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Step Inside the Completely Reimagined Disneyland Paris Hotel with Dorra Zarrouk

After a complete reimagining, the hotel at Disneyland Paris is the place where Dorra Zarrouk’s dreams can come true.

Dress, Giambattista Valli Couture; scarf, Tony Ward; Nil Blanc necklace in white gold, blue, and yellow sapphires, emeralds, tsavorite garnets, green garnets, and diamonds, Van Cleef & Arpels. Photo: Sebastian Böttcher

Tunisian actor Dorra Zarrouk recalls a moment dear to her when she was in the heart of the Magic Kingdom. “There were many little girls dressed as princesses at the hotel, they were all so sweet. When they saw me posing in a big dress, one of them exclaimed, ‘She’s the princess!’ Another said, ‘No, she’s the queen!’ and another still said, ‘No, she’s Sleeping Beauty!’ They thought I was a character, and it brought a smile to my face to see the admiration in their eyes. The actor, who just finished the series The Guilt alongside Hany Salama and Maged Al Masry and who is now filming a new series, Ethbet Nassab, shares, “I love to dive into the dream of the imaginary world. The real world is so hard that it’s essential to sometimes escape with innocence to imagine a more beautiful one.”

Photo: Sebastian Böttcher

When American film and television producer Walt Disney envisioned the theme park that would bear his name, he described it as “a happy place – a place where adults and children can experience together some of the wonders of life.”

This simple yet ambitious goal guided the creation of Disneyland, which opened in Southern California in 1955, and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida in 1971. Disneyland Paris opened its doors in 1992, with a similar layout to the original park, comprising 49 attractions spread over more than 56 hectares and divided into five themed lands: Main Street USA, Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Discoveryland.

Dress, Antonio Grimaldi. Photo: Sebastian Böttcher

Disney believed his parks to be works in progress indefinitely. “Disneyland is something that will never be finished,” he once said. “It will be a live, breathing thing that will need change.” It therefore comes as no surprise that the five-star flagship hotel of Disneyland Paris (which is situated around 40km from the French capital) recently underwent a transformation that immerses guests in Disney’s signature storytelling with an emphasis on royal tales. Renowned for their expertise in a wide range of fine arts, including tapestry, carpentry, weaving, glassmaking, and porcelain, more than 200 French and European companies worked on this massive two-year project.

Photo: Sebastian Böttcher

The objective of mesmerizing visitors – from the youngest children to the most discerning adults – guided the entire process. The showstopper that greets guests immediately takes the form of a “monumental chandelier made of Bohemian crystal that represents Sleeping Beauty Castle,” as described by Xavier Louyot, Disney’s director of hotels & resorts product. “With its nearly 12,000 glass elements, it travels all the way up to the wood and marble mezzanine and awes our guests the moment they enter the lobby.” Designed as an elegant lounge that takes on a blue hue complemented by fleur-de-lis motifs and a dramatic cathedral ceiling, the atmosphere in the new central rotunda also catches the eye.

Dress, Rami Al Ali; shoes, Christian Louboutin; Flocon earrings in white gold with diamonds, Van Cleef & Arpels. Photo: Sebastian Böttcher

In the continuation of the captivating public areas, the 487 rooms and suites of the Disneyland Hotel carry their own magic. Each is an invitation to sleep like royalty, thanks to the ornamentation and color schemes. Those who want to immerse themselves in some of the most popular Disney Animation Studios films can choose between the universes of Aladdin, where a magic lamp is woven into the carpet; Tangled, featuring a golden mirror frame that recalls Rapunzel’s hair; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Princess and the Frog, Frozen, Moana, and Raya and the Last Dragon. Meanwhile, with their illuminated canopies above the beds, the enveloping 82 Deluxe rooms (up to 40.7sqm each) are adorned with soft pearly and powdery colors to provide a magical and unforgettable bedtime ritual experience.

