Keys to the Dior – a night at the fabled flagship store
We’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Travel news every morning.
I was only a few hours into my stay at Suite Dior 30 Montaigne, the ultra-exclusive new accommodation located in the French house’s historic headquarters, when I realised I could abandon the habit of picking up after myself. When I left a room for a short amount of time, anything left askew was snappily rearranged. The handbag on the floor? Posed delicately on a chair. The crumpled clothes in my carryall? Steamed and hung, or folded with a deftness I will never possess. The remains of my room service? Cleared by the time I finish my bath. All completed with stealth discretion by the team of six staff who swept in and out of the seven-room, 150sq m accommodation like sharply suited secret agents.
Captained by head butler Jean-Baptiste Crabit, an earnest blue-eyed Frenchman, the team offers much more than unparalleled room service to guests. With the key to the suite comes the key – metaphorically at least – to the entirety of 30 Avenue Montaigne, the original site on which Christian Dior first established his couture house in 1946. In late March, following a two-and-a-half-year makeover, the scaffolding was dismantled to reveal an entirely revamped boutique complete with a restaurant – the Monsieur Dior – and pâtisserie, as well as updated haute couture salons and La Galerie Dior, a new exhibition space that spans 1,577sq m, making it the largest permanent gallery dedicated to fashion in the French capital. The exclusive sell to guests of the suite is that all the above, and so much more, is accessible 24 hours a day. “I believe hospitality is part of the luxury experience, and it is in the Dior DNA – Monsieur Dior loved to host – so I wanted to offer clients an incomparable experience: to be the ‘owner’ of this mythical address for the night,” says Pietro Beccari, Dior chairman and CEO of Christian Dior Couture, who hopes the reborn site will “revolutionise” the luxury retail proposition. Beccari held the same post at Fendi when the Italian house unveiled its hospitality initiative, Fendi Private Suites, in Rome in 2016.
In addition to Crabit and his team, there are some 20 staffers on call to fulfil the whims of guests around the clock, including four sales associates at the ready for midnight shopping sprees (or any time you feel the urge). Guests have access too to the storied haute couture salons, a spacious and elegantly appointed space flanked by 10 bay windows that occupies the coveted corner position overlooking the neighbourhood dining institution, L’Avenue. The haute couture service is presided over by Malika Rambaud, who has a knack for calling what style will suit you best at 10 paces. Scanning the racks of creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri’s latest SS22 haute couture collection, she had me in an Oscar-worthy black wool crepe dress, while the premier d’atelier (the very one who sewed the original style) expertly pinned up the hem. (Unfortunately, the clothes are not included in the nightly rate.)
Though only two people can sleep in the Dior suite (a bed can be added for a child), they are welcome to invite friends to join them in these rarefied experiences. In addition to shopping, the offer can include a private tour of the museum, which illuminates the house’s archives and history within the very walls in which it evolved, or the haute couture and jewellery ateliers during the full thrum of working hours. You can also host a dinner party for up to four in the dining room of the suite – or for 14 downstairs in the stately salon historique, the usually off-limits rooms where Monsieur Dior himself entertained. Off-site, the team also offers five-star concierge services in Paris.
It reflects LVMH’s growing interest in the world of luxury hospitality, following the opening of the hotel Cheval Blanc in Paris last year. For loyal Dior clients around the world ready to travel again – access to the suite is initially available only to top clients, via the retail sales teams – these privileges are the ultimate IRL flex: “Luxury is an emotion, an experience, to share with your friends,” says Beccari. “So much is said about the metaverse and digital, but it’s far from the same thing.”
For those feeling less adventurous, the suite is a consummately inspiring place to pass an evening or two. There’s no cap on the number of nights you can book. Located on the fourth floor, accessed only by private elevator, it features a spacious double salon and master bedroom with views over the treetops lining Avenue Montaigne. The interiors were designed by LVMH’s go-to architect, Peter Marino, who oversaw all the renovations of 30 Montaigne; but up here, he eschewed discernible Dior codes and leant into eclectic, idiosyncratic touches that convey the feel of a private Parisian abode. “There are so many majestic hotels in Paris. I wanted this to be like a pied-à-terre,” says Beccari, of the brief to make it characterful. (He was advised to conceal the TV, he adds, but opted for the authentic – “like you’re staying at a friend’s house”.)
In the living room, a retro mood abounds in the daring mix of colour and textures. On one side sits a deep-set cognac-coloured suede sofa with low mustard armchairs by Marino’s studio; on the other is an imposing Yves Klein coffee table and an engraved aluminium Ethno Eames chair by Paolo Giordano. Modern artworks such as a chromatic triptych by Guy de Rougemont punctuate the walls, and the two bar fridges are stocked with fittingly decadent pours, among which is the 2000 Cheval Blanc vintage.
The bedroom is cocooned with cracked canvas walls in a calming verre d’eau blue; mirrors lining the hallway to the bathroom feature an engraved silver leaf by the American artist Anne Peabody. The bathroom is fitted out entirely in onyx – including the tub and the shower-cum-hammam – evoking the antique baroque style of the Galerie des Glaces at the Palace of Versailles, a referential touchstone for Monsieur Dior himself. There are myriad well-conceived touches, such as the bathroom’s cosmetics fridge (it can be stocked with favourite products), the personalised bathrobes (a souvenir to take home), and the hand-made linen-bound hangers adorned with Monsieur Dior’s lucky star, custom-made for the suite’s ample dressing room.
What is most indulgent is the experience of wondrous calm and silence in such vibrant surrounds. Earlier in the day the store was teeming with people; a queue snaked around the block. There’s a certain magic to hearing one’s own footfall echo through an empty museum filled with legendary ballgowns. There was a Pretty Woman-like giddiness to trying on boxes of shoes alone in the expanse of the store, then toasting my efforts with a chilled bottle of Dom Pérignon 2012 – delivered to the shoe department.
Once back upstairs, with the store shuttered and the teams long departed from the ateliers, I still never felt alone: Crabit and his team were only a text message away. I fell asleep safe in the knowledge that their average response time was an impressive 30 seconds.
Suite Dior 30 Montaigne, €25,000 per night all-inclusive