CHECK IN: Seasoned travelers including Liam Neeson, Alain Delon and Maggie Cheung flocked to the opening gala of the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Paris on Thursday night. Waiters swirled proffering culinary delights by resident chef Thierry Marx, while providing entertainment in the site’s central courtyard were violinist Vanessa-Mae, flamenco dancer Blanca Li and the Guangzhou State Acrobatic Troupe.
Discussing the qualities he looks for in a hotel, Christian Dior honcho Sidney Toledano said the quality of food and “all that is fitness and spa-related” is essential. His favorite hotels include the Cheval Blanc in luxury French ski resort Courchevel and the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong and New York. “I’ve been going to the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong since the early Eighties, it feels like home and the one in New York has these incredible views over Central Park,” he said.
Peace and quiet, a good bed and an iPad are enough to satisfy Ralph Toledano, while for Neeson — who appeared to have indulged in the selection of fine wines on offer — a human touch is key. “When you’re traveling all the time, hotels become your home in a weird way and it makes such a difference if the staff, when asking if you had a nice day, look in you the eye and really mean it,” said the actor.