Just in time for this year's Valentine's Day getaway, a romantic boutique hotel has opened in Paris' prestigious 8th arrondissement. Boasting the iconic Le Bristol as its neighbours, you could say that the precedence in the area for luxury hospitality has been well and truly set. But despite being pitted against the heavy competition of the romantic city's already stellar hotel scene, La Réserve Paris is set to find a special place in the hearts of romantics (not to mention Romantics) everywhere.
Housed in a Hausmann-style mansion, the newcomer is described as an "hôtel particulier" which seems a perfect appellation for an establishment tucked away neatly between Avenue Montaigne and Faubourg Saint-Honoré. But it's with thanks to its admirably classic interiors and not its location that gives the hotel its true privacy.
Conceived by none other than Jacques Garcia – one of the industry's most revered French designers – the interiors recapture the true glamour of 19th century Paris. The design mastermind behind the hotel's interior, Garcia blends classic French styles (Régence and Belle Epoque – France's era of peace and plenty which spanned from 1871 to the beginning of the First World War in 1914) in a successful attempt to redefine the resplendent bourgeoisie world of French artist James Tissot's paintings.
Redefine is the key word in this transformation considering there's absolutely nothing outdated about the hotel. Colours and fabrics – which are equally as rich as each other – create an aesthetic which is convincing yet inviting to the modern guest when combined with simple rugs, crisp white linens and plain lamp shades.
What really sets the tone for this ornate decor are the building's original Régence-style bones which were uncovered during its restoration process. Intricate woodwork, mouldings and cornices modelled on historic styles are beautifully gilded whilst pilasters add a Classical element. And that's without a mention of the stunning spiral stairwell lit by a ribboned chandelier. When it comes to striking architectural gold, this hotel hits the jackpot.
Introducing patrons to the dramatic colour schemes to be found inside, a high gloss scarlet red entryway bedecks the front facade. Inside, in the hotel's social areas, mullioned mirrored panels cover walls and conceal doorways; oversized damask wallpaper is enhanced with ornately framed artwork; sheer ruched London shades, with all their romantic allure, offer a gentle privacy; the groundwork is laid by diamond marble flooring; and antique furniture has a revival with deeper-than-deep button tufting and sinuous lines.
For the bedrooms (of which there are 26 suites and 14 rooms), Garcia chose to alternate between four distinct colour palettes – bronze, beige, prune and tea rose. Very Parisienne and very Belle Epoque. Despite the differences in colour palette and size (the rooms are available from the 40 square metre Deluxe room to the over 225 square metre Grand Palais suite), there is a notable common thread throughout – each offers its patrons the optimism and appreciation of luxury, culture and beauty of this golden age.
Having each been considered as carefully and individually as a residential interior would be, the bedrooms enjoy a welcoming grandeur. At once fabulous yet with a home-away-from-home appeal. Artwork is given prominent position, no expense is spared on beautiful textiles (silks, brocades and taffetas galore), floor-to-ceiling windows capitalise on the renowned natural light of Paris' Hausmann-style buildings and stunning full Carrera and blue Turquin marble bathrooms accompany the rooms. The Elysée Suite even houses a black glossy grand piano. Each element doing its part to revive the luxury known to the bourgeoisie of the time.
As a hotel, La Réserve was designed to achieve the "confidential feel of an early 19th century private apartment" but even that goal seems to say little of what has actually been achieved. The truth is, this hotel isn't just any private apartment. It's an indulgence in all the finer things of life and anyone who visits will find themselves thoroughly cultured in luxury.