Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog www.eyepreferparis.com.
Luxury doesn’t get any more luxurious than at the newly opened Guerlain Spa on the Champs Elysees.
We were recently given an extensive almost 90 minute tour by the head publicist of Guerlain which included the fascinating history of the brand.
We started at the top floor of the three-story complex, where the spa is. The spa was first opened in 1939, with original interiors and furniture by Jean-Michel Frank and Diego Giacometti. New York based architect Peter Marino, who took three years to redesign the space from top to bottom, faithfully used authentic reproductions of the Jean-Michel Frank designs throughout the spa. Spa guests are ushered into a serene waiting room with a hanging orchid garden and cushy sofas, and served coffee or Guerlain’s own private label tea while awaiting their treatments.
Spa treatments are custom designed and every client is given a private consultation with a highly trained spa specialist to determine their treatment by asking a series of questions. Over 300 types of massages and beauty treatments are offered including Body Listening Ritual, The “Guerlain Massage”, and the Imperial Relaxing Ritual, where you are enveloped in the Eau de Cologne Imperiale. Nine treatment rooms are sumptuously appointed with Opera Fantastico style marble sink consoles, tufted club chairs, and crisp white linens and down comforters on the spa beds.
The second floor is designated for fragrances and the centerpiece is a dazzling multi-tiered display of Guerlain’s top fragrances. There are also individual vitrines containing some of the brand’s historic fragrances including Shalimar, L’Heure Bleue, and Eau de Cologne Impériale. We learned Guerlain began as soap makers and in 1828, chemist Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain opened his first boutique at 42 rue de Rivoli, now the Meurice Hotel. Five generations later, Guerlain has created over 850 fragrances.
The ground floor focuses on cosmetics and has the original marble counters from 1828 along with sleek, modern day displays that include Guerlain’s newest bestselling fragrance La Petite Robe Noir.
To complete the experience, chef Guy Martin of the famed Le Grand Vefour restaurant has setup a decadent pastry counter along with a tearoom and full service restaurant on the lower level.
What a way to spend an afternoon.
L’Institut Guerlain, 68 Champs-Elysees
68 Ave. Champs Elysees, 75008