Shutting a hotel down for two years is a bold move. That’s 730 days of lost revenue. But when you are one of the preeminent hotels in Paris, in one of the most desirable locations, money isn’t always an issue.
Prince de Galles, which was originally built in 1929 by André Arfvidson, in the Art-Deco design of the day, will reopen this month after a head-to-toe renovation by Pierre-Yves Rochon (rooms and public spaces) and Bruno Borrione (restaurant and bar). The makeover is part of part of a more than $200-million investment by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and its owners to restore some of its most iconic European hotels under the Luxury Collection label. These include Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville, Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastian and the Gritti Palace in Venice.
The last renovation of the hotel was in the mid-90s, so, according to Rochon, “it was important to renovate to be on par with the local Parisian market.” That said, Rochon promises that the hotel will be like none other in Paris. It will take its cues from the original Art-Deco design of Arfvidson.
“No hotel in Paris is decorated in this style,” Rochon said of the 1930s architectural design that the hotel’s rebirth takes. “From an aesthetical, historical and marketing point of view, it became obvious that this was the driving design theme to take.”
|Art Deco Deluxe Guest Room|
“There is a lot of heritage,” said the hotel’s GM, Simon Rusconi. “What we did with this renovation was we restored it to its original heritage of Art-Deco deco design. We moved from classical design back to Art Deco. We know it’s going to set up a new benchmark for luxury hotels.”
That heritage Rusconi alludes to was the driving force in the redesign—the way in which to rediscover the hotel’s original identity. “It was the guiding direction,” said Rochon. He was able to do this by re-introducing such touches as mosaics in all bathrooms. “Another main idea in the lobby was to go back to the origins by using metalwork on the elevators facades,” he added.
In order to achieve the Art Deco feel, Rochon used materials and fabrics typical of that time period (think Makassar ebony and Saint Laurent marble). “We paid extra attention to the simplest details of the interior design in order to be faithful to the true Art Deco architectural spirit,” Rochon said.
|Macassar Suite living room|
The hotel actually reduced capacity, paring its guestroom count in order to add more suite accommodations. And although the hotel harks back to another era, Rusconi made sure that all rooms had the technology of today. “It’s all the latest,” he said. “You’re going to come with your iPod or your smart phone; all the technology is there. And it’s so important now. It’s almost as important to me as the room design.”
So was lighting, which helped to reinforce the design concept. “Beautifully lit rooms and public areas help to shape the general atmosphere of the hotel,” Rochon said. “We pay extra attention in our selections by using punctuated directional lighting at art, beautifully color silk shades and a careful selection of table lamps.”
Instances of bespoke furniture also dot the hotel. Guestroom desks were especially designed for the Prince de Galles and are “a good example of the simplicity of uncluttered lines—a mix between the 30s and contemporary style,” Rochon said.
|Interior garden, Le Patio|
A pair of tall cabinets in the one-bedroom suites is also significant of the furniture style. Once the cabinet doors open, the guest can access the mini-bar on one side, and a writing desk opposite.
The overall color scheme of the hotel is brown and beige with pops of orange celadon, blue and purple, which “make the rooms come alive,” Rochon said.
Name of Project: Prince de Galles Owner: Moussalam family Operator: Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Interior designer (rooms and public spaces): Pierre-Yves Rochon Interior designer (restaurant and bar): Bruno Borrione Architecture: Ertim Purchasing: Argenta Projects GC: Bouygues Landscape: Manière Interior fit-out: Balas Lighting consultant: Douet Lighting: Andromeda, Delisle, Bronze d’Art francais, Targetti Poulsen, Porta Romana, Artemis Design Acoustics: Peutz Carpeting: Tai Pin, Brintons, Codimat Hardwood: Duriez Wallcoverings: Vescom, Cole and Sons, Majilite, Osborne & Little, J Josephson, Sanderson Tile/Mosaic: Sicis Millwork/Casegoods: Les ateliers du marais Task chairs/Desks: Usine Bureau Door locks: VingCard Elsafe