World Of Watches

Hotel de Crillon Reveals Breathtaking Makeover

Steeped in 18th century history and a favourite of the world’s elite, Hotel de Crillon in Paris reopens to reveal a stunning 21st century makeover

Jul 10, 2017 | By Shermian Lim

Bar Les Ambassadeurs. Photos: Rosewood

Few hotels can lay claim to the tremendous historical significance like Hotel de Crillon. The original building was a stone palace built in 1758 and has gone through various reincarnations in terms of function: dukes made it their private home at different time periods, and the French-American Treaty, which recognised the establishment of the United States, was signed here. When the French Revolution swept King Louis IV from power, that stone palace stood as a silent witness to the beheading of the king and his wife Marie Antoinette as it took place on the Place de la Concorde, directly in front of the building. (Ironically, it was the king who commissioned the building.)

Hotel de Crillon’s 18th century, neoclassical facade

The palace was converted into a luxury hotel in 1909 and has filled its guest book with a long list of distinguished names since then. Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt, Emperor Hirohito, Sophia Loren, Andy Warhol and Madonna have all stayed here, whilst the likes of Bruce Willis and his daughter Scout danced at the Bal des Débutantes, which was hosted there for two decades in the Marie Antoinette suite. Despite the history and the splendour, Hôtel de Crillon in the 21st century was due for an update. The hotel closed in 2013 for a no-expense spared renovation that would create an elegant and contemporary home setting, without diminishing its 18th century allure.

The new lobby’s ceiling is raised by three feet to add more space and allow natural light to fill the room

Fast forward to 2017, the hotel reopened on July 5 to much fanfare. French craftsmanship and heritage is prominently showcased in the hotel’s 124 rooms, where guests will find Lalique taps, gold-and-crystal Baccarat decanters, and Lesage embroidery. Room rates begin at approximately RM6,130 per night, whilst The Les Grands Appartements designed by Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld, can be booked for about RM148,000 per night.

Restored chandeliers, gold and marble fittings and frescoed ceilings feature prominently in common spaces, and the once dimly lit lobby is now bathed in natural light due to a raised ceiling. An entirely new floor was dug underground to create space for elite spa services, including a men’s barbershop, shoe polishing as you enjoy the comfort of an authentic 1960s Aston Martin seat. There’s also a private garden and a skylight pool. The hotel’s former restaurant Les Ambassadeurs, now reincarnated as a bar, will nicely satisfy your libation cravings; and at the very limited-seating L’Ecrin, Michelin-starred chef Christopher Hache’s 7- or 12-course menu is sure to delight. That is, if you can get a reservation in advance. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Hotel de Crillon’s renovation in numbers:

17,000 cubic meters: the volume of earth removed from the two basement levels when workers dug beneath the historic site, notably to create a pool and spa with an accompanying skylight.

RM6,000: the starting price of the 78 rooms in the luxury hotel, which also has 36 suites and 10 signature suites. The famous Bernstein Suite costs €25,000 per night.

17,600: the number of mosaics used to line the swimming pool in the Crillon spa, a highly anticipated feature of the refurbished hotel.

30,000: the number of marble petals used in the corridor flooring. They were all laid individually, by hand.

60,000: the number of gold leaves used to decorate various spaces in Hôtel de Crillon. These too were applied one by one.

53: different varieties of marble chosen for use in the interior decorations.

RM44,000: the price of the bed of composer Léonard Bernstein, an artist who regularly stayed at Hôtel de Crillon, and who gave his name to the famous suite. The establishment auctioned a collection of furnishings in 2013 when it closed for refurbishment.

RM980,000: the amount fetched at auction by the hotel’s “César” bar, now owned by a modern art collector in Northern Europe. This piece of furniture was estimated at €12,000.

4,700: the number of people required to carry out the hotel’s renovations.

16,740 square meters: the total area of the renovation site at Hôtel de Crillon, which started in March 2013. Work has been carried out on seven levels.

(Numbers source: AFPRelaxnews)

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