Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Hôtel de Crillon
The Hôtel de Crillon, located on the foot of the Champs-Élysées at No. 10 on the north end of Place de la Concorde in Paris, France, is one of the oldest and most prestigious luxury hotels in the world.
The five-star hotel, with 103 guest rooms and 44 suites, occupies one of two identical stone buildings divided by the rue Royale that were constructed in 1758 under the auspices of architect Louis François Trouard as a result of a commission from King Louis XV. Initially both structures were built to serve as government offices and the eastern one continues to this day as the French Naval Ministry. However, the western building was made into a luxury hotel and was soon frequented by Queen Marie Antoinette and her elite friends and was where she came to take piano lessons.
In 1788, François-Félix-Dorothee Berton des Balbes, the Count of Crillon, acquired the hotel only to have it confiscated shortly thereafter by the government of the French Revolution. It was eventually returned to the Count of Crillon's family who ran it until 1907 at which time it underwent a two-year-long refurbishing by the Société du Louvre under the supervision of architect Hippolyte Destailleurs . Today, through the Concorde Hotels Group, the Crillon is still part of the Société du Louvre whose shares are listed on the Paris Stock Exchange and is controlled by the Tattinger family holding company. The hotel is run by Anne-Claire Tattinger, Chairperson of the Management Board.
The hotel was where American General John J. Pershing stayed as did Assistant Secretary of the United States Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt as he made his way on an inspection tour in 1918. A year later, during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson and the entire American delegation stayed at the Crillon including a salon set up with telephone switchboards run by the famous bilingual American "Hello Girls ." A little more than twenty years later, the hotel would be occupied by the German high command during the World War II occupation of France. Other future American Presidents who called the Crillon a temporary home were Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon.
The Hôtel de Crillon reflects total opulence, beginning at the honey-colored marble lobby and into the adjacent gastronomic restaurant Les Ambassadeurs filled with crystal chandeliers and decorated in seven different marbles. The hotel's public salons are filled with 17th and 18th century tapestries, chandeliers, gilt-and-brocade furniture, fine pieces of sculpture, and Louis XVI chests and chairs. Its Leonard Bernstein suite, on the top floor with a wraparound terrace that provides a spectacular view of Paris also contains one of the maestro's pianos. The hotel was the favorite of the Joseph P. Kennedy family and royalty from around the world chooses to stay including, George V of the United Kingdom, Hassan II of Morocco and Japan's Emperor Hirohito. The notorious swindler, "Count" Victor Lustig impressed his unsuspecting victims with his luxurious suite at the Crillon. Other celebrities who favored the Crillon were Jacqueline Onassis, Barbara Hutton, Charlie Chaplin, Porfirio Rubirosa, Orson Welles, Elizabeth Taylor, Tyrone Power and in more recent times Axl Rose, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Madonna have stayed at the Crillon.
Each year, the Hôtel de Crillon holds an annual Bals de Debutantes (Debutante Ball) to benefit the Pierre and Marie Curie Foundation. The very exclusive event is a "coming out" party for twenty-four young ladies between the ages of 15 and 19. All are members of the international social set whose gowns each represents a leading international fashion house. American presidential niece, Lauren Bush caused a sensation when she was presented on the arm of a prince at the 2000 ball. Her appearance led to a modelling contract with Tommy Hilfiger. Other young ladies to make their appearance here have been Lydia Hearst Shaw, daughter of Patty Hearst, Barbara Berlusconi, daughter of Italy's president Silvio Berlusconi, Victoria and Vanessa Traina, daughters of American romance novelist Danielle Steel, Xenia Virganskaya Gorbachev, granddaughter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Penelope Pei-Tang, the daughter of architect I. M. Pei, Dree Hemingway-Crisman, grand-daughter of Ernest Hemingway, and Countess Anastasia Tolstoy, the relative of another writer, Leo Tolstoy.
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