The legendary Les Bains, a former 19th Century bathhouse turned nightclub, is reborn into a hybrid hotel dripping with soulful decadence.
Proust. Manet. Bowie. Jagger. Warhol. Polanski. Depp and Moss. These are just a handful of the many artists, creatives, and revelers who have graced Les Bains in the 3rd Arrondissement of Paris. Owner and film-director Jean-Pierre Marois has reinvented the historical space into a hotel with architect Vincent Bastie and interior designers Tristan Auer and Denis Montel. “The building has a powerful aura, a mix of glamor and raw spirit,” Marois says. “L’Hotel des Bains pays tribute to the heritage of a Parisian icon while projecting it into the future.”
The classical Hausmannian building exudes joie-de-vivre grandeur with a façade of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, theater, and revelry. He, of course, is the appropriate patron to greet guests into a hedonistic haven, founded in 1885 as a bathhouse for the Impressionists and Bohemians of the Belle Époque and turned into a star-studded nightclub in 1978. Despite the quintessentially Parisian exterior, the renovated interior is an eclectic, multicultural selection of original stained glass windows, bamboo mouldings, antique furniture, Art Deco boldness, and 70’s glam. The new hotel boasts thirty-nine rooms, as well as a restaurant, bar, club, and spa.
For the guest rooms and suites, Auer used high-quality white Carrara marble and varnished mahogany to create a sleek, yet vibrant aesthetic. The gray-scale palette maintains a level of sophistication, but the space is playful and intimate with pale blue retro rotary phones, Joy Division record labels, and orange velvet sofas inspired by the ones in Warhol’s Factory.
Montel wanted to further emulate the rock n’ roll lifestyle with La Salle-à-Manger, a neo-brasserie on the hotel’s ground floor with undulating blood-red lacquer ceilings. Time is fluid here. Reflective stalactite pillars seem to ripple and ooze into the black and white checkered tiles below, while mahogany tables and a bar bathed in a golden light add to the drama.
Finally, the once sordid, underground temple Le Club des Bains has been polished into a modernized venue for live shows and concerts. The club’s notorious swimming pool decked with blue mosaic tiles has been restored in the Wellness Area, which now offers a hammam and sauna. Proust would envy the time lost in the new counter-current swimming facilities, massage jets, and whirlpool baths.
With such rich past lives, Les Bains is a sacred space that leave guests with a sense of déjà vu they want to keep revisiting.