Just a two months ago—July 5, to be precise—Hôtel de Crillon reopened its doors after four years of renovation.
Work was originally estimated to only take two years, but given the restrictions around refurbishing listed sites accompanied by the magnitude of the project (including the need to dig two floors underground to accommodate the new spa and pool), things understandably took a little longer, and it was certainly worth the wait.
The storied landmark was commissioned by Louis XV in 1758 and served as private residence until it was transformed into a hotel in 1909. Fast-forward to just over a century later and the property was purchased by Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz in 2010, who then shuttered the Crillon in 2013 for its much needed face lift. There was previously a lack of central air conditioning, and with 104 years of people—albeit upper-echelon guests—walking in and out without any sort of large-scale restoration, it was bound to lose its je ne sais quoi, if you will, just like any other historical building. In turn, no expense was spared when the ambitious task began, bringing in four Paris-based interior designers (Tristan Auer, Chahan Minassian, Cyril Vergniol and Aline Asmar d’Amman) to work with talented artisans. The goal? To embrace the Crillon’s legacy, enhancing its 18th-century furnishings, while bringing the hotel into the 21st century.
But what is it like to actually stay at the Crillon? The Signature Suites are undoubtedly the ultimate prize. The Bernstein, named after the composer who was once a frequent guest, is the largest, outfitted with a wraparound terrace that boasts incredible vistas of the Eiffel Tower and Grand Palais. Then there’s the Marie-Antoinette, decorated in blush and taupe tones, with rose gold faucets and vases of pink roses scattered throughout. You can even book the suite to include the adjacent salon, which is named after the former French Queen and where she once took her piano lessons. (The neighboring Salon des Aigles witnessed the signings of the 1778 French-American treaty recognizing the Declaration of Independence as well as the 1919 covenant of the League of Nations.)
And as exquisite as the aforementioned suites are, one can’t talk about the Crillon’s accommodations without mentioning the two Grands Appartements by Karl Lagerfeld. The legendary designer was asked to contribute to the project due to his affinity for 18th-century antiques. (Funnily enough, he had even purchased a model of the Crillon at a Christie’s auction several decades ago.) His photographic work is displayed throughout and powder rooms in both feature a red marble fountain from the hotel’s original courtyard, which has now been refashioned as a sink. However, the larger of the two has a Lagerfeld-curated library and a bright bathroom with a massive tub carved out of a single block of Carrera marble, weighing in at two tons and with direct views of the Place de la Concorde. To go the extra mile, you can combine these two suites with the adjoining Choupette room—designed with Lagerfeld’s cat in mind, it’s the smallest in the hotel, but absolutely the cutest—for a three-bedroom flat.
Extravagant suites aside, even the standard amenities throughout all 124 rooms (decreased from 147) are commendable. Beauty fanatics will thoroughly appreciate the bespoke Buly 1803 bath toiletries. Mini bars are stocked with Alain Milliat juices, La Mortuacienne lemonade, and custom-bottled Avantgarde Spirits cocktails (of note is the one marked 10, representative of the hotel’s address and aptly named Les Ambassadeurs). Even the Nespresso machine is encased in leather, with an accompanying Cristolfe container holding coffee pods and tea packets. Plush robes with checkered detailing on the cuffs and hood are ridiculously delightful, as are the slippers that will make your feet feel like that of a bunny’s. And we can’t forget the divine beds, enrobed with fluffy Drouault duvets and pillows that ensure a good night’s rest.
Needless to say, this is one of Paris’s best hotels. Not just because of its head-to-toe makeover or its historic past, but because everything falls in line from the second you step in to the painstaking moment you must depart. An icon has truly been reborn. More