A corner of the lobby in this new Paris boutique hotel. Photo: Gilles Trillard
To the regret of some nostalgic types, many of Paris’s fusty old low-star hotels in odd locations are being transformed into little havens of design in “off-the-beaten-track” (sounds cooler than “out-of-the-way”) neighborhoods. While we will always remember fondly the funky charms of the first hotel we stayed in Paris, however, we can’t always regret them (I will never forget that one-star room lit by a single fly-specked hanging light bulb or the no-heat-in-January hostel in the Latin Quarter).
Most of the new crop of revamped relics I’ve seen have had fun, quirky yet thoughtful decors, without neglecting the creature comforts. The Joyce is an especially fine example. Located in a quiet residential area not far from the hopping hip Hôtel Amour, between Pigalle and the Opéra Garnier, it is not too far from the center of Paris but is not particularly well-served by public transportation. The neighborhood has its own charms, however, and is known as the New Athens because many of its artistic 19th-century inhabitants, including George Sand, had a taste for Antiquity.
The hotel itself is jam-packed with amusing design touches. If the pattern of the carpeting in your room, for example, looks oddly familiar, it’s because when architect/designer Philippe Maidenberg was looking for inspiration, he happened to be staring at his pant leg. He scanned the fine houndstooth-check of his trousers and had it transformed into handsome carpeting.
The reception desk is a clever construction of red and white model Eiffel Towers, and the light-filled breakfast room in a glass-roofed former
The breakfast room, complete with vintage BMW bucket seats. Photo: Gilles Trillard
courtyard is furnished with a row of comfy old BMW bucket seats, facing a row of handsome Thonet chairs, designed by Eddie Harlis in 1954. The cloud-shaped light hanging from the ceiling changes shape as it gently inflates and deflates, while the fluffy clouds in what initially appear to be photos of bright blue skies, when observed closely, turn out to be sailing slowly across a video screen.
The comfortable rooms, all with slightly different decors and color schemes, also have their share of wry design touches. The wall behind each bed, for example, is decorated with trompe-l’œil
One of the bedrooms. Photo: Gilles Trillard
headboards, chandeliers and bookshelves. Furniture is by such names as Jasper Conran for Designers Guild, Phlippe Starck, Mosh-Umbra and Fornasetti. All the rooms are equipped with an iPod station, and the top-floor suite, with a high, beamed ceiling and a view over the rooftops of Paris, has its own espresso machine.
The eco-conscious Joyce has taken measures to reduce electricity and water consumption and uses eco-friendly cleaning products. Bathrooms are stocked with organic products, and breakfasts are also organic.
Joyce Hôtel: 29 rue La Bruyère, 75009 Paris. Tel.: 01 55 07 00 01. Fax: 01 55 07 00 11. E-mail: email@example.com. 44 rooms, including one junior suite, and three wheelchair-accessible rooms. Room rates: €160-€280. Suite: €380. Free Wi-Fi. Free soft drinks at bar. Flat-screen TVs and iPod stations in all rooms. Organic breakfast. www.astotel.com
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