The restaurant La Table de Lumière. Photo: Sebastian Böttcher

The Castle Club on the top two floors was imagined as a hotel within a hotel, with a dedicated check-in area and private elevator that leads to 41 Castle Club rooms. In addition, the 16 signature suites, overseen by Paris-based Atelier Bournillat, include the Cinderella ones (three in total) that were inspired by the famous character’s home and imagined as a boudoir with a pink bedroom and blue and ivory living room complemented with details such as Cinderella’s ball gown and glass slipper. Echoing Rapunzel’s story, the Sundrop flower lets its power shine in the four Rapunzel Signature Suites decorated with hints of purple. Finally, two unique 1,116- and 1,206sqm suites are the cherry on the cake. The Princely Suite features lavish baroque decor and a lounge-turned-ballroom that pays tribute to Beauty and the Beast, while the Royal Suite’s silvers and blues transport guests to Elsa’s Ice Palace from Frozen, where a balcony overlooks the park’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Coat, dress, Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda; Flocon earrings in white gold with diamonds, Van Cleef & Arpels. Photo: Sebastian Böttcher

Eating, too, is an opportunity to be amazed. “In the Royal Banquet restaurant, our guests are invited to attend a feast in a gallery of paintings portraying many Disney royal families,” says Louyot. The space evokes the opulence of a castle’s reception room, while including images of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Prince John from Robin Hood, and Kronk from The Emperor’s New Groove. “To represent the DunBroch clan from the Disney Pixar film Brave, Imagineers created a one-of-a-kind tapestry in collaboration with craftsmen from Tissage des Flandres, a workshop in northern France that has been creating high-quality tapestries for more than 130 years.”

Photo: Sebastian Böttcher

At the restaurant La Table de Lumière, the French fine dining menu is complemented by elegant tableware, including rose-emblazoned China and thorn-themed napkin rings, paying homage to the ballroom scene from Beauty and the Beast – which was in turn inspired by the spectacular Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. In addition to two exquisite lounges, the Fleur de Lys Bar, which serves snacks and drinks, is the best place to enjoy a view of the hotel’s Fantasia Gardens. With the Legacy statue on one end and a Mickey Mouse floral portrait on the other, a central pond and water features make this green area located at the entrance to the park an exotic venue.

While the Disneyland Hotel evolves, the spirit of its debut is well preserved. “The magic remains the same,” notes Louyot.

Dorra Zarrouk wears dress, Ziad Nakad. Photo: Sebastian Böttcher

To connect with the fairytale ambience, Story Keepers tours uncover the hotel’s hidden details and gems, while La Troupe Royale Disney’s surprise theatrical performances – where a duo of comedians sing along or play interactive royal tales – are designed to delight, along with Disney characters. Inevitably, little ones are pampered with access to the first ever Disneyland Hotel Spa by Clarins and the pool. An array of treatments is available for adults, while children can try the Mirror Mirror Facial. Families can also enjoy treatments together. Should parents prefer to enjoy the spa alone, children can visit the dedicated kids’ club.

Photo: Sebastian Böttcher

“Designed as a magical and interactive library, the Royal Kids Club invites children to unlock cherished Disney stories thanks to augmented reality and creative ateliers,” describes Louyot. “My Royal Dream allows our young guests to transform themselves into a princess or a prince and reveal their inner royalty in a professional studio.”

Dress, Rami Al Ali; Legend of Diamonds Nuée de diamants necklace in yellow gold with diamonds, Van Cleef & Arpels. Photo: Sebastian Böttcher

All the details and considerations that have been put into this renovation pay homage to the Disney founder. “Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning, together with every variety of recreation and fun designed to appeal to everyone,” Disney once said. “I don’t want the public to see the world they live in while they’re in the park. I want to feel like they’re in another world.” The newly transformed resort certainly honors this idea. “The Disneyland Hotel is just the latest milestone in our multi-year plan,” says Louyot. “This is not the last transformation.”

Photo: Sebastian Böttcher

Conceived to make all family members dream, no matter their age, the European flagship puts entertainment and relaxation on the top of the list. “Everybody in the world was once a child,” said Disney. “We grow up. Our personalities change, but in every one of us something remains of our childhood.” This hotel serves to remind guests just that.

The entrance lobby at Disneyland Hotel in Paris. Photo: Sebastian Böttcher

Originally published in the Spring/Summer 2024 issue of Vogue Living Arabia

Style: Pablo Patanè
Hair: Marc Orsatelli
Makeup: Alisonn Fetouaki
Nails: Philippe Ovak
Producer: Danica Zivkovic
Local producer: Julia Ibatullina
Photography assistant: Aleksei Kostromin
Style assistants: Jordan Renou, Seba Diwani

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