At La Samaritaine, one could always find everything. So insisted the Paris department store’s famous slogan: On trouve tout à La Samaritaine. And now, one can even find the most stylish place in town to spend the night—or the week, as discerning travelers will no doubt be tempted to do. Recently reimagined by LVMH, the Right Bank retail complex just welcomed a dazzling new neighbor, the Cheval Blanc Paris hotel, located on the Seine-facing side of the 1928 Art Deco building by Henri Sauvage.
“Our intention was to transform the iconic Parisian building without disregarding its existing design heritage,” says Peter Marino, who was tasked with conceiving the lobbies, four restaurants, the Dior Spa, and 72 rooms and suites. In keeping with his long-standing work for LVMH, the AD100 architect has reimagined the interiors as a kind of temple to French luxury and craft, using only the crème de la crème of materials. (Think sumptuous stone floors, straw-marquetry walls, and leather-wrapped elevator cabs.) For the seventh floor, he chose elaborate bronze panels by sculptor Ingrid Donat; for the lobby, a wood-and-patinated-brass reception desk by painter and set designer Thierry Leproust; and for the elevators, an experiential installation by lighting designer Thierry Dreyfus, which offers sweeping views of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. And all throughout the hotel, Marino sprinkled vintage treasures by the likes of Maria Pergay, Charlotte Perriand, and Jean Lurçat, whose tapestry hangs in the stairwell that leads to Plénitude, helmed by chef Arnaud Donckele.
But the most dazzling space of all may be the four-bedroom Quintessence suite, which is kitted out in fanciful bronze furnishings by the French artist couple François-Xavier and Claude Lalanne, including the last piece Claude ever made: a winding bronze-and-brass staircase. Or perhaps it’s the Dior Spa, where visitors can find what is being called the longest indoor hotel pool in all of Europe, which stretches nearly 100 feet and is encased in custom mosaic tile. May we all find ourselves there. chevalblanc.com —Hannah Martin