“Hôtel de Crillon is Paris,” the renowned French Caribbean musician Henri Salvador wrote in the namesake hotel’s guest book in 1984. “Paris is Champagne, Champagne is France and France is my heart so Hôtel de Crillon is my heart.”
What would Mr. Salvador, a frequent guest at the Crillon, think of his beloved hotel now? After a renovation that has kept its doors closed since March 2013, the Parisian property, now managed by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts and officially called Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel, is reopening on Wednesday, more than 98 years after its original opening on March 12, 1909.
Occupying three buildings on a corner of Place de la Concorde, a square off the Champs-Élysées, the property itself, like any hotel worthy of more than a brief mention, has a notable history, this one dating to the 18th century.
In 1755, King Louis XV commissioned the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel to build two palacelike facades, eventually the exterior of the Crillon, overlooking Place de la Concorde. These ornate structures, completed in 1758, were considered to be an emblem of fine 18th-century architecture, but they remained as facades until another architect, Louis-Francois Trouard, bought the land behind them at auction and built a sumptuous private mansion.
The Count of Crillon bought the home in 1788, and, for the most part, descendants of the Crillon family lived there until 1904. But before the Crillons came into the picture, Queen Marie Antoinette frequented the mansion for her piano lessons — until 1793, when she was guillotined right outside on Place de la Concorde.
From a grand mansion to a grand hotel: The building’s life as the Crillon began in 1906 when a luxury hotel group, the Société des Grands Magasins et des Hôtels du Louvre, bought the mansion and its two adjacent buildings with the intention of creating Paris’s most luxurious palace hotel catering to a growing demand from the international elite..