AN ICON REBORN
The reopened Hôtel de Crillon preserves its historic legacy within a bold new look that’s unmistakably modern
In an inspiring showcase of French craftsmanship and savoir faire, the Hôtel de Crillon—which reopened in July 2017 after a four-year facelift— masterfully balances its 18th-century heritage with state-of-the-art luxuries.
When the hotel closed its doors in 2013 for extensive renovations, two key principles guided the project: the conservation of the hotel’s history and classified landmarks, and its transformation into a modern palace for the 21st century. The building dates back to 1758 as a façade built by famed architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel, who was commissioned by Louis XV to beautify the Place de la Concorde—where the French Revolution reached its bloody climax just a few decades later. With the addition of surrounding buildings, it became a luxurious private residence before opening as a hotel in 1909.
The architect Richard Martinet, who specialises in the restoration of historical properties, led the meticulous 21st-century revamp, with special attention paid to the hotel’s protected heritage monuments— including the Corinthian-columned façade and trio of remarkable salons, whose six-metre-high ceilings, gilded pilasters and cornices date back to 1776. Aligning itself with the expectations of today’s discerning traveller, the hotel, part of the prestigious Rosewood portfolio, also needed a revitalised look and attitude. And if it had to break tradition—plus a few walls—in order to achieve that, then so be it. “We want this iconic hotel to offer something different and very
Parisian,” says General Manager, Marc Raffray. “We have to break the codes, deconstruct them and make things fresh.”
To transform the outdated interiors into a modern haven of luxury—channelling the look of a chic Parisian residence rather than a hotel—artistic director Aline d’Amman enlisted the talents of four designers, each responsible for particular areas. Tristan Auer took charge of most of the public spaces, such as the new men’s grooming area featuring leather chairs fashioned from vintage Aston Martin seats, and the main lobby, where he raised the ceiling by one metre for a more spacious feel. Chahan Minassian oversaw the brand-new subterranean swimming pool and spa level (which required digging two floors deep), as well as three of the four F&B outlets, converting Les Ambassadeurs from a fine dining restaurant to a buzzy cocktail bar to draw in the locals.
Cyril Vergniol tackled the corridors and 114 guest rooms, filling them with contemporary furniture, mirrored bars, curated books, and objets d’art. The total number of rooms was also reduced from 147 to 124, allowing more space for the brand’s 10 signature suites. Lastly, Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld was commissioned to design two of these exceptional suites, named Les Grands Appartements. His lavish residences are outfitted with pastel-toned bespoke furnishings, two-tonne marble bathtubs, textured dove-grey walls and design work by some of the same artisans enlisted for Lagerfeld’s own Parisian home.
“Every single detail has been thought out by the designers to maintain this respect for the past, while giving it something of this century,” says Raffray. “It brings life back to these monumental rooms.” With a total team of 147 artisans and craftsmen working to bring the vision to life, the end result is a palatial property fit for royalty, yet equally appealing to hip Parisians and refined travellers alike. A living testament to the French art de vivre, today’s Hôtel de Crillon embodies a contemporary spirit that never forgets its historic soul. hotel-de-crillon.com
THIS PAGE The Marie Antoinette suite was inspired by the French queen
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT Once an unused space, the Cour D’Honneur is now a verdant space that offers plenty of shade; the hotel’s swimming pool features 17,600 mosaic tiles
ABOVE IT ALL In the Les Ambassadeurs bar, the vaulted ceiling is a protected landmark that was modernised with the addition of a dramatic cloudscape. The 18th-century chandeliers have been draped with chains for a cool, edgy aesthetic.