In 2016, all eyes in the luxury travel industry were on reopening of The Ritz Paris, and in 2017 the buzz is all about Hotel de Crillon, another beloved palace hotel gone through a gut renovation. Living up to the buzz, The Crillon opened on July 5, perfectly timed for couture fashion week, making it the place to be among the fashion crowd.
Equally as legendary, The Crillon draws on a fabled history of royalty, celebrities and politicians. Originally commissioned by King Louis XIV to accompany the construction of the royal square Place Louis XIV (now the Place de la Concorde), twin palaces were built side by side by the most prominent architect to the royals at the time, Ange-Jacques Gabriel.
In 1778 one of the palaces became the Hotel de Crillon, a private mansion named after the Duke of Crillon. Marie Antoinette was a frequent guest of the Duke when she came to take piano lessons at the palace, but little did she know she would return to the square a few years later during the French Revolution to face the guillotine.
Purchased from descendants of the Crillon family in 1907 by the Societe du Louvre, the palace was transformed it into a luxury hotel and opened in 1909. The hotel was turned over to the Rosewood Hotel and Resorts Group in 2013 to manage.
Although it was still one of the top booked luxury hotels in Paris, its allure started to fade and the new management decided to renovate and bring the hotel up to 21st century standards. In fact, the hotel did not have central air conditioning before the renovation.
It’s always a delicate balancing act to maintain the old grandeur of a hotel of this stature and also to bring it up to today’s standards. Architect Richard Martinet and artistic director Aline Asmar d’Amman were entrusted to carry out the monumental task, along with three additional Paris-based interior designers Tristan Auer, Chahan Minassian and Cyril Vergniol. The renovation took four years and 147 craftsmen and artisans were employed to assist the designers in reaching their vision.
The hotel now has 81 rooms, 33 suites and 10 signature suites, decorated with bespoke furniture and hand chosen antiques and objets d’art. The signature suites rival other palace hotels as the finest in Paris; The Louis XIV suite has a terrace overlooking the Place de la Concorde with stellar views of the Eiffel Tower and The Grand Palais, and the Marie Antoinette has a feminine approach to the design with hues of rosy pink and pearl gray. Another suite is a tribute to a frequent guest of the hotel, the composer Leonard Bernstein.
Karl Lagerfeld, an expert in 18th century design, was chosen to decorate two suites named The Grand Appartements. They include gorgeous views, Baccarat crystal chandeliers, hand-worked wood panels, a selection of Lagerfeld’s favorite books and walls lined with photos taken by the designer.
Gastronomy plays not only an integral part of the hotel to serve guests but also to attract locals. The jewel of the many dining and drinking venues is L’Ecrin, an intimate dining salon for 28 guests with 18th century décor of the Salon des Citronniers. Michelin-star Chef Christopher Hache spent two years roaming the globe studying different cuisines, collecting new ideas, flavors and ingredients to bring new expertise to formulate his menu. Brasserie d’Aumont is a play on the classic French brasserie with Chef Justin Schmitt preparing an eclectic menu of old favorites in addition to new specialties. Pastry fans will be well rewarded in the historic Jardin d’Hiver with sweet treats by award winning pastry Chef Jérôme Chaucesse.
Les Ambassadeurs could very well be the next best watering hole for craft cocktails and an extensive menu of prestigious Champagnes. The 60-seat bar has a heritage setting with a landmarked ceiling and live music every night. For the discerning wine a connoisseur, Le Cave offers an impressive wine cellar with rare vintages from the beginning of the 20th century.
Pampering comes in many forms at the Crillon; David Lucas, coiffeur to the chicest women in Paris, has a full service salon. Men can be well groomed at the Barber by La Barbière de Paris and shoes can be spiffily shined at Shoecare by Devoirdecourt.
Sense Spa, part of the award winning spa brand from Rosewood, has carefully selected top niche French brands for their guests. EviDenS de Beauté is a line of skin care using a combination of French and Japanese techniques and Maison Caulières for the body. Treatment menu includes a 19th century style detox and A Walk in the French Countryside, ancient recipe by French grandmothers which includes a relaxing and detoxifying Rosemary essential oil footbath to refresh the feet and legs.
A stunning indoor pool dazzles with 17,600 gold mosaic tiles lining the bottom along with mural by noted ceramist Peter Lane.
Who will join the long list of celebrities and artists who make their home Hotel de Crillon in addition to Isadora Duncan, Igor Stravinsky, Diaghilev, Peggy Guggenheim, Charlie Chaplin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Andy Warhol, Leonard Bernstein, and Madonna?
10 Place de la Concorde, 75008