Madame de Pompadour Slept Here
|The lobby of the Hôtel Duo, decorated by designer Jean-Philippe Nuel.|
Until recently, Paris’s Marais neighborhood has been surprisingly short on agreeable mid-range hotels suitable for both tourists and businesspeople, but that is beginning to change. Two formerly nondescript hotels in the heart of the quarter have now been combined into one and been given a complete overhaul and designer treatment to create the Hôtel Duo. With 58 rooms, including junior suites and one full-size suite, the Duo is one of the larger hotels in the area.
Designer Jean-Philippe Nuel has gone all out in the hotel’s lobby, bar and breakfast room, decorating them with anis-green and black-and-white hounds-tooth sofas, and oversized lamps with enormous flower-patterned brown shades. He has left the original wooden beams in place and turned a small courtyard into a glassed-in patio.
The more subdued modern decor of the most recently decorated guestrooms, in shades of beige and brown, has an extremely restful feel that adds to the hotel’s overall feeling of calm, in spite of its location on a busy corner. These quiet tones are livened up by occasional touches of color: turquoise blue on the brown wallpaper in some rooms, burgundy bedcovers in the rooms redecorated three years ago, and bright splashes of color in arty photos by Charlotte Feuillet. Some of the rooms and junior suites have staircases to create different levels, while others have mirrored windows between bathroom and sitting room. The full-size suite features an enormous bathtub and its own patio, furnished with deck chairs and a gigantic lamp.
In addition to all the usual amenities (high-speed Internet access, Wi-Fi, mini-bars, in-room safes, etc.), the hotel has a decent fitness room with weight-lifting equipment and a choice of three workout machines, and a good-sized sauna. The rooms are rather spacious by Paris standards and have very generous closet space.
A rarity in the hotel world, the Duo remains independent. Run by women from the same family for four generations, it is now managed by Véronique Turmel, whose great-grandmother arrived penniless in Paris from the Auvergne in 1920 and borrowed money to buy a hotel.
The Duo’s bar, open to the public from 6 p.m. to midnight, is a perfect hideaway for discreet conversations or business meetings away from the brouhaha of the neighborhoods’ cafés and restaurants
And La Pompadour? Guests at the duo can climb the same staircase, with a handsome (classified) 18th-century wrought-iron banister, that was once used by Louis XV’s famous mistress.
Hôtel Duo: 11, rue du Temple, 75004 Paris. Métro: Hôtel de Ville. Tel.: 01 42 72 72 22. Fax: 01 42 72 03 53. Rooms: €115-€300. Junior suite: €320. Suite: €400.
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