Hôtel de Crillon, Paris - hotel review: from dated to dazzling

Mary Lussiana
View from Suite Bernstein

Where is it

In the very heart of Paris, on the magnificent, 18th century, Place de la Concorde, neighbouring the Champs-Élysées and the Tuileries Garden, you'll find Hôtel de Crillon.

Charles de Gaulle airport is less than a 40 minute drive away, but long enough to wallow in the serious luxury of one of the hotel’s Mercedes-Maybachs.

Style

This has been the very epitome of style since 1758 when it was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel as one of two French Neoclassical palaces flanking the capital’s largest square, Place de la Concorde. Its listed façade includes sculptures by Coustou and an impressive Corinthian colonnade, creating an entrance that even the grandest of Paris’s other hotels cannot compete with. The palace became a hotel in 1909 and was frequented over the decades by the great and the good from Diaghilev to Charlie Chaplin to Leonard Bernstein. With exteriors which already ticked new management team Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, guiding philosophy, A Sense of Place, four years were spent to ensure interiors followed suit and when the doors were swung open in July 2017 the brilliance of the transformation from dated to dazzling was evident.

The renovation was led by architect Richard Martinet, and interiors were created under the artistic direction of Aline Asmar d’Amman, who, with three other, Paris-based, interior designers, created that most difficult of things – a luxury property, gilded and grand, yet accessible to all; history and heritage writ large but beating with a 21st century soul. Marble, forty different types, and minerals play a large part in the décor – witness the amethyst Mica stone which clads the walls in the Jardin d’Hiver. The Les Ambassadeurs Bar just inside the main door where the restaurant used to be is the perfect example of how the hotel has transformed its heritage. Its famous, gold-framed, cerulean ceiling, a registered landmark, was restored and reinterpreted anew with the ancient chandeliers draped in chains, a starkly modern, gold foil chandelier suspended over the bar, dim light, live music, affordable cocktails and tout Paris.

Facilities

The Lobby

New additions to the hotel include a La Cave, which holds the hotel’s impressive collection of fine wines and offers private food and wine pairing dinners and L’Etincelle, an exclusive gentleman’s club where rare cigars, preserved in a walk-in humidor can be enjoyed. Wellness, central to the Rosewood concept, is represented with a long heated, swimming pool, glinting with the 17, 600 gold scales it has been lined with, surrounded on two sides by a mural from ceramicist Peter Lane. A Fitness Studio and Sense, a Rosewood Spa, with products which draw on exquisite, small French brands such as the highly nourishing Kos are accompanied by a Hair Salon by David Lucas and for the men, Barber by La Barbière de Paris.

Food & Drink

For all day dining, the Brasserie d’Aumont, offers quintessentially Parisian fare. Try the oysters ‘Ile Callot’; the melt-in-the-mouth pâté en croûte or the sole meunière. Breakfast is served here too, with excellent scrambled eggs with truffle and an invigorating ‘better than botox’ juice of beetroot, aloe vera, apple, cucumber, pomegranate and mint. Light dishes from beef tartar to lobster salad are served at the bar, but serious gourmands should head to L’Ecrin. Hidden in the heart of the hotel, this tiny, candlelit, mirrored room yields a succession of culinary delights from the signature ‘champignon de Paris’ of Chef Christopher Hache, paired with a Pu’er Tea to the humble celery, barbecued, and served brimming with intensity.

Restaurant Brasserie d’Aumont

Extra-curricular

Whether you turn right or left out of the door, the delights of Paris are on your doorstep. La Grand Palais exhibition centre is a ten minute walk and normally hosting something of interest. A few minutes nearer is the relatively new, and utterly fascinating, Grand Musée du Parfum. Housed in an 18th century mansion it is part science museum; part learning museum with an interactive didactic display at its centre. For shoppers, the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré is just next door.

Which room

There are 78 rooms, 36 suites and 10 signature suites to chose from, all with a carefully curated selection of Parisian objets d’art, books on the city and a token model of the Citroën DS so loved by Presidents of yesteryear. Nespresso machines are clad in leather, cocktails come ready mixed and even headier are the deliciously fragrant Buly 1803 soaps and shampoos in their retro 19th century packaging.

The Leonard Bernstein suite has a huge terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower

Beds come wrapped in the softest linens, the finest duck down and lights and USB sockets exactly where you want them. Bathrooms gleam in Parisian grey marble. Avoid rooms looking out onto the internal courtyard and splash out on the full Place de la Concorde view whether it be one of the two ‘Grands Apartements’ designed by Karl Lagerfeld or the Leonard Bernstein suite with its huge terrace looking across to the Eiffel Tower.

Best for

A serious treat; a proposal, an anniversary, an apology, a gesture or a ‘just because it’s Friday’ and …Paris is always a good idea.

When to go

Winter for the Christmas lights and the chocolat chaud or Spring when grey skies part to dapple Paris with a bit of sunlight.

Details

Doubles from €1,110 per room inclusive of breakfast.

Hôtel de Crillon, 10, Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris, France.