At La Samaritaine, you could always find everything. Thus insisted the famous slogan of the Parisian department store: You can find everything at La Samaritaine. And now one can even find the most elegant place in town to spend the night or the week, as discerning travelers will no doubt be tempted to do. Recently redesigned by LVMH, the Rive Droite shopping complex has just welcomed a dazzling new neighbor, the Cheval Blanc Paris hotel, located on the Seine side in the 1928 Art Deco building of Henri Sauvage.
“Our intention was to transform the iconic Parisian building without neglecting its existing design heritage,” explains Peter Marino, who was responsible for designing the halls, four restaurants, the Dior Spa and 72 rooms and suites. True to his long-standing work for LVMH, architect AD100 has reinvented interiors as a sort of temple of French luxury and craftsmanship, using only the crème de la crème of materials. (Think of the lavish stone floors, straw marquetry walls, and leather-wrapped elevator cabins.) For the seventh floor, he chose bronze panels crafted by sculptor Ingrid Donat; for the lobby, a reception desk in wood and patinated brass by the painter and scenographer Thierry Leproust; and for the elevators, an experimental installation by lighting designer Thierry Dreyfus, which offers a breathtaking view of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. And throughout the hotel, Marino has sprinkled vintage treasures from Maria Pergay, Charlotte Perriand and Jean Lurçat, whose tapestry hangs in the stairwell that leads to Plénitude, directed by chef Arnaud Donckele.
But perhaps the most dazzling space of all is the four-bedroom Quintessence Suite, which is outfitted with whimsical bronze furnishings by French artist couple François-Xavier and Claude Lalanne, including the final room that Claude has never made: a bronze-and-brass staircase. Or maybe it’s the Dior Spa, where visitors can find what’s known as the longest indoor hotel pool in all of Europe, which spans nearly 100 feet and is covered in ceramic tile. custom mosaic. May we all find our way there. chevalblanc.com —Hannah Martin