Paris has long been known as a mecca for fashion, culture, and style. Indeed, as famed French novelist Honoré de Balzac once said, “Whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never really be elegant.” Nowadays, however, the City of Light has expanded its horizons beyond its chic boutiques and charming cafes to become a tour de force in another offering—spas. The last year has seen an influx of amazing retreats, and among the most notable new additions to the scene is The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Paris.
The 138-room hotel is located in the city’s first arrondissement near such iconic Parisian landmarks as the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens. Its design takes inspiration from the 1930s and the Art Deco movement and the eternel féminin vibe of the era, when women were draped in furs and jewels and fashion photographers like Man Ray filled the pages of magazines with enticing shots of ravishing beauties. Under the guidance of architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, who supervised the renovation of the building, and Sybille de Margerie, who created the interior design and decoration of the rooms, suites, spa, and public spaces, the hotel’s aesthetic harkens guests back to that time with a sophisticated color palette and rich stone, lacquer, and gold leaf finishes. Delicate butterfly accents can be found throughout the property, as can a collection of fine art and photography, further adding to the hotel’s artistic appeal.
Margerie also imagined the design for the spa, bringing the elegance of the rest of the hotel and the butterfly motif to the 9,688-square-foot, two-level retreat. Highlights include a white and carmine-glass mosaic floor embedded with silver-leaf butterflies, a wall filled with origami-style white flowers, an inviting indoor pool embellished in pearly whites and pinks, and seven spacious treatment suites decorated in soothing shades of rose, silver, and taupe. Among them are four fully equipped single treatment suites, as well as three couples’ treatment suites with private bathrooms, steam showers, and vitality pools. “The spa has continuity with the rest of the hotel, but it also has its own mood and feel,” says spa director Véronique Ellinger. “It’s very Parisian, in that it is couture and elegant, but it is also sweet and simple.”
The spa honors Mandarin Oriental’s heritage by offering some of the experiences that occur in all of the brand’s spas. All guests are greeted with a welcoming tea ritual, and the conclusion of all treatments is signaled with the ring of a Tibetan bell. Additionally, Mandarin Oriental’s signature product line, which was created by Aromatherapy Associates, is used in the Signature Spa Therapies, which incorporate elements of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), as well as other iconic treatment options. “Guests know they are at a Mandarin Oriental spa, thanks to the music, symbols, ritual, and consistent treatment,” says Ellinger.
Still, the spa menu offers a decidedly Parisian flair by featuring a variety of exclusive services. The Hu-Tieh Quan ($630, 2 hours 50 minutes), which means Butterfly Spring, features a bath, a body mask, and a massage. Additionally, a selection of skincare options using products from the famed French beauty and perfumerie brand, Guerlain, are also available. Among the most popular are the Orchidée Impériale offerings, including the Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Prestige Treatment ($575, 2 hours 20 minutes), which involves a trio of masks and massages, and the Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Treatment—The Interlude ($328, 80 minutes), an anti-aging and firming session.
The 17-member spa team, all of whom underwent two-and-a-half months of training prior to the spa’s opening, is also a unique blend of Paris and the world, according to Ellinger. “Most of the staff is Parisian, but it is a multicultural team with staff members from Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, and more,” she says. Along with the intensive training sessions prior to opening, the spa team tested all of the treatments on other members of the hotel staff. “When they know what we do, it’s a much easier sell,” explains Ellinger. “They can speak to what they know.” Additionally, Ellinger has established strong relationships with other hoteliers, particularly those whose properties do not have a spa, to further spread the news. She also launched a direct mail campaign to Mandarin Oriental aficionados and former guests who live in or near Paris. All of this, along with excellent word-of-mouth recommendations, has resulted in approximately a 50/50 split between hotel and outside guests who take advantage of the spa. “We are seeing a number of Parisians, spa lovers from other hotels, and locals from the surrounding businesses and shops,” says Ellinger. “Many of them are using the spa as a place for a weekly retreat.”
Moving forward, Ellinger says her raison d’être is to continue making her guests happy and to work to establish The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Paris as one of the best in the world. She also wants to help keep the burgeoning Parisian spa scene on the map by working with her colleagues in town to raise the bar for the spa industry at every level—from people to schools, training, and service quality. “The influx of new spas in Paris is a good thing,” she says. “Spa is important for everyone and is no longer just a trendy thing. It is a need that all people now have.”
Owner: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
Spa Director: Véronique Ellinger
Opened: June 2011
MOST REPRESENTED COUNTRIES:
9,700 square feet;
7 treatment rooms
aromatherapy, body treatments, couples’ treatments, energy work, eyelash and brow tinting, facials, fitness, scalp treatments, hammam, foot treatments, makeup application, massage, nailcare, Pilates, waxing, yoga
SIGNATURE SPA SERVICE
Mandarin Oriental Signature Spa Therapies ($510,
2 hours 20 minutes)
MOST EXPENSIVE OFFERINGS
Time Rituals ($760, 3 hours 20 minutes), Oriental Harmony ($760, 2 hours 20 minutes), and Paris Passion ($760, 3
hours 20 minutes)
Aromatherapy Associates, Deborah Lippmann, Guerlain
Cypress, Living Earth Crafts, SpaSoft, Technogym
Sybille de Margerie