The House of Guerlain
I had the pleasure of meeting Louis de Vilmorin, the International Director of Institutes & Spa Guerlain, at the Hotel and Spa Forum held on June 19 at the George V Four Seasons Hotel in Paris.
This was a very interesting forum where professionals from various European countries came together to listen to international experts present their expertise and their unique experiences.
I had the chance to visit the House of Guerlain on its iconic address on Avenue des Champs-Elysées. What a magnificent space, filled with the history that is about to unfold for you below. I invite you to discover it for yourself and even start a conversation with any one of the hostesses who stand by ready to tell you all about Guerlain—it is truly enchanting!
How is the French art of welcoming adapting itself to the 21st century in the international luxury market? How have you developed it within your various spas? What inherited expertise have you reinterpreted in your spas?
The art of welcoming is an element integrated throughout the client’s overall experience, from the welcome greeting over the telephone all the way to the guided escort out the door of the spa.
For our House of Guerlain Institute at 68 Champs-Elysées, we chose to have it entirely renovated under the architect Peter Marino, and it finally opened last December after eight months of construction.
As for the architecture, we’ve crafted an exquisite reception room that precisely allows us to showcase this thoroughly French art of welcoming.
As for reinterpreting our inheritance of expertise, we have created a dazzling wall of orchids to highlight Guerlain’s involvement with sustainable development practices and causes advocating the preservation of nature—for instance, in the protection of orchids in Yunnan, of the black bees on Ouessant Island, etc.
In terms of construction and design, what characterizes your spas? How do you select the architects who go on to design your spas? How do they embody the essence of your brand?
The design of the Institute was carried out by Peter Marino, who relied upon very precious materials combined with very delicate finishing. The tones are warm but remain at the same time very clear and bright, thereby avoiding the frighteningly clinical white palette that you tend to find in many institutes and spas.
Each of our spas is different, and we absolutely strive to achieve an architectural harmony between the hotel itself and with its environment. Our spa in New York, for example, is fabulous for Americans, but it bears no resemblance at all to the one we developed in Randheli in the Maldives. It’s the hotel directors who select their architect, and they generally rely on local talents. They often task them to create…the most beautiful hotel or the most beautiful spa in their city.
You have several spas in luxury hotels (Hotel du Palais, Cheval Blanc, Courchevel, Trianon Palace, Saint James). Do you have plans to open in other hotels in France or across the world? How do such partnerships take place in hotels (are there delays, operations, etc.)?
Guerlain offers only exclusive partnerships for spas situated solely in global capitals, iconic hotels, or extraordinary Palaces. We have reserved our ‘resort’ openings for Cheval Blanc, which is coming along rather well. The next exciting opening this month for Guerlain: the Cheval Blanc in St-Barth Isle de France….
Laurent Delporte, an editor and conference speaker, is a strategic expert in the sector of hotels. A visionary, he brings his unique look on hotels in service to the decision-makers in the industry, whether to enhance the development of new projects or strategic visions.
Laurent has visited and audited over 350 hotels across the world and also participates in mystery visits to provide quality control for the world’s finest hotels.