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L’Hôtel : the past revisited by Jacques Garcia


L’Hôtel, a celebrated location rich in history, recently bought by Jean-Paul Besnard, has been refurbished from top to bottom by the fashionable interior designer, Jacques Garcia. The challenge was complex: how to modernise one of the capital’s legendary hotels whilst retaining all its original character? 

Red marble pillars, warm fabrics, cosy rooms, rich wood, blue mosaic-tiled spa, a lift upholstered like a boudoir... an expert in the art of blending present trends with the accessories, silks, interior decorations and styles of the past, Jacques Garcia has transformed this luxury hotel into an appealing spot cradled in tenderness. All while respecting its traditional origins and introducing a… retro-contemporary spirit. 

The atrium is illuminated by a shaft of light
True, L’Hôtel is like no other hotel. From it’s earliest days, this welcoming haven has greeted the greatest names in literature and the happy few cosmopolitans who passed on its name to select initiates, according to legend this 1816 mansion was built on the site of a house reserved for Queen Margot’s amorous liaisons. 
Much more certain, historically speaking, is the gilt-edged list of figures, a Who’s Who of yesteryear, who frequented the place. Mistinguett swore by its original inside tower, Jorge Luis Borges adored its alcoves conducive to meditation and writing, while Oscar Wilde died here, leaving behind him debts of 2,643.40 FF as well as the infamous phrase: I am dying beyond my means. Could this outcast of society exiled from England by his behaviour deemed amoral and dissolute - that the bedroom he occupied would become, a century later, the emblematic symbol of his final resting-place? Undoubtedly not. But Jacques Garcia recognised the golden legacy of the aristocracy who transited through 13, rue des Beaux-Arts.
The Hôtel restaurant, le Bélier, unveils to you the secrets of an outstanding culinary repertoire, in a flamboyant-style salon. 
Not one of the 20 bedrooms is identical. Each possesses its own character, with furniture inherited from the past or unearthed in antique shops. Hung with red fabric decorated with a fresco of emerald peacocks, furnished in the fin-de-siècle spirit so dear to its occupant’s heart, its walls dotted with original texts by the writer himself, the Oscar Wilde bedroom opens onto the glassed patio. 

More extravagant, the Mistinguett room, very 1930s, invites guests to sleep in the singer’s own bed, panelled with art deco mirrors donated by the star’s heirs. One can also fall asleep in a Chinese room, where even the bathroom is adorned with Oriental antiques, or in the small Bamboo room, which speaks for itself... 

Draped all in red, Oscar Wilde’s room is a tribute to this writer who’s finished his days at L’Hôtel. It opens onto the glassed patio
But sleeping is not all. To exotic dreams, L’Hôtel adds the delights of fine food. In the Le Bélier restaurant, exquisitely run by top chef Jean Achard, the cuisine is a refined menu of delicacy and savours. Green bean salad and white truffle julienne, scallops in thin pastry shells served with parsley chantilly, bass fillet with fennel sauerkraut, or sea bream with peppered coffee sauce. A brand-new star worthy of noting, all the more so considering its extremely reasonable prices. And veritable confirmation of Oscar Wilde’s maxim, which seems to apply to the whole of L’Hôtel: One can resist anything but temptation.
USEFUL INFORMATION
 
L'Hôtel
13, rue des Beaux-Arts
Paris 6e

Tel. 01 44 41 99 00
Fax: 01 43 25 64 81
 
   
WEBSITE
  l-hotel.com