Last July, the Hotel de Crillon, which sits on Paris’s Place de la Concorde, reopened after four years of renovation. Step inside and you will discover luxurious rooms and suites, an immaculately white spa, a swimming pool lined with ceramic fish scales, and a hair salon with a magnificent view over a tree-shaded court. David Lucas has taken charge of this extraordinary salon. But does a hotel salon have the same requirements and the same clientele as his own salon? Here’s the story.
A Clear Career Path
Clients are plentiful at David Lucas’s salon – it’s been busy since it opened in 2008. It’s a former apartment turned into a hair salon on the top floor of a posh apartment building a few meters from the very fashionable Place du Marché Saint-Honoré in Paris. As a child David, originally from Arcachon, trimmed everything in his garden, and went on to not stray far from his calling. With a diploma in hand, he did his military service tending a bar and then as a hair stylist, beginning work at a salon in Bordeaux. At the age of 25, he left for Paris and began working at René Furterer. He combined cuts and coloring for 10 years there. Always an ambitious man, he left his employer to open his own salon. “I left Chez René Furterer 13 days before opening my salon. You lose clients if you are closed for three months,” recalls the hair stylist and businessman.
“From the beginning, I located the salon at the address I’m still in, but on the floor below. When I arrived in Paris, my Bordeaux and Parisian clientele followed me from Bordeaux to Paris and I was successful from the start. Also, at the time, very few hair salons were located in an apartment. Word of mouth worked really well.”
The Keys To Success: Décor, Team Training, Salon Philosophy
To transform this 150 sq m area into a modern and authentic hair salon with oak floor paneling, moldings and marble, David undertook six months of work costing €450,000.
“Whether it was the location of the salon or the work itself, I did not spare any expense. When clients enter the salon, they know where they are.”
On the other side of the landing, David has just opened an 80 sq m annex to make this salon less crowded. To the question of how to explain his success, David explains that one must never leave anything to chance: “You have to be good everywhere and make the client’s life easier. Both my team and I try to be welcoming – we take pride in the reception area as much as the hair style. We do soft square cuts and layered cuts. We are not at all like Vidal Sassoon, even if the style inevitably comes back into fashion. Also, you have to think about timing. Never be late and never proceed way too long on the service you are proposing. That would be a mess for your reputation and organization!”
A Hair Salon As An Integral Part Of Hotels
From Tokyo to Paris to Rio de Janeiro, five stars hotels all have an integrated own hair salon.
“The hair salon is now an indispensable service in a luxury hotel, the same as a spa or a swimming pool,” explains Elcie Ounsamone, in charge of press relations for the Hotel de Crillon.
He follows: “In a number of hotels in the Rosewood Hotels & Resorts Group (this group now runs the five-star hotel that is still the property of the Saudi prince Mutaib Ben Abdullah Ben Abdulaziz), the hair salon is a service integrated into the concept of our spas.” The choice of David Lucas to run our hair salon was a natural one. “Loved by celebrities and admired by his clients, our choice of David proved to be the obvious one, for he has an inborn passion for hairstyling. His accessible personality that attracts human contact has gifted him with remarkable abilities to listen and to advise. Convinced that a change in hairstyle is the beginning of a new life, he makes every effort to help men and women define their personality, affirm their character and express themselves.”
Forming A Team
“You have to make the salon work not just for the hotel guests”, says David Lucas. “There are 128 rooms and suites, but how many guests will come to the salon? Plus, most of the time, the ladies staying at the hotel will only come for a manicure, a blow-dry or a little extension. The New Yorker or the lady from Hong Kong will get her color done before her trip to Paris. So, you have to make the salon work mostly for a Parisian clientele. At the Crillon, I have three hair stylists and one manicurist. Dorian wanted to work at the Crillon, and he joined with all his clients. I hired Rachida, who talks about Arabic literature. She came from Massato and has already mastered all the luxury techniques. It is important to have a woman because a man cannot work on the hair of a veiled woman; so I thought of adding a private hair cabin. And then there is Joseph, who can do the blow-dry from Room 118 right away.” For David Lucas fans, they can always have their hair done by David in person, who styles at the Crillon one day per week, earning 20 per cent more than at his salon in the Rue Danielle Casanova.
For David Lucas, his arrival at the Crillon has been experienced as an acknowledgement from France and from Paris. He loves working in this “magnificent salon. It is magical for us as well as for the clients”.