Michelin Guide Hands Out ‘Keys’ To 189 Of France’s Lushest Hotels
— Updated on 17 April 2024

Michelin Guide Hands Out ‘Keys’ To 189 Of France’s Lushest Hotels

— Updated on 17 April 2024
Randy Lai
WORDS BY
Randy Lai

Understandably keen not to let William Reed Business Media (publishers of the oft polarising ’50 Best’ lists) steal the spotlight, the Michelin Guide has just published its inaugural list of “the most outstanding hotels in France.”

Marking the prestigious culinary guide’s very first foray into luxury accommodations full stop, the list echoes the tried-and-true, three-tier format established via the iconic Michelin stars. Only this time around, the appropriate jargon that the Guide’s inspectors have settled on… is ‘keys.’

For this landmark occasion, Michelin inspectors awarded keys to a total of 189 establishments across France, with around a fifth of these (predictably) concentrated in the City of Light).

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Michelin key hotels
Pictured: The exterior, looking toward the historic Pont Neuf, of Cheval Blanc Paris — a three-key hotel.

Awarded by inspectors — in a manner akin to the Michelin restaurant guides — following an anonymous visit and stay, sans the aid of trade/national tourism organisations, all of the properties included in this list of Michelin key hotels can be divided into three-key (“extraordinary”), two-key (“exceptional”), and one-key (“very special”) stays.

By design, an exhaustive checklist of criteria favoured by Michelin inspectors is never publicly disclosed, though the Guide’s own website states, in no uncertain terms, that the quality of each hotel is judged on the following:

  • Architecture and interior design
  • Quality and consistency of service
  • Overall personality and character
  • Value for the price
  • A significant contribution to guests’ experiences in a particular setting
Michelin key hotels
Pictured: Les Sources de Caudalie, the only “extraordinary” property in Bordeaux to achieve three-key status in this year’s guide.

Notwithstanding the high number of Parisian hotels conceived in the grand olde Haussmannian style (e.g. La Réserve or Rosewood-backed Hôtel de Crillon), other notable awardees for 2024 include the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz (two keys); La Maison d’Estournel (one key), the intimate guesthouse abutting the legendary Bordelaise winemaker of the same name; and a host of “small, design-forward boutique” operations that signal the Michelin Guide’s sensitivity to the changing face of luxury travel.

Pictured: One of the balcony guestrooms at the properly boutique-y Norman Hôtel in Paris — a one-key destination.

According to representatives of Michelin Guide France, luxury-obsessed travellers can expect keys to be awarded to another 411 hotels across four countries: beginning with the USA and Spain in late April, Italy in May, and (relevantly for Aussies) Japan in July.

Until then, check out the complete list of Michelin key hotels in France below.


Michelin Key Hotels (France)

Three Keys

Two Keys

One Key

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Brittany

Centre-Val de Loire

Corsica

Grand Est

Haut-de-France

Île-de-France

Normandy

Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Occitania

Pays de la Loire

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

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Randy Lai
WORDS by
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].

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