Pleasure / March 2016

WHERE GOD'S BEST ANGELS STAY | MANDARIN ORIENTAL

As Area Vice President of Operations, of the Mandarin Oriental, Paris, Philippe Leboeuf has seen guests reduced to tears—of joy, of course. We talk to a man on a mission…

The famous writer and bon vivant Paul Levy once wrote, 'Krug is the Champagne that God gives his angels when they have been especially good.' Though he could have made the following addendum: 'But the very best amongst them he sends to stay at properties managed by Philippe Leboeuf.' That Philippe Leboeuf - at six-foot-five - towers above most mortals, is a fitting embodiment of his titanic and relentless pursuit of perfection.

To call him a visionary within the hotel industry is a profound understatement. Here is a man who has received the National Order of Merit from the President of the French Republic, and who has headed three of the world's grandest and most iconic hotels: Claridge's in London, The Carlyle in New York and the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris. In each instance, he perfectly preserved and protected the magnificent patrimonies of these properties while seamlessly merging them with the needs of the contemporary world.

His perfect understanding of his customers' tastes and his devotion to achieving experiences that are nothing less than revelatory, make him quite possibly the single most innovative and effective hotel general manager on earth. Today, he oversees his newest jewel, the Mandarin Oriental, Paris, completely revolutionising the Parisian elegant residential experience by tapping into the zeitgeist of the evolving perceptions of luxury. The moment you enter this heady, opiatic oasis of tranquility amid Paris's busiest shopping street, you'll feel as if you've exhaled so deeply that all ephemeral preoccupations - worries, stress - have left your corporeal form, and you've ascended into the realm reserved for God's best angels. In his vision for the Mandarin Oriental, Paris, Leboeuf adopts the role of Prometheus by bringing light, composed of charm, warmth and gentleness, into the darkness of a Parisian hotel scene that, at times, lack in emotional largess. This is the story of his hotel, in his own words...

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Wei Koh

The Rake's Founder & Editorial Director.