News & Reviews Europe France Review: Hôtel de Crillon, Paris

Hotel de Crillon, Paris
Room type: Premier Suite
Duration: 27th > 28th July, 2018

It’s incredibly unfair to write a review on a stay that lasted 24 hours.  Imagine your entire life being scrutinised on one single day.  Well, this is 2018 and your fifteen minutes of fame don’t come with a gift basket anymore, but a guillotine where you can pull the cord.  So I’ll jump on the bandwagon.  Just how much can a hotel do to impress in that time?  Just how much can they get wrong?  Plenty of both, in fact.  I have never fallen in love with anything in less than 1 day, not even that Tamagotchi egg I nursed for the better part of my childhood, but it is long enough to grow a hatred that will last a lifetime.

For when there is significant hype, there is often significant disappointment.  The hype around the 4-year renovation of Rosewood’s Hotel de Crillon was biblical.  If the River Seine suddenly turned red and locusts showed up during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, no one would have blinked an eye.  Not since Trump’s inauguration has such a large crowd been in this much anticipation.  But for once it lived up to it.  I do not say this lightly: this is one of the most beautiful and impressive city hotels I’ve ever seen.  The fact that it’s in France hurts this Englishman’s soul.  Yet Hotel de Crillon is a superb hotel, in almost every regard. Almost.

The design: spot on.  An absolute delight on the eyes, with an elegant blend of old and new pumping my eyes with endorphins. I am not being vain when I sit and stare at my pictures all day; the praise all goes to the magnificent designers that put this project together.  I came to experience a city hotel but felt at times like I was in a resort.  Walking through the corridors just leads you from one impressive feat to another.  No need to go to the Louvre and wait around in disappointment as Tom Hanks fails to show up; instead, just walk around Hotel de Crillon.  I’m sure their ultimate business plan is to have thousands of tourists squeeze into an unfathomably small space, so I’m pleased to have done my bit and started advertising it here.

The facilities were equally impressive, particularly the beautiful but not-as-warm-as-I-would-like pool and outdoor, intimate movie area.  Complimenting these are a hair dressers, shoe shiners, boutique shops (of course, it’s Paris), courtyard and small gym .  The seating areas are plentiful, as are the food and beverage options. L’Ecrin offers the obligatory fine dining, the Jardin d’Hiver lounge for afternoon tea, Brasserie d’Aumont for actual food and Les Ambassadeurs bar for planning heists, as it’s so damn cool that doing anything else would be a waste.

Every detail was clearly thought through to give them an edge over their competition; just the focus on room amenities and toiletries reveals that, but every other area of the hotel is simply wonderful, from the bar, to the pool, courtyard and lounge.

The hard product is hard to fault.  The service has room for improvement.

The check-in experience felt like going for a job interview, with it being designed not to feel like a reception area.  And it did not.  Being so small and isolated, it made every second of silence ring for an eternity, as our beloved receptionist tried her best to make conversation with us.  She handed us off to a butler, who walked us to the room and seemed equally flummoxed by how things in a hotel worked, but he was English and therefore entirely excused – it’s his fault that hospitality isn’t for him.

As we opened the door, a welcome greeted us that I love more than anything else: junk food.  Yet amongst the Haribo there were a plethora of hammers next to chocolate shapped into balls and cars, that was designed to bring out my inner child further.  Smashing chocolate and eating it: why tell kids of heaven when they can just come here?  Just as my brown smudged grin couldn’t be any happier, I figured I’d eat their strawberries they bothered to get for me.  I honestly don’t know where they sourced them from, so I’m going to have to go with aliens; they truly were the best strawberries I’ve ever eaten.

HULK SMASH!

I feel morally obliged to once again emphasise how much the entire hotel looks pure class, and the rooms are no exception.  A hotels corridors are often the window into their soul, and often make me more grateful when I’m leaving than arriving.  Not here.  Beautiful and light.  Our room, 615, a Premier Suite, matched to look the business.  With a small balcony looking straight down onto a….night club.  Ok, no one’s perfect, I’m sure they will offer great sound isolation.  They did not.  But I still managed to sleep peacefully.  Until I woke up drenched in fluid that I think was my own, as the AC seemed to have given up.  So sure, there are definitely some snags to fix here, not least of the unusually slow Internet.

But it’s the style and attention to detail that I loved; the custom made coffee machines, unique bathroom amenities, UK plug adapters already plugged into the walls; our initials on our pillow cases on a one night stay; a TV within the bathroom mirror to watch as you’re brushing your teeth; plenty of cupboards and wardrobe space.  Just opening a wardrobe reveals so many bespoke hangers and accessories that I could have opened a thrift store.

I rarely see a presidential suite worth paying for, but after some long, long negotiation where we both likely succumb to old age, and maybe for a truly special occasion, I’d consider it here.

The downside was my normal nemesis: food. Although it fared a lot better than most, it suffered from the inconsistency of it.  You are in one of the greatest cities on earth for cuisine, but that still doesn’t mean I don’t want to eat in the hotel.  We had a wonderful, albeit slow, breakfast and dinner, but followed it up with a rather substandard lunch, only saved by the pastry chef being a gift from god.  His art is showcased near the lobby, and it is worth your time to explore it.

The previous two reviews I read on Crillon both suffered housekeeping screw-ups, so I complete the hat-trick.  They knocked for turndown at 6:30pm, I asked them to come back within an hour,  at 9pm we return to the room, find they haven’t been and then receive another knock on the door.  I tell them not to bother, yet barely 5 minutes later someone else knocks as the technicians wanted to come in to make the room blackout.  The thought is appreciated, but why not do this prior so us checking in, or when I actually asked for it?

As we departed, they couldn’t have been more keen on my feedback.  Gosh, the flattery.  A courtesy Maybach then escorted us on a complimentary trip to The Ritz for our next stop.  Gosh, the bribery.  I approve.  With the streets paved with 30C heat, staff were handing out Evian facial spray.  A final touch of class from this wonderful establishment.  It helped remove the sweat from my brow at seeing the bill.

The Good

  • Just walking distance from The Ritz, so be safe knowing when you rock up there and make a mistake, your safe haven is not so far away.
  • Superb facilities around the hotel, meaning you may never need to leave

The Bad

  • Get out the dusting cloth and polish the service

The Luxurious

  • A spectacular looking hotel

Conclusion

Paris is one of those cities that would form a horror story to those just starting off in luxury travel.  Immensely expensive, and apparently offering little for it.  Those sappy videos of dogs greeting serviceman that rack up millions of views?  Record the average person as you tell them what a Coca Cola costs in a Parisian luxury hotel.  It will result in just as many tears.  Yet once you get beyond the prices that will scare your accountant into an early grave, I truly believe Paris offers the best selection of luxury, city hotels in the world.  Hotel de Crillon adds to that, although I am aware that they clearly caught me in a good mood.

There is a huge amount to love here, but a large room for improvement too.  The investment is huge, and they’re clearly not giving up, so expect to see it become the de facto king supreme in Paris.  The service did not shine, but nor did it need to in such a short space of time.  There are times when the hard product is so good that everything else can be forgiven.  Perhaps this was one of these times.  It worked, as I would and expect to return.

Les Ambassadeurs

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Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan on 30th Sep '18

Dorsia Travel’s co-founder Tom Cahalan’s take on travel is reliably candid. Here’s his take on what’s good, bad, and luxurious.

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