Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.
Today: Review of Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel (Paris, France)
Originally built in 1758, Hôtel de Crillon enjoys an unrivaled position overlooking Place de la Concorde. The property reopened in 2018 as a Rosewood Hotel after undergoing an extensive four-year restoration, its past providing a rich backdrop for its modern-day story. During the hotel’s closure, master craftsmen, artisans and designers worked tirelessly to strike a deliberate and delicate balance between conservation and transformation. The hotel’s 78 rooms, 36 suites and 10 signature suites embody a residential style that is equally warm and refined. Hôtel de Crillon also features fine dining venues, a lovely swimming pool area, and an intimate spa.
Hôtel de Crillon features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Paris.
Have you ever stayed at Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Surrounded by many of Paris’ top sites, Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel, enjoys an unrivalled location in the heart of the French capital. The property is housed in a historic building on the north side of the iconic Place de la Concorde, between the Champs-Elysees on one side and the Tuileries gardens on the other (the latter leading to the Louvre, which is an easy stroll from the hotel). The Roman temple-style La Madeleine is just around the corner from the hotel and the famous Place Vendome with its bas-relief column and luxury jewelries is 10 minutes away on foot. Whether you’re a Paris regular or a newbie, there’s something magical and surreal about staying on the famous Place de la Concorde in a historic mansion, where Queen Marie Antoinette used to spend her afternoons relaxing and taking piano lessons.
- Hôtel de Crillon is more than just one of the world’s most fabulous hotels; it’s also a timeless Parisian landmark with an illustrious history. In 1758, King Louis XV commissioned the greatest architect of his day, Ange-Jacques Gabriel, to build twin structures overlooking Place de la Concorde. The result was a masterpiece of 18th century architecture. Behind one of the façades rose a sumptuous private residence decorated by the era’s finest artists and craftsmen. Long owned by the illustrious family of the Counts of Crillon, this private mansion was transformed into a palace hotel in 1909 under the impulse of architect Walter-André Destailleur and attracted an exceptional clientele, including royalty and heads of state. Since then, the hotel has been bought by varying financial groups, the ultimate acquisitor being a member of the Saudi royal family.
- After the hotel officially opened in 1909, it immediately began to welcome the caliber of guests its owners had long aspired to host, including royalties, heads of state and celebrities drawn to the City of Light. General John J. Pershing, Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson all stayed here during their visits to Paris. Prime Minister David Lloyd George of Britain met numerous foreign delegates at the Hôtel de Crillon, eventually drafting the covenant of the League of Nations in one of the hotel’s salons. Politics aside, Charlie Chaplin, Queen Sofia of Spain, Orson Welles, Bette Davis, Sophia Loren, Madonna, and more were considered regulars of the hotel. In 1989, composer Leonard Bernstein penned: “What a pleasure being once again on my terrace over Place de la Concorde,” in the hotel’s guestbook.
- In March 2013, Hôtel de Crillon closed its doors to embark on a 4-year long, € 200 million renovation to further enhance the majesty and elegance of this exceptional establishment, while conserving the spirit of its prestigious 18th-century edifice. Under the guidance of renowned conservation architect Richard Martinet, the artistic director Aline Asmar d’Amman and four Paris-based decorators – Chahan Minassian, Cyril Vergniol, Culture in Architecture and Tristan Auer – have created a rich tapestry of eclectic, art-driven spaces. Elegantly embodying the spirit of Paris, the property reopened in 2018 as a Rosewood Hotel with interiors that have retained the historic soul and gilded style that its well-heeled regulars so love, while bringing in all the necessary comforts for 21st century travelers.
- Designed to captivate and dazzle generations of visitors, the palace’s architecture is among the finest examples of French Neoclassical style, with the perfectly proportioned façade being the building’s centerpiece and hotel’s dominant image. Comprised of Corinthian colonnade and Coustou sculptures, the Neoclassical façade was commissioned by Louis XV in 1755 as a backdrop to a statue of himself on horseback in the Place de la Concorde. Today, the facade is one of Paris’ most recognizable spots and a registered historic landmark. Remarkably, the magnificent façade has stood through the reigns of two French kings, the French Revolution (Queen Marie Antoinette was guillotined directly in front of the building), the rise and fall of the Napoleonic Empire, and the birth of the League of Nations.
