©LE CARLTON|Cindy Michaud


At the head of the palaces

The Carlton had a sumptuous existence but was disrupted by the two world wars. Requisitioned as a hospital in 1914, then as the headquarters of several ministries in 1940, designed by Joseph Aletti, it was the palace of the international jet set, ahead of the Negresco and the Ritz in its fame. A Vichy establishment inhabited by history and by history.

From 1840 to 1912

The Guillermen

Before becoming the Carlton, in 1912, it was the Guillermen hotel which was already classified, in the XIXth, in the series of the luxury hotels of Vichy: one finds trace of its prestigious guests who stay in the thermal city: countess, viscount, marquis, baron, colonel, adviser to the court of Russia near the Tsar, etc. A new life began in 1912 for the Guillermen, acquired by Joseph Aletti, manager of the Société des grands hôtels de Vichy. He undertook a large-scale restructuring with a new neo-classical façade decorated with balconies and loggias. This eight-story renaissance consists of 300 rooms and 250 bathrooms. The interior decoration was adapted to the new trends but the Carlton was stopped in its splendid momentum by the declaration of the First World War. It was requisitioned as a temporary hospital from August 22, 1914 until December 12, 1916.



The most expensive palace in France

After this world conflict, the project conceived by the businessman Aletti became a reality. The palace attracted the international jet set becoming the most expensive hotel in France before the Ritz in Paris or the Negresco in Nice. The Carlton symbolizes fashion and elegance. Because of its notoriety, it is a meeting place for spa enthusiasts, golfers, horse lovers, casino goers, show goers and socialites. Some of them travel on the London-Vichy pullman-express. The reputation of the Carlton’s table delights the gourmets. Menus displayed in the lobby of the Residence testify that luxury was also in the plates.


in place of the customer

But all this life of luxury is going to be stopped again by History. The Carlton was requisitioned in July 1940. The ministries and secretariats of state of the Pétain government moved in: Finance, Taxes and Treasuries, Foreign Trade, Customs, Justice, etc. After the war, the Carlton resumed its activity until 1959, but part of the establishment, which had become a three-star hotel, was transformed into apartments. Then, this palace became a condominium, divided into 70 units: the residence Le Carlton.

Genesis of Vichy Laboratories

The first "Secrets of Vichy" at the Carlton

In the 1930s, Dr. Haller, director of the great spa, drew on the qualities of Vichy water, particularly its mineral content, to exploit this natural treasure. He created the Société d’hygiènerie dermatologique source de beauté and innovated with a range of “Secrets of Vichy” treatments for different skin types. At the same time, he offered “La femme à la source” beauty treatments, setting up his first institute in 1934 at the Carlton. This was a strategic choice since the clientele of this palace, from all over the world, contributed to the international reputation of the Vichy brand. Since then, bought by L’Oréal, the cosmetic products are still designed according to a unique manufacturing process in the factory located a few kilometers from Vichy.