Paris, unlike Asian capitals, has never been known for service with a smile (or service at all). But now a bunch of new Asian hotels (Raffles’ Le Royal Monceau, Shangri-La, and, soon enough, the Mandarin Oriental and Peninsula) may change that—and force other hoteliers to change, too.
The French finally understood that the Eiffel Tower is not enough to make people happy! Sweetness is something that is beginning to enter the service-industry culture here. Some day we may even have to hire a Chinese-speaking concierge. —Geoffroy Sciard of Hôtel Jules et Jim, opening in September
In Lieu of the Metro
Vélib, Paris’s wildly popular bike-rental system, is finally implementing machines that take U.S. credit cards. Parisienne Audrey Hameau offers this advice: “The first 30 minutes are free, so after 25 minutes, return your Vélib to a station, wait a few minutes, and re-rent it!” And coming in October: Autolib, with 3,000 electric cars.