Last week in Four Seasons George V, I had what must be the most expensive hot chocolate in Paris, if not the world. At 22 euros their thick dark chocolate traditional comes in a pot to pour from and was truly delicious, but I am not sure I would pay so much again!
My curiosity had been aroused by Out and about in Paris post about their wedding anniversary afternoon tea.
However when I read it again I discovered that Stephanes favourite tipple had come with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles, which mine had not. Had I missed something?
Four seasons George V hotel is a favourite hang out for me and my Paris friends, but it has also become the benchmark for any service at any hotel or restaurant we happen to frequent.
We watched fascinated as the immaculate staff go about their daily work with just the right amount of discretion and friendliness.
Who trains these people, how do they train them? Do they just only recruit NICE people to work there, people who’s main pleasure in life is to be of service and make people happy?
Frankly I would find it tiresome to cope with the demands and rudeness I have sometimes seen displayed by of some of the clientèle there. Still I guess that is why I do the job I do and not work in the service industry.
Sitting, sipping my hot chocolate in the comfortable lounge of George V I couldn’t help comparing it with the 5 star Lowry Hotel in Manchester, where I had taken afternoon tea with my friend Redqueen earlier in the week.
The afternoon tea had cost a similar price and was very nice and whilst the artwork was impressive there were subtle differences that makes George V in a different league.
For example, when I sat waiting in the bar at the Lowry to meet my friend I noticed a few crumbs on the coffee table next to mine. For the whole of the ten minutes I waited nobody noticed or came to clear it up. The windows where not quite sparkling and there was dust in some corners. There is usually an attendant, polishing the taps at George V. Not so at the Lowry.
A good five minutes passed before anybody greeted me or asked if they could be of help. At George V you are greeted and the waiter would be over straight away. and although the Lowry staff are clean and smart, they are not quite as immaculate as the French staff, who have great posture and who must be inspected to a high standard every day before work.
Ok, I know it sounds pedantic but if you are paying 22 euros for hot chocolate or afternoon tea, you are not just paying for the food or chocolate which you could get at any cafe, you are paying a premium for exceptional service and ambiance.
Or maybe George V has spoiled me for any other place!
and a year ago I was being a tourist in Manchester. This strangely reminds me of Boston!