I expected the holiday decorations at Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris to be amazing, since it’s no secret that Four Seasons does design well. I also expected the hotel to be elegant because this world-famous Parisian landmark property boasts a long list of awards and accolades.
All the same, it still took at least several minutes for my jaw to close after first experiencing the lobby, bar, lounge and restaurant all dolled up for the holiday season. Jeff Leatham, the artistic director responsible for this festive masterpiece, is pure genius.
The centerpiece is the open interior courtyard with a forest of light-filled trees surrounding a single “virtual” tree comprised entirely of brilliant bright white lights in constant motion. The effect is mesmerizing. The courtyard glows continually and is visible from most of the public areas. It’s one of the few holiday venues I’ve seen that is equally spectacular, regardless of the time of day.
The glory of this display was not lost on our well-traveled eight-year-old Devon, who expertly joined the analysis: “Wow, Mom, there are lights everywhere. This hotel has very nice decorations! How many stars does it have?” LOL.
The fun part is that we were able to learn first-hand how Jeff creates his decorative magic. We took a Behind The Scenes tour hosted by Claudia Caringi, the recreation manager, who specializes in creating activities for younger guests staying at Four Seasons George V (bravo, that this city hotel offers this incredible resource to families).
During our tour, we were able to see Jeff’s design studio and appreciate the gargantuan responsibility of managing flowers and seasonal décor for a brand like Four Seasons—in Paris. We also peeked in the Salon Anglais, where the Children’s Christmas Party will take place on December 25 — a dreamy, cozy space, complete with kid-pleasing secret passageways. I can’t imagine a more picture-perfect spot to meet Santa!
Our next stop was the kitchen—holiday treat central. Devon tried his hand at making Madeleine cookies, a French specialty, and cotton candy. The decadent highlight, however, was our introduction to the refrigerator storing all the hotel’s pastries, where he was encouraged to pick anything his heart desired. Pure insanity.
The hotel is located just a few blocks from the Champs-Élysées Christmas Market with an array of kid-focused activities, including a “sledding” slide, ice skating on a pint-sized track, and mini-motorized bikes. What a tremendous way to kick off the 2011 holiday season!
Amie blogs at Ciao Bambino!
Read more about France during the holidays in Four Seasons Magazine.
Amie O'Shaughnessy manages Ciao Bambino, an award-winning family travel resource, from the San Francisco Bay Area where she lives with her husband and 10-year-old son. The experience of planning her first international trip with a baby inspired Amie to dedicate her career to providing parents with all the essential information they need to explore the world happily with children in tow.
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