Named after the street it occupies, the Saint-André des Arts Hotel in Paris lies directly in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a short stroll from the historic Procope restaurant. Once the favoured haunt of brooding artists and musicians, especially during the swinging sixties, the completely rejuvenated hotel is the latest gem in the Hôtels Paris Rive Gauche collection, ready and awaiting a new generation of movers and shakers.
Stepping off the street and passing through the hotel’s original solid-oak entrance doors, guests arrive in a lobby area seemingly preserved through time. Tunes from another era fill the space, resonating from a small record player in the corner. But an emerald-coloured lacquered rattan reception desk offers a glimpse of what’s to come – a daring arrangement of 1960s and ’70s-inspired furniture and fittings, sourced and imagined for the hotel by French designer Chloé Nègre.
Saint-André des Arts Hotel by Studio Chloé Nègre
From there on in, the interiors of Saint-André are a playground for cheerful curves, bold colour and enchanting patterns. Flower-shaped mirrors and table-stands join carefully sculpted timber detailing. Vibrant swirling carpets are illuminated by bulbous lamps decorated with lace-like fabrics. And the bedheads upstairs make a statement in a confident mix of colour gradients and materials.
Here and there, vintage furniture pieces are combined with custom makes. And modern classics make an appearance, too. Including examples by iconic designers from the late 1960s, such as Verner Panton’s ‘Fun’ ceiling and wall lights; Vico Magistretti’s ‘Eclisse’ lamp by Artemide; Henry Massonet’s ‘Tam Tam’ stools; and Anna Castelli Ferrieri’s ‘Componibili’ bedside tables by Kartell, each finished with a burr walnut top.
On the ground floor, to the right of the reception, the intimate salon features retro burgundy and beige floor tiles that immediately set the tone. Four custom armchairs in citrus yellow fabric, a wall-seat in burgundy velvet and a psychedelic 1960s-style mirror immerses guests in the hotel’s new mood. An ambience which the hotel staff describe as feeling “a little pop, a little bohemian, slightly daring but totally timeless”.
To the left is the bar with its celadon green ceramic wall tiles, earmarked by the hotel staff as “the perfect place to relax, delicately hidden from the street by netting on the windows”. Green velvet and leather wall-seats provide the space with a visual accent. As do the bespoke timber chairs that are placed around walnut-topped tables with “flower power” feet – a signature flourish of Chloé’s Paris-based studio.
The centrepiece of the room is a round rattan table (another custom piece by Chloé) that allows guests to share a moment together, seated in the vintage wooden chairs that accompany it. The large yellow tabletop echoes the velvet of the armchairs in the room next door. “This is the perfect place to enjoy breakfast,” the team insist. Towards the back of the room, the granite bar adds elegance to the space, which feels bright yet intimate during the day. In the evening, it offers the ideal hideaway for sipping a pre-dinner cocktail or a nightcap nearer to midnight.
The elevator, decorated with fabric representing artist Jean Cocteau’s work Le Dormeur, is responsible for transporting guests to the hotel’s 28 rooms, spread over four floors. A mezzanine wing offers two additional rooms bringing the total to 30 rooms. Several of these have an extra sofa bed, others interconnect, but “both [types] are perfect for family stays,” the hotel staff say. Room sizes range from a petite 14 square metres to about 29 square metres in the Prestige suites, costing from €179 (A$280) to €710 ($A1115) per night.
While each room at Saint-André has a unique layout (“this is a venerable building with a very Parisian feel,” the team say), each floor offers a different chromatic interpretation of the 1960s and ’70s. The curtains are the surprise stars of the rooms, featuring dreamy colours and alluring patterns that create an overall feeling of harmony. On the third floor, for example, Jim Thompson’s Melusine landscape (on fabric from Pierre Frey) sets the bar high for a joyful material palette to follow.
“You’ll love the original vaulted stone ceilings and zesty colours that give the space its energy,” the hotel team tell their guests. And whether your room has a view of the street and the rooftops of Paris or is one of those nestled under the eaves, both of which are part of the hotel’s resolutely Parisian charm, the team insist that each room is a “new encounter between colour and light, the present and the past”.
From the in-house spa to the charming lodgings, “everything at Saint-André has been designed to revitalise guests, far from the effervescence of the city,” the team say of the hotel’s foundations, now poised to witness a new chapter. A future backdropped by iconic design, glorious colour and the inimitable stylings of Chloé which the hotel staff predict will come with a few surprises. “Expect classics with a twist, touches of humour, arty objects… and a little craziness.”
Once the favoured haunt of brooding artists and musicians, especially during the swinging sixties, the completely rejuvenated hotel is the latest gem in the Hôtels Paris Rive Gauche collection.