Le Meurice is a neo-classical 5-star hotel founded by Charles-Augustin Meurice in 1835. It is located at 228, rue de Rivoli in the 1st district of Paris.
It has been awarded the 'Palace' distinction in 2011 and the 'Living Heritage Company' distinction in 2012. It belongs to the Dorchester Collection hotel group, which also owns the Plaza Athénée.
The hotel enjoys views over the entire Tuileries Gardens, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, as well as the beginning of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and the Place de la Concorde.
Three axes surround the hotel: rue de Rivoli, rue de Castiglione, and rue du Mont-Thabor.
In 1811, the real estate developer François Corbie bought a parcel of land on Rue de Rivoli, intending to build a rental building based on the architectural model of Emperor Napoleon I's architects, Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine2.
In 1818, Charles-Augustin Meurice, already the owner of the Hotel Meurice de Calais, opened a luxury hotel at the Paris-Calais stagecoach terminal at 223 rue Saint-Honoré and applied a strategy aimed at English tourists who wished to rediscover, during their travels on the European continent, the comfort and amenities they were accustomed to at home. Le Meurice then offers the 'palace service'.
In 1835, Charles-Augustin Meurice decided to move his hotel to rue Saint-Honoré to expand and founded his new establishment on its current location at 228 rue de Rivoli, which at the time had 160 rooms.
In 1855, during an official visit to Emperor Napoleon III and his wife, Queen Victoria stayed there, and the entire second floor was completely renovated for the occasion.
In 1889, Henri-Joseph Scheurich, the new owner, equipped the hotel with a telephone, making it the first hotel in the capital to be so equipped.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Le Meurice changed direction and in 1898, in order to compete with the Hotel Ritz, which opened the same year on the nearby Place Vendôme, Arthur Millon, the owner, joined forces with Frédéric Schwenter to develop the establishment.
Major works, in two phases, were launched between 1898 and 1907. The Hotel Métropole, overlooking Rue de Castiglione, was acquired to extend the existing surface area. The two partners then hired the architect Henri-Paul Nénot, who, like many buildings in the capital, proceeded with a façade design on the two buildings, which were then completely destroyed except for the listed façades, then rebuilt in the original Louis XVI style. The hotel was then equipped with the latest modern amenities: bathroom, telephone, electric bells for their servants, elevator, etc3.
From this period, Le Meurice retains the Grand Salon Pompadour, the restaurant room, the Salon Fontainebleau, the Bar 228, with frescoes by the painter Alexandre-Claude-Louis Lavalley, painted between 1905 and 1907, and the wrought iron canopy that housed the hall4.
It is said that during this work, the workers took in a greyhound wandering around the site, which the staff then used as their mascot, later to become the emblem of the hotel. The establishment quickly became the lair of crowned heads and European aristocracy and was quickly nicknamed 'the hotel of kings'. In 1931, for example, while in exile in France, King Alfonso XIII of Spain resided here and made it the seat of his government5.
During the Occupation, between September 1940 and August 1944, the Hotel Meurice served both as the headquarters of the German military command of the Paris garrison6 and as General Dietrich von's official residence Choltitz7.
In the 1950s, the crowned heads made way for a rich clientele of business people, show-business stars, and other artists. Among the latter was Salvador Dalí, who resided there for one month a year in the former royal suite of Alfonso XIII, from 1959 until his death thirty years later.
In 1984, the establishment was acquired for approximately $100 million by the Aga Khan IV, which he sold in 1997 to the Dorchester Collection, owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Between 1998 and 2000, the hotel underwent a major renovation, restoration, and modification of certain areas, led by Jean-Loup Roubert, chief architect of civil and national palaces.
In 2007, the designer Philippe Starck refreshed the general decoration. In 2008, the hotel launched the Le Meurice Prize for Contemporary Art, a prize that has been suspended since April 13, 2008.