- Behind the imposing façade is the hotel’s magnificent lobby, which comprises several grand salons arranged around a beautiful internal courtyard. The lobby and adjoining salons feature a showstopping interior, with a blend of contemporary and traditional design elements such as amethyst chandeliers and crystal Baccarat decanters. A neutral color palette of immaculately polished marble floors and arching sandstone walls playfully contrasts with sumptuous floral compositions by the hotel’s famous florist Djordje Varda. Every inch of the lobby oozes with resplendence and grandeur, yet the place still feels intimate and private. For example, there’s no imposing front desk here, rather a sit-down reception area located in a separate salon next to the hotel entrance (in-room check-ins are also available).
- Hôtel de Crillon’s 78 rooms and 36 suites offer a contemporary sophistication that respects the landmark’s 18th century heritage. Rooms and suites are elegantly decorated with a mix of bespoke furnishings, beautiful antiques and carefully chosen “objets d’art” that underscore an exceptional attention to detail. During my visit, I was upgraded to a lovely Deluxe Suite. Mirroring the heritage and charm of a Parisian residence, the suite was designed in a quintessentially French style. It offered a separate living room, spacious bedroom with kingsize bed (dressed in Rivolta Carmignani Italian linens) and large marble bathroom featuring a walk-in rain shower, bathtub, two sinks, underfloor heating, bespoke toiletries, and TVs hidden in the mirrors.
- The 10 signature suites are the crown jewels of Hôtel de Crillon, and figure among the very finest accommodations in Paris. The Suite Louis XV boasts a stunning private terrace that looks out onto Place de la Concorde with views of the Eiffel Tower and Grand Palais, while the Suite Marie-Antoinette suite reflects a feminine spirit with pearl-gray décor and touches of rosy pink. Suite Jardin overlooks the courtyard, Cour d’Honneur, with a private, enclosed terrace. Nestled beneath the Hotel de Crillon’s mansard roof, the Ateliers d’Artistes are three new cozy suites that pay tribute to the bohemian poets and painters who have lived the artist’s life in Paris. Suite Bernstein was named after the famous composer Leonard Bernstein, a regular past hotel guest, while Suiet Duc de Crillon bears the name of the most famous owner of this private mansion.
- Late Paris-based designer Karl Lagerfeld was responsible for the decor of the hotel’s Grand Apartments, a set of two suites and a room on the 4th floor, overlooking Place Concorde. Their walls hang with photographs that the designer shot himself, such as an image of the Palace of Versailles, and then printed on canvas to give them the look of being 18th-century paintings. Lagerfeld tapped into his knowledge of the era the hotel was first designed, mixing historical elements with his own signature aesthetic: moldings, statues and more, all done in the most serene shade of soft gray. And in an over-the-top touch, one of the suites has a white and black marble bathroom with a two-ton bathtub. The two Grands Apartments can be combined together, as can be an adjoining bedroom, offering a three-bedroom apartment.
- Hôtel de Crillon features spaces dedicated to the appearance and well-being of its stylish clientele. A highlight is the indoor swimming pool, which is set in an elegant, aquatic salon featuring a mural work by noted ceramist Peter Lane. Other recreational facilities include a gym and Sense, A Rosewood Spa, Rosewood”s award-wining, signature spa brand. Women can make an appointment at the Hair Salon by David Lucas. A star among the coiffeurs of Paris, Lucas oversees Hôtel de Crillon’s full-service hair salon. The hotel has also partnered with the finest artisans to offer premium men”s grooming services in a chic and eclectic setting at Hôtel de Crillon. At Barber by La Barbière de Paris, beard trimming and hairstyling are overseen by Sarah Daniel Hamizi, a classically trained barber who regularly tops the lists of the city’s best.
