The historic Hôtel de Crillon is primed to reclaim its place as the centre of gravity of Parisian high society. Here are five things to know about the hotel after its opulent four-year renovation:
Photo: Courtesy of Hotel de Crillon
1. The lavish US$300 million makeover
in 2012, two years after a Saudi royal bought the property and Rosewood Hotels & Resorts took over its management, a no-expenses-spared refurbishment was announced to be overseen by architect Richard Martinet alongside artistic director Aline Asmar d’Amman. Interior designers Chahan Minassian, Cyril Vergniol and Tristan Auer were brought onboard, as well as historian Brice Payen.
Martinet and his team employed 250 master craftsmen and 147 artisans to inject new life into the landmark, painstakingly balancing conservation and transformation. The result is an exercise in contemporary grandeur, but with the original soul of the Crillon very much at the centre of it.
“We wanted to give our guests the feeling that they are taking part in French history,” says Marc Raffray, the hotel’s managing director, “and experiencing the true art de vivre à la Française.”
Photo: Courtesy of CCP Luxury
2. There are two suites designed by Karl Lagerfeld
Legendary tastemaker Karl Lagerfeld was commissioned to redesign two of the hotel’s most prestigious suites, Les Grands Appartements.
“Mr Lagerfeld is an 18th-century interiors and architecture expert,” says Martinet, “so his design scheme blended perfectly with the rest of the hotel.” Mixing historical elements with his own signature aesthetic, Lagerfeld decorated the apartments in a soft shade of grey, adding classic mouldings, statues and photographs he had taken himself.
A powder room has original sinks from Versailles, while the bedrooms feature opulent baldachin beds. A living area is lit by a chandelier hung with crystals hand-picked by Lagerfeld, and its carved wooden walls were painted seven times and sanded down to reach the visual depth Lagerfeld demanded. A two-tonne bathtub of black-and-white Carrera marble is eminently Instaworthy in its lavishness.
Jardin d'Hiver at Hotel de Crillon (Photo: Courtesy of Hotel de Crillon)
3. A series of opulent spaces
As you enter Hotel de Crillon, rather than a grand lobby, you’ll find a succession of smaller, intimate public spaces unfolding. From Jardin d’Hiver, where guests can meet for afternoon tea, to a relaxed nook where concierges sit with clients on velvet sofas, to Brasserie d’Aumont, a casual restaurant with a crudo bar that’s consistently packed for lunch.
Further back, the Hair Salon by David Lucas sits beside a men’s grooming room offering shaves by La Barbière de Paris and professional shoeshines in vintage Aston Martin car seats.
The first floor’s Salon Marie-Antoinette, Salon des Aigles and Salon des Batailles, which all look out to Place de la Concorde, are as Versailles-worthy as ever but have been redesigned with new furnishings
Each is patronised by both international clients and Paris natives. “We wanted to create a modern-day palace,” muses Martinet, “a place that would honour the hotel’s history while being firmly rooted in the 21st century.”