Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel reopened in Paris in July following a reported $300 million renovation, and we say now is the time to revisit the City of Light. Beyond the eternally delicious fashion and food, enticements include a happening cultural calendar, the newly pedestrianized riverside quays on the right bank, and the never-been-hotter hotel scene.
Could there really be a hotel reopening as hyped as the Ritz? The answer is a decisive, “oui.” The Hôtel de Crillon emerged from a reconstruction that created virtually a completely new property. In fact, Crillon groupies who visit the hotel won’t recognize the lobby, which is a series of elegant salon-style rooms, intimate in size. Builders excavated deep underground in order to add a spa and sparkling swimming pool lit from above by a skylight in the courtyard garden.
The Hôtel de Crillon is now under the auspices of Rosewood, whose brand mission is to reflect the soul of a place. Here, the focus is the “French art of living,” explains General Manager Marc Raffray. Case in point: Hugo Matha designed the chic staff uniforms; landscape architect Louis Benech did the courtyards and chef Christopher Hache oversees the restaurant, L’Ecrin. There’s more: Karl Lagerfeld conceived two top suites (Les Grands Appartements) and Buly — the 200-year-old French brand — customized the bath amenities.
In a highly competitive luxury hotel market — with 10 classified “palace” hotels and where the Four Seasons Hotel George V just opened a “five Michelin-star courtyard” for dining — how does the Crillon stand out? Insiders say it’s in the spaces you won’t find anywhere else, such as the barber shop, an outpost of the trendy La Barbière de Paris, and shoe-care service where you can sink into an Aston Martin chair with a cognac while your shoes are buffed.
Les Grands Appartements, situated on the fourth floor of the Crillon, have been designed by Karl Lagerfeld.
Our favorite new addition is Les Ambassadeurs bar, which is reason alone to stop by the Crillon and is already a hot spot for Parisians. What to imbibe: The #10isgoing is one of the most popular cocktails, made with rum, Velvet Falernum, orange bitters, pineapple and raspberry. Or follow those-in-the-know and order “Les Ambassadeurs” — a signature Port and Grand Marnier-based cocktail that isn’t on the menu.
On a recent visit leading up to Paris Design Week, the hotel was positively buzzing. All seats were taken in the Jardin d’Hiver and the Brasserie d’Aumont, where menu classics include smoked beef tartare and oysters, which are served at the bar. Head Concierge Olivier Cambournac (formerly at The Peninsula Paris) talked with guests around the specially designated “calendar table,” where coffee table books illustrate cultural events now taking place in Paris (like the Christian Dior exhibit at Les Arts Décoratifs). The lobby is punctuated with lovely fresh flower arrangements by florist Djordje Varda, and cases of pretty pâtisserie. In Paris, pastry chefs are revered like haute couture designers, their creations ogled like fine jewelry behind glass. (Some of our favorite examples? The gems by Yann Couvreur and Le Meurice’s Cédric Grolet.) At the Crillon, we love the “obelisk”-themed sweet by Executive Pastry Chef Jérôme Chaucesse. It pays homage to the famous Egyptian obelisk that stands tall outside on the Place de la Concorde.
Jardin d’Hiver at the Crillon is famous for savory and desserts created by Chef Jérôme Chaucesse.
Other star attractions include the Hair Salon by David Lucas, a celebrity Parisian stylist, and Sense, a Rosewood Spa. Overseen by Director Sophie Demaret, the spa seeks to revive ancient French beauty rituals with “Lost Remedies” like the “19th-century French detoxification.” There are also a number of “Sense Journeys” like the “World Class Traveler,” which starts with a foot bath in essential oils and includes a full-body treatment and acupressure head massage.
Hôtel Le Crillon, the grande dame on the Place de la Concorde, is a long-time favorite of American clientele, not just because of its storied history, but also because of its proximity to the American embassy, a few steps away. Booking Tips: Of the 78 rooms, 36 suites and 10 signature suites, the Grande Premier room category has been most requested. In addition to the Karl Lagerfeld suites, the crème de la crème are the Marie Antoinette suites and the Louis XV, which has a terrace overlooking the Place de la Concorde. For VIPs, reach out to the Director of Sales Pauline Ehrhart (reservations: 011-080-554-2627).