- Hôtel de Crillon’s four restaurants and bars are attractions in their own right for both sophisticated Parisians and hotel guests alike.
- Precious as a jewel box, Hôtel de Crillon’s one Michelin starred restaurant L’Ecrin is housed in the intimate 18th century décor of the Salon des Citronniers. Each evening, a mere 22 guests can select one of two menus featuring seven or ten courses.
- A warm and convivial brasserie situated at the heart of the hotel, Brasserie d’Aumont presents an eclectic, quintessentially Parisian atmosphere serving classics traditional dishes with a new look.
- Set in one of Hôtel de Crillon”s most historic spaces, Jardin d”Hiver entices guests with a relaxing ambiance perfect for teatime, post-shopping champagne, or an indulgence in exquisite sweets imagined by Jérôme Chaucesse, Executive Pastry Chef. Chaucesse holds the esteemed title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France, the premier distinction for skill and creativity in the sweet art of pastry-making.
- The 60-seat bar Les Ambassadeurs is the place to see and be seen in Paris. A festive vibe animates the heritage setting (the ceiling is a registered landmark) thanks to live music nightly, meticulously crafted cocktails, and an exclusive carte of prestigious champagnes.
- Since 2018, Hôtel de Crillon is managed by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, one of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands. The Rosewood story began in 1979 when a historic mansion in Dallas, Texas was transformed into an acclaimed world-class hotel – The Mansion on Turtle Creek – whose success was the blueprint for all subsequent Rosewood properties. Today, the group manages a distinctive collection of residential-style hotels across the globe, including famous properties such as The Carlyle (New York) and Las Ventanas al Paraíso (Mexico). Each property delivers a one-of-a-kind ambience and style, in which location, culture, history and geography are part of the fabric of the hotel, reflecting the company’s “Sense of Place” philosophy.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
- Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel, lacks an outdoor space for relaxing, chilling and hanging out (except for the inner courtyard, a small terrace on the Place the la Concorde, and a seasonal rooftop bar). However, that isn’t really an issue since the superb hotel is surrounded by some of city’s best green spots such as the Champs-Elysees gardens (right next to the hotel) and the famous Tuileries gardens (a 5 min stroll from the hotel).
- Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel, is known as the most exclusive 5-star hotel in the French capital, and its rooms, food and spa services are priced according to its stellar reputation. For example, expect to pay 50 euro per person for a continental breakfast (only when breakfast is not included in the room rate). But even though the property is very expensive (and you should know that going in), its prices are similar to what is charged at other ultra-luxury hotels in Paris.
- Hôtel de Crillon offers 13 room categories, and some are better than others, so choose the accommodation that best fits your taste and expectation to make sure you have a memorable stay. For example, some of the entry room categories are courtyard-facing and not as bright as the hotel’s more expensive rooms on the street side. Also, only a handful of suites has a direct view of the Place de la Concorde (although all rooms are equally lovingly furnished and finished).
- Location: 10/10
- Design: 9/10
- Pool: 9/10
- Rooms: 9/10
- Food: 9/10
- Breakfast: 9/10
- Spa: 9/10
- Service: 9/10
- Value for money: 8/10
- Overall experience: exceptional 9,6/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, confirmed 10am check-in/4pm check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage or spa credit).
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Hôtel de Crillon (and/or receive many free perks).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Paris is best visited between April and May (spring) or September through November (autumn), right before or directly after the summertime high tourist season. You’ll contend with fewer tourists, enjoy somewhat mild temperatures (the city’s weather is notoriously finicky), and also experience Paris as the locals do, at its laid-back best.
HOW TO GET THERE
Paris can easily be reached by plane, train or car. For those coming by plane: there are three airports in Paris: Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Beauvais. The two main airports are CDG to the north-east and Orly to the south and both airfields are well connected to the city center, while Paris Beauvais airport is located quite far up north and used by budget airlines.
Below is a selection of my photos of Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel. To view more hotel photos (including meals), click here.
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