After a four-year closure, this hotel icon is ready to welcome guests.
There’s no place quite like the Hôtel de Crillon, a storied 18th-century Parisian palace and luxury hotel which reopens its doors Wednesday after a four-year closure.
Charlie Chaplin, Andy Warhol, and Madonna have slept here. Marie Antoinette took piano lessons in a private salon within these storied walls.
The Crillon’s history stretches back centuries, to when Louis XV commissioned architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel to construct the palace’s neoclassical facade along the Place de La Concorde. In the 1770s, a private home was built behind the facade, with its Corinthian colonnade and Coustou sculptures. In 1778, the Duc de Crillon acquired the home, and his descendants would live here until 1909, when the building was turned into an opulent hotel.
A who’s who of royalty and celebrity would check in over the ensuing decades, and the Crillon reigned supreme in the Paris hotel scene.
But as tastes changed and big luxury brands like Mandarin Oriental, Raffles, and Shangri-La opened their more modern outposts in the City of Light, it was clear that the Crillon needed a facelift (and central air conditioning) to keep up with the times.
Other Parisian grande dames, like the Ritz, were feeling the need to renovate, too. And so in March 2013, the Crillon closed, and, under the guidance of new management by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, embarked upon a massive restoration. Architect Richard Martinet was tasked with reimagining the Crillon while still preserving and honoring its heritage, since the facade and grand receptions on the second floor are classified landmarks.
Four Parisian designers — Tristan Auer, Chahan Minassian, Cyril Vergniol, and Aline Asmar d’Ammam — were brought in to do the interiors, which feel lighter and brighter than before. In order to maximize space, the room count dropped from 147 to 124 (that includes 36 suites and 10 signature suites). Each of the spacious quarters, which are done in subtle grey and neutral tones and feature marble bathrooms, is designed to feel like a chic Parisian apartment. Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld reimagined Les Grandes Apartments, two palatial suites on the fourth floor floor. Some of his design touches include personal photographs of his cat, Choupette, and a stunning black-and-white Carrera marble bathroom with a two-ton bathtub.
Other additions to the hotel include a new spa, Sense; a subterranean swimming pool with a mural by ceramicist Peter Lane; and a new fine-dining restaurant, L’Ecrin, which seats just 22 people in the Salon des Citronniers.
The old fine-dining restaurant, Les Ambassadeurs, is now a 60-seat bar off the lobby, featuring music and craft cocktails. The lobby ceiling was raised by three feet and separate sitting areas were created in order to encourage lounging and conversation.
All in all, Crillon loyalists will still find much to love and much that’s familiar, including the amethyst chandeliers and the Baccarat decanters. But with these additional modern touches, the hotel is now ready to welcome a new generation of guests in the decades to come.