Philippe Starck’s Le Royal Monceau
The designer transforms the famous Paris hotel.
Paris is known for lots of things, but color isn’t one of them; its streetscapes are confections of creamy-white limestone. So the bright-red canopy on Avenue Hoche, a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, is a kind of beacon. Its message: Le Royal Monceau—one of Paris’s palace hotels—is back. Philippe Starck has given his native city a gift, with as much glitter (and at least as much ingenuity) as the famous Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. If you’re really lucky, you might get to try out one of the largest hotel swimming pools in Paris. It’s not just the water that will make you feel weightless; it’s the ethereal lighting and mirror-hung walls, forming a kind of liquid meditation chamber. The pool is part of the Spa My Blend by Clarins, a Starck-designed refuge that explores the lushness of minimalism.
Upstairs, in the 149 guest rooms, things are a bit more complicated. Mirrors are everywhere, but the soft lighting and delicate materials create an effect that’s anything but garish. The television appears on a mirror’s surface, so the set itself never intrudes into the room.
That privilege is reserved for objects selected by Starck, including mementos of Paris from the 1950s, some associated with the great entertainers who stayed in the original hotel. One of them, Ray Charles, inspired a piano-equipped suite under the hotel’s mansard roof. Still, Starck’s version of Le Royal Monceau won’t make you long for any era but the present.
Art et Al
Le Royal Monceau prides itself on its cultural connections: Le Cinéma des Lumières, a 100-seat private screening room; La Librairie des Arts, a carefully curated bookshop; and a gallery called Art District. Domoina de Brantes, the hotel’s art concierge, can book studio visits and arrange specialized museum tours.
Le Royal Monceau, operated by Raffles Hotels and Resorts, is located at 37 Av. Hoche. Rooms start at $1,125; 33-1/42-99-88-00; leroyalmonceau.com.
Member of Fine Hotels, Resorts & Spas.