Every year, a number of venerable hotels, particularly those in the luxury category, undergo a facelift to bring them up to date with guest expectations. At the same time, care is taken to maintain the traditional aspects and elegance that made these properties long-time favorites. Here is a sampling of recent hot renovations in Europe.
Hôtel de Crillon, Paris
Ever since the legendary Hôtel de Crillon closed for renovations on March 20, 2013, we’ve been keeping an ear to the ground about this beloved Parisian landmark. And now, after four years of meticulous restoration work, the luxury hotel has announced a summer reopening. (Rosewood Hotels & Resorts was appointed to manage the property. Established in 1979 and based in Hong Kong, Rosewood now has 18 properties in 11 countries.)
With a prime position on the Place de la Concorde, Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel is instantly recognizable by its historic façade, built in 1758, for King Louis XV, by the French architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel. The restoration was undertaken by Richard Martinet and the team at the Affine Design architectural agency. A major focus was to preserve the classified elements of the historic-listed building while injecting it with both contemporary décor by leading designers, and also all the 21st-century comforts expected by luxury travelers today. Two basement levels were excavated in order to accommodate both the hotel operations (kitchen, reservations, back office) and also the spa and a swimming pool with natural light from a skylight.
Aline d’Amman, the project’s artistic director, invited three decorators to work on the interiors: Tristan Auer, Chahan Minassian and Cyril Vergniol. What’s more, famed fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld was recruited to add his design touch to two suites and one guestroom. Landscaping was overseen by celebrated paysagiste Louis Benech, known for his work in the Tuileries gardens and the Chateau de Versailles.
Hôtel Barrière L’Hermitage
Group Barrière’s Hôtel Barrière L’Hermitage La Baule — the legendary hotel in the fashionable Atlantic coastal resort of La Baule — has just reopened after a top-to-bottom renovation. Interior designer Chantal Peyrat made over the rooms and public spaces: the Lobby, the Grand Café, le Jardin, le bar Les Evens and the Spa Diane Barrière. L’Hermitage was constructed in 1926 as a “palace” by François André, who famously first created Deauville and La Baule as “resorts.”
Group Barrière’s flagship property, Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet’s Paris, was recently shuttered for a massive renovation and expansion project. It is expected to reopen again in summer 2017 with restored rooms, restaurants and spa. What’s more, the luxury hotel will add 19 new rooms and suites with Arc de Triomphe views in 2018.
The Royal Lancaster London
Overlooking Hyde Park, the four-star Royal Lancaster London will relaunch in September following an ongoing £80 million renovation led by Studio Proof. Upon completion, the mid-century hotel will re-affix the word “Royal” in front of its name (it had been called Lancaster London since 2009; prior to that it was The Royal Lancaster) in time for the hotel’s 50th anniversary.
The projects encompass everything back-of-house (air condition, plumbing, electrics) as well as a complete renovation of the public spaces. The refurbished entrance façade and reception lobby will now have a brand-new staircase. Also included was the redesign of all 411 guestrooms and suites, new lifts to the 18 floors, and an external garden. Essentially, every area of the hotel will be brand new.
The lobby will be divided into a series of individual spaces, and will have a new bar. It will be decorated with white marble, gold, polished brass and bronze, and will utilize a restrained color pallet. The metals will also be applied to the exterior of the building.
The new guestroom design emphasizes the views over Hyde Park and has luxurious details, including tactile fabrics, bronze and glass elements, and bespoke light fittings. In a nod to the hotel’s roots in the 1960s, the design of the new suites blends mid-century nuances and English character from that era, with a contemporary spin.
The new guestroom design at Royal Lancaster London emphasizes the views over Hyde Park.
(For a look at more London renovations, including those at the Athenaeum Hotel, Flemings Mayfair, The Berkeley and The Langham, London, check out “London Focus” in the Focus Series section of www.travelagentcentral.com.)
Ireland’s Adare Manor
The historic Neo-Gothic mansion that is Adare Manor — occupying an 840-acre estate in County Limerick, Ireland — closed in January 2016 for an 18-month-plus, multimillion-dollar, top-to-bottom makeover. The five-star hotel will show off the fruits of this major project in September 2017. Architects Reardon Smith and Richmond International were recruited to work on the hotel building, while Tom Fazio is upgrading the 18-hole championship golf course (and there will be a new clubhouse). The refurbishment will include restoring historical details like the external stonework and windows. New additions include a spa, ballroom, pool and relaxation area, cinema, boardroom, plus a new wing with an additional 42 new rooms. The total room count will be 104 guestrooms.
Rome’s Hotel Eden
In Rome, The Dorchester Collection’s iconic Hotel Eden just unveiled the results of an extensive 18-month restoration. Formerly offering 121 rooms and suites, the hotel’s reduced room and suite count of 98 has created more expansive spaces for guests to relax. Room and public areas now accentuate the beauty of natural light, emphasized further by the high ceilings and tall windows framing Rome’s skyline. Hotel Eden’s top suite, the Bellavista Penthouse Suite, looks out on Rome with floor-to-ceiling windows, which can be fully opened. The redesign of the Eden’s restaurants and spa drew on traditional Italian craftsmanship as inspiration.
New to the 128-year-old hotel is the Eden Spa, with a range of holistic wellness experiences and therapies from Sonya Dakar and Officina Profumo - Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. The new urban spa features three suites and a blow-dry bar, as well as a manicure and pedicure suite. Hotel Eden’s three fully refurbished and equipped meeting rooms have been enhanced to cater to various group sizes and events.
The historic Pulitzer Amsterdam, set within the 400-year-old Golden Age canal house buildings, reopened late last summer after an extensive makeover. The renovations stripped away the hotel’s former modern influences to re-introduce the hidden historical beauty of site while retaining a contemporary style. The hotel, a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts LVX Collection, has 225 guestrooms and five one-of-a-kind suites, the new Jansz restaurant and Pulitzer’s Bar, a refreshed alfresco café overlooking the Pause at Pulitzer, a gym, library, in-house flower shop, and gardens on site, complete with an adult swing.