Hôtel de Crillon: Inside The Parisian Hotel’s US$300 Million Renovation
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.”
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.
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.”
Marie Antoinette was here
The Crillon, which spans three buildings, dates back to 1755, when architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel was commissioned to build a backdrop to an equestrian statue of Louis XV on a plaza that would later become Place de la Concorde.
The Corinthian colonnade was completed in 1758 and soon recognised as a masterpiece of neoclassical architecture. Around then, another architect, Louis-François Trouard, acquired the land behind the portico to build an opulent private mansion.
It was on the plaza that Louis XVI married Marie Antoinette in 1770. A few years later, the queen began frequenting the mansion for piano lessons in a first-floor salon that today bears her name. Twenty-three years later, she was guillotined right outside, on what was to be named Place de la Concorde three years later, in 1795.
Pampered like Parisian royalty
Brand new features to the property include a stunning guest-only skylit heated pool, lined with tiles decorated with gold leaf by American artist Peter Lane. Swimmers look through a glass ceiling to a cloistered garden that was previously a derelict, unused courtyard.
Other recreational facilities include a state-of-the-art fitness studio and Sense, A Rosewood Spa—the hotel group's award-winning signature spa brand—which offers luxurious treatments including massages, facials and body treatments. The services of a shiatsu master, a naturopath and an osteopath are also available upon request.
Hotel de Crillon, 10 Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris, France, https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/hotel-de-crillon
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