guide has justly rewarded the efforts of Alain Ducasse’s teams. They have, after all, brought home two stars at the same time, only five months after the opening of their new and conceptually bold restaurant (see: The Alain Ducasse Restaurant at the Plaza Athénée). Perhaps it was the intent of the Michelin Guide to remind us that excellence entails a management that has been in operation for at least several months.

French Palaces and their restaurants:

• THE BRISTOL HOTEL – Paris: Restaurant “Epicure” – 3 stars
• THE MEURICE HOTEL – Paris: Restaurant “Le Meurice” – 3 stars
• HOTEL LES AIRELLES – Courchevel: Restaurant “Les Airelles” – 2 stars
• HOTEL LE CHEVAL BLANC – Courchevel: Restaurant “Le 1947″ – 2 stars
• FOUR SEASONS HOTEL GEORGE V – Paris: Restaurant “Le Cinq” – 2 stars
• THE K2 – Courchevel: Restaurant “Le Kintessence” – 2 stars
• PLAZA ATHÉNÉE HOTEL – Paris:  Restaurant “Alain Ducasse” – 2 stars
• GRAND-HÔTEL DU CAP-FERRAT – St Jean Cap Ferrat: Restaurant “Le Cap” – 1 star
• HOTEL DU PALAIS – Biarritz: Restaurant “Villa Eugénie” – 1 star
• HOTEL PARK HYATT PARIS VENDÔME – Paris: Restaurant “Pur” – 1 star
• LA RÉSERVE – Ramatuelle: Restaurant “La Voile” – 1 star
• THE ROYAL MONCEAU RAFFLES – Paris: Restaurant “Il Carpaccio” – 1 star
• SHANGRI-LA HOTEL – Paris: Restaurant “L’abeille” – 1 star
• HOTEL BYBLOS – St Tropez: 2 Restaurants “B” and “Rivea” – No stars
• CHÂTEAU DE LA MESSARDIÈRE – St Tropez: Restaurant “L’Acacia” – No stars
• MANDARIN ORIENTAL – Paris: Restaurant “Camélia” – No stars

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