By Invitation Only.
Maison Villeroy is home to one of the most exclusive private membership clubs in Paris. Here’s what’s in store for the brand’s next outpost, coming soon to Manhattan.
Out of Office
By Invitation Only.
Words by Jennifer Leigh Parker
A few steps away from the Champs-Elysées, between Avenue Montaigne and the river Seine, you’ll find a tony little side street called Rue Jean Goujon. This is where fashion’s power players, including Bernard Arnault, Chief Executive Officer of the luxury giant LVMH, go to work. Behind a secure rod-iron gate, you’ll also find one of the city’s most elite private clubs. Bienvenue chez Maison Villeroy.
Open in earnest since September 2021, Maison Villeroy is the latest example of a hotel, restaurant, and members-only club hybrid designed to satisfy the needs of guests in a pandemic world. It’s a model that’s been around in Paris since the 17th century salons were held in private homes by members of high society. Now, with a renewed interest in privacy, small gatherings, and sophisticated service, the maison model is once again en vogue.
“The way we operate the hotel is like a villa. This could be your grand living room, rather than a hotel bar. Back in 1908, this was the center of the family Villeroy. This was their dining room,” says Jacques Oudinot, COO of The Collection, holding court in the Belle Époque lounge over a breakfast of cacao-dusted cappuccino and impossibly fresh croissants. Having previously served as General Manager at the famous Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, Oudinot is well versed in the language of high-end hospitality.
These days that means hyper-personalized service. For example, in this 11-room bijoux hotel, there are 25 staff members helping to manage the whims and requests of only 50 member guests. The staff includes 12 trained butlers, so basically everyone gets butler service, instead of a traditional concierge or bellhop. “Our butlers will be here to welcome you, escort you to your room, book a restaurant, or serve you lunch at the restaurant. He's your one point of contact. So you know him and he knows you,” adds Oudinot.
It’s over-the-top, even for The Collection, the luxury property management company which operates Maison Villeroy. Owned by Kirill Pisarev and backed by Wainbridge International, The Collection includes nine other properties in St Barth, London, Courchevel, Cap Ferrat, and New York. But Maison Villeroy was the first to test the hotel-club model, which is somewhat of a leap in Paris, where private members clubs do not enjoy the same cultural caché that you find in London or New York.
Annual membership fees are similar in range to Soho House, at $2,500 annually for the minimum membership (which does not include spa or gym access), and $5,000 for top tier members — which includes the spa, gym, and access to their sister club in New York. But that assumes you’ve passed the hurdles of initial acceptance. These include a written application, a referral letter by an existing member, and an entrance interview with the general manager. “We make sure that they really understand who we are, and that we understand who they are and what their intentions are. And we need to meet their expectations,” adds Oudinot.
An apartment inside Maison Villeroy, Paris. Photo courtesy The Collection
New York New York
Slated to open at 401 West in the West Village by January 2023, Maison Hudson is a serviced luxury residential apartment building designed by Danish architect Thomas Juul-Hansen, whose client list includes Jean-Georges Vongerichten and David Yurman. Embracing the multi-use mantra, it includes a full-service restaurant, spa, gym, and rooftop with views of the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson river.
With only 10 apartments, Maison Hudson is an intimate venue with limited capacity. In that sense, it’s not in the same category as the sceney New York clubs like Casa Cipriani or Zero Bond, which host hundreds of guests at a time and maintain strong A-list demand.
Of course, the true New York make-it-here test will be the club’s new restaurant Marius, with about 56 covers split between an indoor dining room and an outside courtyard. You must be a member or resident to eat here — unless, of course, management changes its mind after opening. Those lucky enough to get in will be treated to a provençale menu (a lot of olive oil and garlic) from the Michelin-starred chef Sebastien Sanjou, who also helms the kitchen in Paris at Villeroy. There, he is known for his vegetable-forward menu, which changes each week and upholds the tenets of classic French technique. While his Marius menu is yet to be revealed, we know he will not be importing any ingredients from France. In New York, as is de rigueur since chefs Daniel Humm and Dan Barber came onto the scene, all produce will be sourced from local farmers.
Overall, the club’s premise plays directly to the strong coterie of Francophiles and Parisians in New York, who celebrate high-brow French hospitality for what it is. Sign up in Paris, and you’re automatically a member in New York? Mais oui, merci.