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Luxury Hotel Gets Face-Lift: Hotel Royal Monceau

Everything Must go at Hotel Royal Monceau!
For you who won’t settle for a hotel room ashtray or free soap, Beatrice de Rochebouet reports in this weekend’s Le Figaro (June 14-15’08) that the entire interior furnishings of the Hotel Royal Monceau will be up for grabs during the Royal Monceau auction starting June 19th, 08.
The past guest list of this discreet 8th arrondissement (37 Ave Hoche) Right Bank luxury hotel is impressive: Omar Shariff (if only I had known!), Sharon Stone (if only you had known!), Madonna, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, the Spice Girls, ray Charles, and going back a few generations, Walt Disney, General Eisenhower, and Ernest Hemingway (is there any hotel or hotel bar in Paris that he didn’t frequent?).
Starck is Stark
You may remember in a recent post Essential Ingredients for a Romantic Hotel, how I lamented the fact that luxury hotels with original furniture, complete with comfortingly frayed edges (like your great-grandfather’s horsehair chair) are non-existent in this city that prefers to constantly re-invent its definition of luxury. Today luxury is synonymous with Philippe Starck, and it’s Starck who will revamp the Royal Monceau with Art Deco flavors (just in time for our next thirties-style recession).
Wherever one goes in Paris, one bumps into a Starck chair or desk. Most recently during a guided tour of the private Hotel Beauvais, we were led into the Starck inspired meeting room – and it was, in no uncertain terms, very stark.
“I like Starck!,” commented one of the Parisian guests on our tour.
To which I might have responded, but would Hotel Beauvais’ architect Le Pautre have liked Starck? His bust is tucked away in the stairwell headed toward the cellars. May he rest in peace because ignorance is bliss.
In Search of Timeless Hotels
In the case of Hotel Royal Monceau, this refurbishment will not be replacing original décor, but instead, the Napoleon III-style inspired interior conceived by Jacques Garcia (who also designed Hotel Costes).
Back in 1997, an auction of Hotel George V’s interiors brought out droves. (No mention was made of the Hotel Vendome’s renovation, but I often wonder who is now the lucky owner of all those goodies).
I don’t know of ANY hotel in Paris that still retains its original era furniture, but, by all means drop into the lobby at the Concord St. Lazare to catch a glimpse of its original Gustave Eiffel designed lobby. Even though the furniture has been updated, you can still glean a hint of the turn-of-the-century glamour.
Who knows? Maybe someday a hotel decorator will decide to do something totally original. Redecorate a hotel exactly as it was intended to look the day it was opened.
Philippe Starck’s renovations are scheduled for 2009.
If you go to the Hotel Royal Monceau auction:
June 19-22, 2008
37 Avenue Hoche
Cornette de Saint-Cyr