Haute Hotels

Courtesy Cheval Blanc Randheli

LVMH looks to expand its foray into hospitality.

If anyone knows the power of a brand, it would be Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH Möet Hennessy–Louis Vuitton. So when he launched the company’s hospitality arm, he called it Cheval Blanc, after LVMH’s prized Bordeaux vineyard. Like a wink among the initiated, Cheval Blanc signifies the best of French taste for those who don’t have to ask the price. The first hotel opened in 2006 as a discreet alpine retreat in Courchevel, and the group has since expanded with Randheli (pictured), a knockout private-island escape in the Maldives, and last October’s takeover of St. Barths’s beloved Isle de France. So what’s next? LVMH is working on a $575 million con­version of the Parisian department store La Samaritaine to include a hotel. Projects in Mexico and Egypt have been explored and then delayed, but a spot in Oman is being considered and rumors are swirling around a Thai outpost. Just as with a couture collection, all designs will be kept strictly under wraps until the moment of unveiling.