Maison Sisley is a slice of spa heaven in Paris
The first thing that catches my eye when I walk into the Maison Sisley spa in Paris is not the exquisitely packaged lotions and potions scattered on countertops like so many petits bonbons, nor the glittering bottles of fragrance that line the shelves. It’s the giant zebra and pair of preening pea hens that grace a plump sofa and pair of chairs that have been hand-painted by the Polish artist Krystyna Radziwill to add a sense of whimsy and warmth to the reception area.Moving into the lounge, I sink into India Mahdavi’s Jetlag couch. The strikingly contemporary and colourful Moon chandelier by Dimore Studio in Milan hangs above a handwoven Indian floor rug, lush potted plants and a rotating collection of contemporary art. It feels more like a chic but cosy home than a beauty parlour – and that’s because, in a way, it is.
Countess Isabelle d’Ornano, the matriarch and co-owner of Sisley, the French luxury skincare brand she built with her late husband, Count Hubert d’Ornano and now runs with their children, has personally furnished the space at 5 Avenue de Friedland (8th Arr.). It has been lavishly decorated with items from her own home and impressive art collection that runs from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Chris Ofili and Marc Quinn.That home, on the Quai d’Orsay on the Left Bank in Paris, had been fitted out by Henri Samuel (a favourite of Rothschilds and Vanderbilts). Countess d’Ornano, descended from Poland’s Queen Barbara Radziwill, has brought the same eclectic aesthetic to the Sisley spa just across the Seine, which she has decorated with her daughter Christine d’Ornano, who is Sisley’s global vice president.
“We wanted it to feel like a home and to be warm and welcoming,” says Christine d’Ornano. “We have filled it with objects we love, some of them belonging to my mother, and called upon artists we like to design special pieces for it. It is luxurious and comfortable at the same time.” Luxury and comfort also infuse the five treatment rooms, where one can stare at the gently pulsing LED-lit ceilings depicting ginkgo biloba leaves (one of the hero ingredients in Sisley products), cossetted by walls covered with pastel Italian mosaics and silvery ‘Cells’ wallpaper created in 1874 by Atelier d’Offard in Tours. As for the treatments themselves, they feature an exceptional level of customer service.
Countess Isabelle d’Ornano and Christine d’Ornano
Where most therapists begin by handing you a form to fill in, my Sisley therapist asks the obligatory questions – “How is your skin feeling?”, “Do you have any allergies?” – while completing it for me. She asks me to select from three types of music (classical, relaxing or jazz) and to choose a Sisley candle to burn during my treatment. I opt for relaxing music and a rose fragrance, and inform her that I’ve just stepped off a long-haul flight. She recommends the City-Dwellers Treatment, a customisable face and body treatment designed for maximum benefits in minimum time, which in my case is one hour. Like all the treatments, mine incorporates Sisley products based on the principle of “phyto-cosmetology”, which relates to using botanical extracts and essential oils to create beauty products. Natural plant extracts infuse every product in the Sisley range, which is probably why they smell so heavenly, and best-sellers include the Émulsion Écologique, Crème Réparatrice and the Black Rose line of products, which enjoys a cult following around the world.
My treatment begins with a deep cleanse before a mini facial employing a rich masque, facial oil and a deeply hydrating day cream to return moisture to my parched visage, before a decadent head, shoulder and body massage irons out the kinks from the journey. The City-Dwellers treatment is one of four Paris Exclusives experiences unique to the Maison Sisley (treatments using Sisley products are offered in other spas around the world), and the Paris spa also offers an assortment of face and body treatments, a makeup service, and naturopathy and wellness consultations.“We wanted a space in Paris that would embody the brand and immerse our customers in our universe,” Christine d’Ornano explains.Maison Sisley is the latest evolution for the brand founded in 1976 that has developed into a global beauty empire. Sisley’s annual sales now exceed €750 million from skin and body care, fragrance and makeup lines – and it remains a family-owned company.
“It gives us great freedom to make the products we want to make and to take our time, to work closely with our scientists and to launch only what we feel is best,” d’Ornano says.
“My father together with my mother created the brand, my brother now runs it and I work alongside him. We all bring different attributes to the business and it is a wonderful adventure to work together.”