To say that the almost 260-year-old Hôtel de Crillon is historic is a massive understatement. Overlooking the Place de la Concorde, the property witnessed France’s recognition of the United States’ Declaration of Independence, the founding of the League of Nations, and countless thrilling Tour de France finishes.
Called the perfect embodiment of Parisian residential style, the 146-room palatial structure closed its doors in 2013 for a massive refurb, its first since it became a hotel in 1909. The 14,000-square-meter property, a member of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, is once again welcoming guests this July. Its managing director, Marc Raffray, talks about the changes that visitors can expect.
It has been said that the renovated property “will honor the past while embrace the future.” Can you elaborate on this?
The rebirth of Hôtel de Crillon is a project that has been approached with profound respect and sensitivity. At the same time, the transformation is a bridge between past and future, 18th century and modern spirit, which will result in a unique guest experience. The hotel will radiate fine French contemporary lifestyle, not only in its design, but in gastronomy, art, and service. The legacy of Hôtel de Crillon has been given a modern interpretation.
Two of the suites were designed by Karl Lagerfeld. Can you tell us more about these suites?
We are very fortunate that Mr. Lagerfeld chose to design two of the hotel’s most prestigious suites or “Les Grands Appartements.” Mr. Lagerfeld is one of the leading connoisseurs of the 18th century. He has combined his knowledge of antiquity, his incredible style and good taste, and appreciation for the finest craftsmanship to help revive history with an edge to this Parisian icon.
What differentiates Hôtel de Crillon from other celebrated hotels in the country?
The heritage of this hotel is truly unique. It occupies a prestigious address that has borne witness to the most significant moments in French history and has hosted world leaders, celebrities, royalty, artists and philosophers in every era. It has always been a living testament to the very best way of life France has to offer. We’re writing a new chapter in its history, the re-opening of the hotel to reveal timeless elegance with an edge.
We are managing a property that is truly one-of-a-kind, a Parisian landmark, located on one of the most beautiful city-squares in the world. These unique selling points are a definite advantage and competitive edge. Its re-opening has been eagerly awaited and its transformation we believe will delight both loyal guests and those new to Paris.
You’ve been working in the industry for many years. How has it changed since you started?
It is no longer enough to provide luxurious surroundings and superior personal service. Sophisticated travelers expect that as given. Now, they are looking for inspirational experiences, authenticity, and a place provides a window into the heart and soul of the destination. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts’ whole philosophy is one of “a sense of place,” which is a concept exquisitely attuned to the desires of modern travelers.