The renowned Hôtel de Crillon, next door to the American Embassy in Paris, has finally completed a four-year renovation! Always considered to be one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the hotel steps forward with a classically subdued mix of 18th-Century elegance and refined, contemporary comfort – including the central air conditioning that many of us consider essential today.
Certainly the Crillon had not fallen into musty disrepair, but catering to those who likely spend the equivalent of a mortgage payment on a night’s stay requires a discerning makeover now and then. No less than 700 people tackled this renovation at a cost undisclosed by representatives of the Saudi Prince who has owned the hotel since 2010.
Changes range from the addition of an indoor pool looking up to a garden, more accessible dining and bar areas, intimate lobby nooks and an overall atmosphere of visiting the manor of an ever-so-well-to-do friend in the heart of Paris. I look forward to stepping through her hallowed doors, as I did over 20 years ago. And THAT is a story worth telling!
During my first visit to Paris, my good friend demonstrated her indefatigable ‘the world is my oyster’ style – a style, I might add, that can leave me quaking! Dressed for a casual walk and a bit sodden with the Paris mist, she insisted we duck into the Crillon for a glance about and a visit to the restroom and gift shop. I balked at the thought with the feeling that such a visit would equal attending an upscale event in jeans and tennis shoes.
No, no, my friend assured me, and we entered … with her darling dog in the lead. A uniformed gentleman nodded with an appropriate smile (I think the dear man rather enjoyed seeing ‘regular people’ entering the distinguished address!) We traversed the marble foyer and descended elegant stairs to the toilette. Then, we enjoyed moments of hushed French-style conversation with the gracious attendant in the gift shop, as we looked among porcelain keepsakes, sumptuous leather goods and feather-light silk scarves. Despite my initial misgivings, the experience was delightful and the welcoming staff as hospitable as the signature service of the hotel would lead a guest to expect.
I later heard about a tourist who had the same thought to take a peek inside, perhaps a good ten years after our adventure. As this lady approached the door, a guard at the front explained that only hotel guests could enter in order to protect the privacy of their guests. I really don’t know if that is the case today, but I feel certain my friend would have the ‘new keys to the Crillon’.
Don’t hesitate to contact S. Sheridan with questions or specific requests!
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