Vuitton to open hotel on Champs Elysees, market sources say
Louis Vuitton is reportedly planning to open its debut hotel on the Champs Elysées, making it the latest luxury label to branch out into the hospitality business.
In a major surprise, Vuitton will open its debut hotel at 103 Champs Elysées, in a building which its fellow LVMH brand Dior had previously announced would be its headquarters and site of new super store.
Instead, Vuitton will move into the giant building, while Dior in turn could take over Vuitton’s existing giant boutique at 101 Champs Elysées, according to knowledgeable property sources in Paris.
The building at 103 is currently covered in a giant white skein featuring scores of large images of Dior toiles. However, the change in tactics has apparently come after some deft internal politics, and in the wake of the appointment this February of Pietro Beccari as CEO of Vuitton. In his previous position as CEO of Dior, Beccari oversaw a giant renovation of Dior’s historic flagship on nearby Avenue Montaigne.
“The official line pre-pandemic was that Dior would get 103. Not anymore. But can you imagine what an impact a luxury five-star hotel by Vuitton will make on the whole avenue!” enthused a major real estate player in the neighborhood.
He speculated that LVMH, which is controlled by the world’s richest man Bernard Arnault pays around 60 million euros in annual rent for the address at 103, which is owned by the Qatari royal family. The immense building, totaling 22,000 square-metres, is believed to be the largest single building on the Champs Elysées, Europe’s most famous single avenue.
News of the change of strategy first emerged in La Lettre A, an independent business website. It also suggested that the change in tactics came after a major internal debate with the group.
“Bernard Arnault, who took a ballot between his kids and his luxury barons, never ceases to play Monopoly on the Champs-Elysées,” sniffed La Lettre A, claiming that Arnault’s second son Alexandre Arnault, director of marketing and products at Tiffany, and its CEO Anthony Ledru, had also lobbied hard for the New York jeweler to open a super store at 103.
However, with Beccari’s support Vuitton apparently won the property prize. While at Dior, Beccari created the Dior Suite, a luxury apartment with its own private chef, built on top of Dior’s Avenue Montaigne flagship, guaranteeing clients 24-hour personal shoppers and access overnight to the famed store.
A spokesperson for LVMH declined to make any comment.
Vuitton realized sales of over €20 billion in 2022, led by CEO Michael Burke, a hard-charging executive who has achieved the highest growth in sales of any manager within the luxury conglomerate in his various stints at Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Dior. So, it can certainly afford the investment needed to create a top-rank hotel.
Burke had previously speculated that Vuitton would open a hotel, though at the time he indicated that it would probably be located beside its current headquarters in the 1st arrondissement. However, the HQ’s proximity to Cheval Blanc, the LVMH hotel that opened on the banks of the Seine beside the group’s advanced concept store Samaritaine, ultimately ruled out that location.
Besides a chain of five Cheval Blancs, LVMH also boasts 13 Bulgari hotels, the latest of which opened in Tokyo last month. While in 2018, LVMH acquired Belmond, a unique luxury chain that includes the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Hotel Splendido in Portofino and the Copacabana Palace in Rio.
So far, no construction permits have been requested for the proposed Vuitton inn, but La Lettre A reported that Vinci, a giant French construction company would handle the renovation.
The Haussmannian style building dates back to 1898, and was originally built as a hotel, in one of whose rooms the notorious spy Mata Hari was arrested in 1917, before going on to her death by firing squad. Transformed into a bank in 1919, it was later requisitioned by the Wehrmacht during WW2. In the post-war era it became the French headquarters of HSBC.
No date yet for an opening of the Vuitton hotel, which is expected to include the opening of an interior courtyard, heightening of ground floor windows and the inclusion of around a dozen super suites for the one percent of the one percent.
Monopoly de la mode indeed.
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