A View of Brands

Only deaf-blind people are still unaware of this. After the buzzing opening of the Samaritaine, here comes the launch of Cheval Blanc, the associated 5-star hotel overlooking the Seine, if you’re willing to pay 1,200 euros for a night—the lowest price. The timing is not perfect, but the experience is all the more interesting to follow. If we choose to go beyond the simple examination of its gilding, Cheval Blanc could even help us define what a luxury hotel is in 2021, as it perfectly embodies a new model.

First of all, no name on the façade. Discretion is the key. Okay, everyone knows about it, but still. A new location, then. An intermezzo. Neither already on the left bank, nor yet on the right bank. A territory in the making, born in an interstice like all new urban places (wastelands, parking lots, roof tops). A controlled size, too, since the establishment provides only 72 suites and rooms, compared to many more for other players in this high end universe (142 at the Ritz, 240 at the Georges V, 200 at the Peninsula…). It’s not a “boutique hotel” either, but clients will enjoy a feeling of privacy and managers won’t need to “sell off” (the quotation marks are important here) the rooms to fill the establishment. Additionally, there is a spa (Dior, of course) and various food outlets, ranging from Michelin-starred restaurants to haute-couture pastries, from a 24-hour brasserie to a cocktail bar with a view of the Seine. It is enough to demolish the equation hotel = a place to sleep, which is the origin of all the “Au Lion d’Or” hotels we can see all around in France…

Finally, and this is the most original feature: the direct access to 600 brands within the Samaritaine building offers new customer experiences. No need to go out anymore, brands come to you and the department store is privatized for you. Being able to establish a one-to-one relationship with (wealthy) hotel guests at any time of the day, and especially outside of opening hours, what could be a better ambition for a brand and for those it targets? Breakfast at Tiffany’s has become a reality.

So What ?

The brand-hotel relationship is still in its early stages. Hotels want to expand their customer base and customers are constantly looking for new experiences. The foundations of a successful relationship are already there.

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