Oh mon Dieu! The biggest news at Paris Fashion Week is not what show Kanye and Kim are attending or who Anna Wintour is glaring at. Mais non! The big news around Paris that’s rocking Louboutins around the globe is that after several years as the General Manager of the uber-fabulous Four Seasons George V in Paris, Christopher Norton is moving on! His promotion will likely break the hearts of the Who’s Who in fashion, society and Hollywood alike. His new position as President Hotel Operations Europe/Middle East/Africa iseffective 1st September 2012.
Christopher Norton, whom I know personally, is not only one of the most high profile hoteliers worldwide, but a ridiculously suave gentleman type with an almost comical amount of charm. So much so, that I’ve joked about it because I think more than a few of the couture clad women around the globe go there just for him. The last time I saw him, I bumped into him in the first class airport lounge in Zurich. I was on my way back to New York, exhausted and tired. He was en route to Paris, all pressed and perfect. Of course. But the reality is, regardless of his charm and elegant demeanor, Christopher Norton is a top notch hotelier who never spends one moment resting on his laurels. He has been part of the magic that embodies The Georges V for many years and I was curious what it will be like after his departure. So, over a friendly chat on the phone today, he and I talked about what life will be like for him and the famed Parisian hotel when he makes his official exit this fall.
Something he seems particularly proud of is the unwavering stellar reputation of The Georges V. As he should be. “It is undeniably, one of the world’s most exquisite hotels. It is the ultimate in European luxury.” He also went on to tell me about all the updates and funds (60 million Euros, merci beaucoup!) spent on improving the hotel not only to maintain it’s beauty, but to update it without, Heaven forbid, altering the integrity of the property. We talked a lot about the business side of the hotel; how it has outperformed every other Paris hotel financially, how it has won numerous coveted awards and how it continues to attract the world’s most elite travelers. He also talked about what an incredible team is in place there and how Four Seasons really takes care of their employees. Just a side note, they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a restaurant for the employees there.
But at the end of the day, it is simply one of the finest hotels in the world. If you’ve never been there, it is someplace you must try and visit there even if only once in your lifetime.
When you arrive, you’re met with elaborate floral arrangements in the 1928 marble lobby filled with tapestries, sparkling chandeliers and antique furnishings throughout. The guest rooms are filled with the same luxe details, and under Norton’s direction, have been technologically updated to keep up with guests growing demands for staying connected. When you’re hungry, the hotel’s Michelin two-starred restaurant, Le Cinq will satisfy your palette like no other resturant. The spa is consistently one of the highest rated in the world. When you exit the hotel, you are in the midst of Paris’ 8th arrondissement. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Saudi princes, A List Hollywood and rock stars all vying over the $25k a night Penthouse Suite during Paris Fashion Week are all just another day at the office. I had to check reservations for that info by the way..”We never discuss money, Courtney. You know that.” Of course, how gauche?
Taking all that into consideration, I couldn’t help but think in spite of this fabulous and well deserved promotion, how do you not miss that?
When I asked what he will miss most when he leaves the day to day operations of Paris’ most glamourous hotel, he replied, “Just being there. Just being there every day”.
Et voila. We will miss you too, Mr. Norton. Paris just won’t be the same without you.