Paris has its fair share of grande dames, but the Cheval Blanc, on the shore of the Seine at the foot of the Pont-Neuf between the Marais, Ile de la Cité and the Louvre, offers abreath of fresh air with its novel design and friendly approach to cigar smoking.
Housed in the former La Samaritaine department store, it is part of LVMH’s seven-year, almost-$1 billion restoration of the Art Deco and Art Nouveau landmark. The hotel is the first urban property in the company’s hotel Cheval Blanc portfolio.
Cheval Blanc Paris channels the Art Deco spirit with clean, contemporary interiors envisioned by Peter Marino, who spent years working with master craftsmen, artists, decorators and architects for his first hotel project. Marino’s concept lavished attention on every decorative element throughout the public spaces and the 72 generously-sized rooms (starting at $1,500) and suites, which feature large bay windows to maximize the iconic views.
Gastronomy is key to the Cheval Blanc experience. Langosteria serves modern Italian cuisine with an emphasis on seafood. At Le Tout Paris, a brasserie, an inventive menu concept lets you choose a meat or fish, a cooking method and a sauce. The hotel’s 30-seat Plénitude was recently awarded three Michelin stars under the auspices of Chef Arnaud Donckele. And tucked at the end of a passageway displaying bottles from the restaurant’s 1,200 bins, the Amber Salon is reserved for private dinners. The elegant space is designed as a smoking room equipped with an air extraction system A floor-to-ceiling glass humidor showcases premier Cuban brands as well as starter offerings for as little as 16 euros. A cigar smoking terrace is also in the works as are special pairing events with spirits. “We want people to enjoy them on the terrace or balcony with a spirit or cocktail,” says head sommelier Emmanuel Cadieu, who will pre- pare a special box for a guest who requests cigars. “It completes our epicurean offering.”
You can even start your meal with an aperitif from the actual Deco age—quality tested, of course. “I am always looking for back vintages to give a bit of depth to the wine list and wanted to do the same thing with spirits,” says Cadieu. “This is a historic building, and these spirits are a piece of history.”