Maisons Pariente, a family-run collection of luxury boutique hotels in France, is gearing up for the opening of its latest asset, Le Grand Mazarin, early next year in Paris’s Marais district.
Guy Bertaud, managing director of the Maisons Pariente group, said the new property will be in the heart of Paris, close to several of the city’s emblematic monuments.
“Our Parisian approach is to offer the first five-star hotel in this Marais district, in a Parisian neighborhood, and within walking distance of Notre-Dame and the Louvre,” said Bertaud.
Bertaud says he has always had a taste for “the art of living and receiving”. This vocation led him to study hospitality in Paris and then to obtain an MBA in tourism at the University of Zurich.
Bertaud began his professional career in 1988 in London at the Méridien Piccadilly. For more than 30 years, he has managed properties such as Le Vendôme in Lebanon; Paris Hotel, Monaco; H Dubaï, Le Grand Hôtel in Bordeaux and Le Plaza Athénée and Le Shangri-La, both in Paris.
Now managing director of the Maisons Pariente group, he is responsible for developing the collection and “continuing to anchor it in the local landscape and to multiply the emotions and experiences of customers”.
Even though the company has its roots in Paris, developing and opening hotels in the French capital is never easy, he said.
“Paris is a very dynamic, but very competitive destination. We had to wait for the right time to find the right location,” he said.
Offering a luxury hotel stay in the heart of Paris is the driving force behind his hotel Le Grand Mazarin.
“So many international travelers have known the west of Paris,” he said. “We deliberately wanted to offer visitors to Paris a new experience in the historic heart of the city. So it took time to find the best spot in this Parisian district.”
Another challenge of opening in Paris is that it is a world-class city that has been dazzling its customers with beautiful hotels for centuries.
Bertaud said that although the City of Light has been his home for many years, he continually discovers its new and changing neighborhoods. He added that it is such freshness and vitality that his customers crave and that his hotels want to showcase.
“This is exactly the kind of emotion we want to share at Maisons Pariente. … Rather than seeing it as a challenge, I see Paris as an opportunity to regularly discover something new,” he said.
“The hotel has undergone delicate rehabilitation in a lively district of Paris. We have been working for almost five years on this project, which will give birth to an amazing property made up of 61 rooms and suites in one of the most exciting environments in the City of Light,” he said.
Other Maisons Pariente hotels include Lou Pinet in Saint-Tropez on the south coast of France; Crillon Le Brave in Provence north of Marseille and Le Coucou in Méribel near the eastern border of the country.
In the five years leading up to the opening of Grand Mazarin, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Maisons Pariente particularly hard, Bertaud said.
“We only opened the first hotel in our collection in 2019. However, we have been blessed by many returning guests, mainly from European countries, who have experienced at least one of our properties before,” said- he declared.
“I can say that we have completely redesigned the customer journey [during the development of Le Grand Mazarin] so that every interaction becomes an opportunity to engage and show that we care. The design brief never really changed, it only evolved to ensure the service is seamless and human engagement is paramount,” he added.
Getting the caliber of personnel to make all of this happen also required a precise strategy.
“It is true that staffing has certainly been a challenge. However, we have developed two opportunities on this front. First, we strongly communicated our values, such as respect and being a caring family organization,” he said.
“Secondly, we adopted [corporate social responsibility] activities, so that each employee can participate in a useful action. Such actions reinforce the sense of belonging which ultimately helps us attract and retain talent,” he added.
Bertaud said that in the leisure segment, which is the company’s focus, demand for Paris hotels has increased from both mature travel markets such as the United States and “less mature” travel markets. “such as Latin American countries.
“Additionally, the Paris 2024 Olympics should generate even more excitement and interest in Paris as a destination,” he said.
But there are headwinds that could temper tourism demand in Paris, Bertaud said.
“The real economic concern when hosting international travelers is the rate of inflation. If it became too high, it would definitely impact Paris as a destination. The situation in Ukraine is indeed terribly sad, [but] it hasn’t had a direct impact on Paris yet,” he said.
He added that social media communications and digital marketing efforts have helped support growth, but this is a typical hospitality business in that its customers are its biggest advocates.
“With nearly 30,000 overnight stays each year, we are convinced that our customers are our best ambassadors and better references than any other system. Unsurprisingly, almost a third of our clientele comes from the United States and another third from European countries outside France,” he said.
Bertaud may see growth opportunities in the future, but they will be chosen carefully, he said.
“We are conscious family investors, which means that our investments are useful for the family, [but] maybe one or two new addresses in the years to come. The family certainly wants to expand the portfolio,” he said, adding that sustainability is at the heart of these decisions.
This adds to the deliberate nature of opening a new hotel, he said.
Acting as a sustainable hotel business is also a priority for Maisons Pariente and its customers, said Bertaud.
“If we look [sustainability] from a customer perspective, consuming environmentally friendly products is a choice that is monetized,” said Bertaud. “From the operator’s point of view, recycling organic waste reduces waste management costs, helps preserve the environment and provides fertilizer.
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