As the capital of the world’s No 1 tourist destination, Paris has no shortage of hotels for all tastes and wallets, from the dumpy dive to the pillared palace, where a single night can set you back as much as €30,000 (US$35,000). But coronavirus and the ensuing lockdown have been hard on the City of Lights. The fanciest hotels previously pulled in at least 80 per cent of their guests from outside Europe, a route now closed because of international travel restrictions . As a result, most of the ultra-luxury hotels went into months-long hibernation, from which they will only begin to emerge at the end of this month. Paris boasts 12 high-end hotels that are classified as palaces, a cut above the mere five-star status. It’s a designation bestowed upon the houses by Atout France, the agency charged with promoting the country as a tourist destination abroad. Palace hotels include storied names such as the Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol and the Hotel de Crillon . Only the smallest of the deluxe dozen — La Réserve, with its 40 rooms — has been open since May 5. That brief monopoly on the most exclusive hotel segment has blessed La Réserve with occupancy rates of close to 80 per cent, according to general manager Romain Meiran. But when the rest of the pack come back, life will be tougher for everyone, he says. “What we can do is adapt ourselves to a difficult situation,” Meiran says. That includes new initiatives such as delivery service from its restaurant and special dinner offers to pull in customers. Christophe Laure, chairman of the UMIH Prestige hotel industry group, estimates revenue will drop by at least 40 per cent this year. Tourism is crucial to France, representing seven per cent of its economy and accounting for more than two million jobs. There’s hope to claw back some business later this year, with tennis’ French Open at Roland-Garros set to start on September 21 and the city’s Fashion Week a week later. Official delegations from foreign countries meeting with the president at the Élysée – a three-minute walk away – should also make a comeback, says Luca Allegri, who runs the Le Bristol palace hotel. In another blow to tourism in France, Britain on August 13 announced travel restrictions for six popular holiday destinations. From 4am on August 15, anyone arriving from France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos, and Aruba will have to self-isolate for 14 days, according to a tweet from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. Allegri is taking no chances at Le Bristol, with its geranium-dripping balconies. Each suitcase entering the premises will pass through a disinfection gateway, there will a 24-hour gap between new room occupancy to allow for deep cleans, and a staff nurse will be on location seven days a week. When the 600 staff and hopefully some guests return on September 1, business is likely to be “very challenging, very difficult,” Allegri says, though the hotel won’t raise prices to make up for lost business. Others are taking an even dimmer view on their prospects. The 100 rooms and suites over at the Shangri-La hotel, located close to the Eiffel Tower , will remain closed for longer: the reopening has just been postponed by a month, to October 1.