The Hotel de Crillon, one of the world's oldest luxury hotels which looks onto the square where Louis XVI lost his head, reopened Wednesday after a multi-million-euro makeover lasting four years.
The venerable Paris institution at the foot of the Champs Elysees, which is owned by a Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mitab bin Abdullah bin Abdelaziz al-Saud, has boasted among its regulars the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Charlie Chaplin.
The Saudi prince bought the hotel in 2010 from American group Starwood Capital, owner of the chain of the W hotels and St. Regis hotels, for a reported €250 million ($328.4 million).
A team of 147 artisans attended to the finest details of the neo-Classical building, restoring period frescoes, gold leaf trim and marble accoutrements in one of the world's most prestigious hotels.
It was the first facelift since the former residence of the Counts of Crillon opened to paying guests in 1909, and comes after the legendary Ritz reopened last year after a four-year renovation.
The Crillon's restoration lasted two years longer than planned, partly because of the creation of a second underground floor with a spa and swimming pool.
Room rates range from 1,200 euros ($1,360) a night to between 20,000 and 25,000 for the Bernstein Suite overlooking the Place de la Concorde - where Louis XVI was guillotined in 1793 at the height of the French Revolution and where German snipers fired on crowds during Liberation celebrations in 1944.
Managed by Rosewood Hotels and Resorts since 2013, the Crillon now has 124 rooms, compared with 147 previously.
Of those, 33 are suites and another 10 are "signature" suites of the greatest luxury, two of which were decked out by German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.
The hotel's Michelin-starred chef Christopher Hache returns after embarking on a global mission scouting for techniques and ingredients used by other top chefs.
In addition to running the hotel's flagship restaurant Les Ambassadeurs, Hache is in charge of a brasserie and bar as well as a winter garden.
The hotel, which has attracted celebrity guests over the decades including Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson and Madonna, was originally built in 1758. A twin building also overlooks the emblematic Place de la Concorde.
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