The Nolinski Paris’ Suite Josephine is situated on the fifth floor and decorated with works of art and custom-made furniture.
Another new favorite on the Paris hotel scene is the Nolinski, a five-star residence that opened in July 2016 on the Avenue de l’Opéra. If Nolinski existed, he’d be the kind of guy you’d place front and center at your dinner party: a cultured aesthete who can spin tales of global adventures and charm even the stodgiest guest. Named for this fictional personage, the hotel radiates impeccable taste, from the décor by design darling Jean-Louis Deniot to the covetable in-room amenities like dringme smart phones. (Guests get free calls, and all of their history is erased when they check out. The touch of a button gets you the concierge or a taxi.)
At Nolinski’s 506-square-foot Deluxe Suite, the bedroom and living room are separated by mirror doors.
Nolinski Paris is the first property from Evok Hôtels, a new brand from French industrial magnate Pierre Bastid. This is a group to watch: From luxe chalets in Courchevel to a Philippe Starck-designed flagship opening in the 16th arrondissement next year, Evok is actively scouting real estate in New York and London. Nolinksi offers 45 guestrooms, decked out in Carrara marble and cool custom furniture. Perched on the fifth floor, Suite Josephine can be connected to the neighboring rooms and suites to make a divine private apartment. Nice Perk: The suite’s D-Vine wine machine pours a perfectly aerated glass of wine without the pop of a cork. Madeleine Sadin ([email protected]) is the deputy general director; for VIP bookings, reserve at [email protected]
Spa Nolinski by La Colline has an array of treatments to revitalize the body and mind.
Nolinski isn’t just a visual feast; this first arrondissement location puts you just a cobblestone’s throw from the Palais-Royal for convenient vintage shopping at Didier Ludot. You can see the gilded Palais Garnier opera house from your room, but quadruple-glazed windows mean you’re completely insulated from the traffic below. And if you’re out carousing all night with Le Tout-Paris, Nolinski will cure your hangover with the “lendemain de fête” breakfast and a treatment by Swiss brand La Colline in the subterranean spa. Reach out to Spa Director Lucas Sadej ([email protected]; 011-330-142-861-010) for assistance in choosing between the cutting-edge treatments.
Fun Fact: The Réjane brasserie has become a beloved neighborhood institution — packed for lunch and dinner — and now it also has an épicerie for gourmet take-out items.
Hotel National des Arts et Métiers is a new design-centric hotel generating a lot of buzz for its rooftops.
Mark your calendars for the reopening of the Lutetia, regarded as “the palace on the Rive Gauche.” The historic hotel facing Le Bon Marché department store is expected to reopen later this year after a complete overhaul. It’s owned by The Set Hotels group, also behind Hotel Café Royal in London and the Conservatorium in Amsterdam. They’ve appointed Jean-Luc Cousty, previously at the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, as general manager.
Jacques’ Bar at The Hoxton serves Moroccan-inspired drinks devised by local cocktail experts.
Looking for a happening place to have a night cap in Paris? Two new design-centric hotels are getting lots of buzz for their bars. Sister to the Bachaumont Hotel, the Hotel National des Arts et Métiers has one of the best rooftops in town, while The Hoxton — which was one of the city’s most Instagrammed spots when it opened in late August — has a speakeasy called Jacques’ bar. In this Morocco-themed space, order up a Tikiztate cocktail, concocted with tequila altos, pineapple juice and ras el-hanout, or try the Jacques Snapper, a gin-based drink accented with harissa.
Based in Washington D.C. and affiliated with Virtuoso, Sari Greene specializes in luxury and family travel. In Paris, she says, “Four Seasons Hotel George V is always a huge client favorite, the personal service they give my clients is always above and beyond. Recently, I’ve loved booking in the St. Germain neighborhood — clients enjoy the small boutique hotels [Hôtel Bel Ami and Esprit St Germain are recent favorites] and the sense of being in “real Paris.”
“With all of the amazing food in Paris, a food tour [with a company like Context] is my favorite way to explore the city — whether a private tour with exclusive access to some of the best chefs’ kitchens in the city or a small-group Chocolate and Macaron tour. I love the food tour because they usually incorporate some history and culture in addition to getting to eat the best food in the city!”