Dior Opens a One-of-a-Kind Spa in Paris – Yahoo Lifestyle

The September rentrée in Paris is the most frenetic time of year, teeming as it is with openings and major exhibitions, and this year is no exception. With more than 72% of the French population at least partially vaccinated, lines are already forming all over town to see what’s new with Paris Design Week and the Maison & Objet design fair as excitement mounts for Paris Fashion Week on the horizon.
On a recent sunny afternoon outside La Samaritaine’s new concept store, Loulou, dozens waited patiently behind a velvet rope to present the doorman with the mandatory pass sanitaire. But it was on the Seine side of the complex that my attention was focused. A doorman flashed QR codes for a steady trickle of impeccably turned-out guests passing through the imposing glass doors of Le Cheval Blanc Paris, hoping to gain access to the new hotel’s Peter Marino–designed interiors—and, for the lucky few, a glimpse of its Dior Spa, the only one of its kind in the world.
To say that this hotel is the most highly anticipated opening the City of Light has seen in decades is no exaggeration. The landmark Art Deco building closed in 2005 to embark on a long, ambitious, and occasionally contentious transformation—not just of the structure itself but of the surrounding neighborhood. Earlier this summer, La Samaritaine reemerged as a 21st-century temple to French culture, gastronomy, and luxury shopping, fronted by the deeply luxurious Cheval Blanc.
Beloved by habitués of Courchevel, St. Barth’s, and the Maldives, the luxury hotel chain’s latest outpost feels like home for a clientele accustomed to ultra-refined living. That philosophy extends to the hotel’s well-being complex and spa, located at the foot of a graceful curved staircase just off the lobby, comprising a state-of-the-art fitness area that’s open 24-7, complete with Pelotons and a private coaching room and a 30-meter swimming pool—the largest in any hotel in Paris—tiled with an undulating mosaic by artist Michael Mayer.
Before arriving, I scrolled obsessively through the treatment menu like someone about to be sprung from an invisible cage of months of on-again, off-again lockdowns. Overwhelmed by the staggering 48 different options, I called spa director Sophie Levy Kraemer, who suggested the very treatment that first caught my eye: Precious Energy, a Dior signature body massage with heated semiprecious stones that also includes a sculpting facial.
“The idea is to offer 360-degree sensorial indulgence and moments of happiness, whether you’re staying at the hotel or not,” Kraemer tells me while showing me around the complex in real time. “We wanted to create a bubble where you can completely let go and discover new addictions”—no pun intended: It’s easy to see how something like the Couture Dream treatment—a face, hair, hands, and feet extravaganza done, preformed and Oz-like, by three beauty ambassadors—could become habit forming. Kraemer and her team spent five years developing a treatment menu that would entice all the senses through combinations of specific manual techniques, cutting-edge technology, and site-specific formulations. She also worked with Marino on design details, going over textures and colors, from the milky white marble to the pale rosy beige palette, as well as fixtures, such as two remarkable treatment beds that rise out of the floor. There is even a nod to the Cheval Blanc in Courchevel in the form of a “snow shower” cabin: Guests may step inside for a shot of cold after a sauna or hammam, which can be equally beneficial for Fashion Week–weary feet after a long day of shows.
It’s hard to miss the Dior Spa’s connection to the French maison. More living room than reception area, its central space showcases a haute couture toile by Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri that floats seemingly weightlessly in a glass display, flanked by a lush 3-D video animation of flowers swaying in the breeze by American artist Jennifer Steinkamp. Lavish illustrated books provide a compendium to the women’s ready-to-wear line, while a collection of Dior silk scarves and a bespoke Cheval Blanc perfume created by Dior’s exclusive scent creator, François Demachy, are found here and nowhere else. The same goes for an exclusive range of new products, including a colorful array of scented Bains de Visage purifying mists designed in tribute to the public baths that once stood in front of this building, and a new line of high-performance skin-care products. Called Solutions Professionnelles, the active formulas were specially developed for use at the Dior Spa, Kraemer tells me, adding that three of the products—a floral peeling lotion, a matrix-firming bioserum, and repairing complex for face and body—are exclusively available in the spa’s boutique.
I make a mental note to do some shopping before I leave as Victoria, my beauty ambassador for the day, ushers me into the Bonne Etoile suite, one of the spa’s six individually designed treatment rooms. Each has a completely different look: In the Mizza suite, partridge feathers hand-laminated on one wall recall the leopard motif Christian Dior’s muse was famous for wearing with lashings of pearls; in the Sauvage suite, a custom-made, heated bed filled with restorative alpha quartz crystals looks as manicured as a zen garden.
Once swaddled in a robe and possibly the most comfortable slippers I have ever worn, the entire zodiac lights up overhead, ready for me to choose my sign. Victoria explains (patiently, and more than once) that the Precious Energy massage features a lineup of labradorite stones for grounding and protection; rutilated quartz for balance; white agate for harmony; and rock crystal for detoxification. The only thing left for me to do is select my soundtrack and which of four essential oils I’d like Victoria to blend with the almond massage oil. Stretched out facedown on the treatment bed, a labradorite warming the arch of my foot, I found myself wondering how I could work this 90-minute body ritual—and its extraordinary facial mask, which incorporates the sap from the vines at the Château d’Yquem, the basis for Dior’s premium Or de Vie skin-care line—into my life (not to mention my budget). And as I reluctantly rose from the table upon its completion, still floating between two worlds, a quote from Christian Dior embroidered on the bed linens caught my eye: “At the bottom of the heart slumbers a dream.”
The highly quotable couturier is omnipresent in the spa, and another memorable line from his memoirs appears on the spa menu itself: “My desire is always to make women not only more beautiful, but also happier.” That, Kraemer points out, is Spa Dior’s whole raison d’être: “You show up beautiful, and you leave sublime.”
Dior Spa Cheval Blanc Paris, 8 Quai du Louvre, 75001 Paris; www.chevalblanc.com
Originally Appeared on Vogue
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