To mark IWD 2022, we’ve chosen a number of truly inspirational career women and female founders to feature. Here Leslie Kouhana, President of Maisons Pariente, shares her journey and some excellent advice.
Leslie Kouhana grew up in Paris and is the oldest of four siblings. After studying finance, Leslie specialised in real estate and is now the President of Maisons Pariente. For the past 17 years Leslie has overseen the real estate investments of the family-owned company. A couple of years ago, an opportunity arose to diversify into luxury hospitality, a sector that has always fascinated Leslie; and alongside her father, property entrepreneur Patrick Pariente, and sister Kimberley Cohen, they created Maisons Pariente, a boutique luxury 5* hotel collection which was established in 2019 and which offers guests exclusive escapes to beautiful properties in stunning French destinations. This collection of timeless hideaways combines chic design, complete privacy and attentive but discreet service, offering the ultimate French getaway from sea to snow. The portfolio includes Crillon Le Brave in Provence, Hotel Lou Pinet in Saint-Tropez, Hotel Le Coucou in Meribel and a brand new hotel opening in Paris in October 2022, Le Grand Mazarin. All hotels have been designed by international famed designers, from Charles Zana to Pierre Yovanovitch.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
Maisons Pariente is a family-owned French luxury hotel collection that was born from the desire to explore a bold new design of the hotel experience. Maisons Pariente offers a different kind of hospitality, as if you were at home, by creating a different story in legendary places, with attentive and discreet service, family values, generosity, sincerity and an anticipation of customer needs.
As of today, the collection is composed of three hotels. Crillon Le Brave is a hideaway in Provence located at the top of a magnificent medieval village facing Mont-Ventoux. The hotel is a peaceful haven where our guests come to seek the quiet, charm and authenticity of southern France. Lou Pinet is located in the most famous French village, Saint-Tropez. The hotel style echoes the vintage Saint-Tropez spirit of the 60’s and 70’s. Le Coucou is located in Meribel, directly on the slopes and in the heart of the three Valleys, one of the largest ski domains in Europe. The hotel has panoramic views across the stunning slopes and mixes traditional alpine style with a twisted contemporary design. We will shortly be adding a fourth hotel to the collection, with the opening of Le Grand Mazarin in Paris set for October 2022.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
My family was initially in the clothing industry; my father was the Co-Founder of the brand Naf Naf and when he sold his company he invested in real estate. Hospitality was the logical move for us. What is most fascinating about this industry is all the work that goes on behind each project. This industry allowed us to combine all our competences, we associated our taste of design and fashion, our skills of anticipating customer needs, our passion for travel, our expertise of real estate and of course our love of hosting, conviviality and feeling a sense of togetherness.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
Every new project is a challenge. We set goals and move forward. When we decided to create our hotel collection, our first challenge was to surround ourselves with talent, to seek out skills in the various fields of the hotel industry to enable us to lay the foundations of the house. We did not come from the hospitality field and even if I sincerely think that it is also our strength, it was a huge challenge to create a collection, a brand that conveys our values and our vision of the hotel industry. Once the pillars were in place, we were able to carry out the development, both on Maisons Pariente and on all the hotels in the collection. Today, we are one big family and our teams and ourselves are working in the same direction with the ambition of becoming a reference in the world of 5-star hotels.
What are your plans now/for the future?
We are opening Le Grand Mazarin in Le Marais in Paris this Autumn. In this creative and vibrant neighbourhood, where cutting-edge trends and new avant-garde concepts are constantly emerging, Le Grand Mazarin is at the epicentre of the excitement. Located at the corner of rue des Archives and rue de la Verrerie, near the Hôtel de Ville, the first urban hotel of the collection embodies the cosmopolitan eclecticism emblematic of Le Marais.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
Every day is a celebration, always pursue your dreams
Surround yourself with the right people and talent, and trust others to help your vision come to fruition
Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?
Audrey Hepburn, for her class and elegance, and whose beauty spans the ages
Elon Musk for being a visionary and his ability to undertake a multitude of extremely innovative fields
Wim Hof for controlling his body temperature through meditation and breathing. This is proof that we do not use all the faculties of our brain
Simone Weil who embodies a lot. A survivor of the Shoah, a woman of influence at a time when there were very few women in politics, a woman who fought for women
Alexis Michalik, director and producer for his talent and creativity.
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?
- Maisons Pariente website: https://www.maisonspariente.com/en/
- Maisons Pariente Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maisonspariente/?hl=en
- Maisons Pariente Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maisonsparientehotels/