"Filtered natural light permeates the public areas, illuminating the ornate decorative elements that make this landmark hotel a one-of-a-kind, gleaming jewel," says Margaux Capdeville, from Le Meurice. "The open reception area affords views of the hotel's three main public spaces: the restaurant Le Meurice, the restaurant Le Dali and the Bar 228. The lobby is definitely Dali-esque, and there are many design elements created by Philippe Starck."
SAH: What inspired the design of the living area?
MC: "Le Meurice embraces creativity and places the art of living even more firmly at the centre of its history. Since its creation, Le Meurice has nurtured intimate links with artists. From Rudyard Kipling to François Mauriac, from Arletty to Florance Jay Gould, from Salvador Dali to Viktor & Rolf, Le Meurice is both the reflection and the setting for contemporary creation. Of all the guests to have stayed at Le Meurice, Salvador Dali is certainly the most extraordinary. For more than three decades he would spend one month a year at the hotel, leaving behind wonderful stories, all witness to his legendary extravagance and innumerable sources of inspiration."
SAH: What inspired the design of the bedrooms?
MC: "The spirit of the French painter Ingres is everywhere, in the harmony of clear, pure colours accentuated by vibrant splashes such as red or yellow-green. Noble materials are coloured gold and silver, enlivened by the frosted turquoise of a print, a carmine red cushion or a lilac braid. Powdery patinas, the orchid colour of the deep carpets, damask bed covers embroidered with silver thread, and the couture pleating of the lampshades concur to create an intimate atmosphere.
Traditional and innovative production methods combine to lift the understated lines of the furniture. The elaborate passementerie, the fringes and braids that adorn the curtains, the traditional gilded braid on the cushions, the twisted cord around the eighteenth-century armchairs (specially created for Le Meurice by Jerome Declercq), the Holland & Sherry cashmere bed throws, embroidered with gold and silver threads, the velvet and satin piping, the subtle layering of curtains and under-curtains with their eighteenth- century style pleated valance with gilded braid, the lightweight blinds over the window sashes… a multitude of details come together to transform every room and suite into the perfect "haute couture" setting for the art of living by day and by night."
SAH: How does the design of all the rooms reflect the history of the hotel and its romantic location in Paris?
MC: "In December 2008, Franka Holtmann asked Charles Jouffre, creator of the sumptuous drapes and hangings of the Grand Foyer at the Opera Garnier, to imagine a new and warmer atmosphere for Le Meurice's guest rooms. Attentive to the desires of a discerning and cosmopolitan clientele, he brought a new touch to the specificities of a palace hotel, whose intention is clearly to do different. The hotel's rooms take on the air of an elegant eighteenth-century home, where past and present meet with humour and glamour."
SAH: What's been done in the bathrooms to create such a luxurious, spa-like space?
MC: "Colourful red and ochre marble from the Pyrénées used in the Château de Versailles but rarely seen in the last 200 years, is used in bathrooms along with Italian marble – Arabesscato (white and gray), and white Carrara. All showers have adjustable showerheads, and some bathrooms have alcove tubs. Custom-made lamps run the length of both sides of the mirror. Five of the guestrooms have open and antique style bathrooms. Most of the bathrooms have natural daylight and three bathrooms on the sixth floor overlook the Tuileries Gardens."