Philippe Leboeuf – Vice-President of Operations, General Manager at Mandarin Oriental, Paris
Read our exclusive interview with Mandarin Oriental, Paris’ Philippe Leboeuf for a glimpse into life behind the scenes at one of the city’s “Palace” hotels. You’ll also get an insider’s take on some the best things to do out and about in the city, with, or without, a dog named Archie.
What’s the X factor of your business?
Mandarin Oriental, Paris represents a celebration of the French capital today, inspired by fashion and artistic creativity and underpinned by the brand’s legendary service. Our passionate staff offer sincere and warm service, goodwill and spontaneity. In a nutshell, we offer French elegance combined with Oriental heritage.
The team undergoes regular training to maintain the standards and values of the group. Another real advantage is that the hotel and its facilities are modern, as is the service we offer: the spa, the two restaurants, the hotel bar, the new L’Honoré outlet and the garden all contribute to making the hotel a unique place.
On the trendy and vibrant Rue Saint-Honoré, the property exudes the luxury and culture of this time-honoured ‘quartier’, and that of Paris itself, being right in the heart of the fashion district and close to some of the city’s best-known museums.
The hotel benefits from the attractiveness of its two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx, which offers a cuisine firmly anchored in the spirit of the Mandarin Oriental brand.
Finally, we are honoured to be the first hotel in France to receive France’s HQE (high-quality environment) certification, indicating that the building meets the highest environmental standards both in the short term and in the long run, meaning our guests should sleep healthier and happier now and in years to come.
Your most memorable moment spent at work?
As a Frenchman I’m never short of a story, so while there are are many I could mention, a few stand out. Beginning with the opening of the hotel in June 2011, and the inauguration gala in September that year. We hosted many fascinating people, including movie stars and celebrities: the actor Liam Neeson, designer Kenzo Takada and the classical pianist Hélène Grimaud, to name a few – and opinion-leaders from the fashion industry.
Six months later, Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx earned two Michelin stars – a great achievement in such a short period.
Then there was the all-encompassing Victoria’s Secret event, with some of the most beautiful women on the planet participating, including Lily Aldridge, Alessandra Ambrosio, Bella and Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.
And finally, we were awarded Palace Distinction status in July 2014, only three years after opening. We are very proud to have achieved such high-quality service, positioning Mandarin Oriental, Paris among the best hotels in the ‘city of light’.
There’s never a dull moment here. There have been many great achievements, and I recognise and acknowledge the daily commitment of each employee in upholding standards that match those of the worldwide reputation of Mandarin Oriental.
If you have a day off with nothing planned, where would you go?
I would go home to the Vosges region in the north-east of France. I often fly across the continent and rarely get the time to stop by my home town. But I love to go back and stay at the Hotel Les Bas-Rupts in Gérardmer to rejuvenate. The food, under the direction of the Michelin-starred chef Michel Philippe, is excellent and the surroundings are glorious. I see myself going for a tandem bicycle ride with my fiancée, or for a walk in the forest with Archie, my beloved border terrier.
What’s the hippest attraction near you?
As Mandarin Oriental, Paris is within a stone’s throw of the city’s greatest houses of culture, there’s so much to do in the vicinity. The spectacular collections of the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and L’Orangerie are well known, but the Musée des Arts Decoratifs has some fascinating and well-curated shows, so there’s always something new. I would highly recommend the current Dior exhibit, a retrospective of one of the geniuses of French fashion, with its priceless collection demonstrating the genesis behind his groundbreaking style.
Tell us about the coolest place to spend a few hours near you and why?
One of my great passions is cycling. In fact, not only do I ride my trusty Gazelle to work in rain, sleet or snow, but on my days off I enjoy riding around Paris, especially to the Bois de Boulogne and sometimes even further away. I often take my companion, Archie (really, he’s like my child), and put on his Goyard collar to tour the streets of our magical city, a museum in itself.
If I’m on foot, I head to the Bois de Boulogne and visit the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris’s newest house of contemporary art, both for the stunning Frank Gehry architecture as well as the interesting exhibitions from the world’s greatest creators.
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