Not far from the museum-flanked banks of the Seine lies the Madeleine quarter, a historic Parisian enclave known as a destination for exquisite accoutrements. Nestled in this busy thoroughfare is the Hotel Chavanel, which emerged from recent renovations with a fresh take on how comfort meets stylish design. The Lotus Bleu team made this cozy and alluring getaway our home away from home for a week this past January, and the story of the design details and considerations that went into this space are truly inspiring.
Passed down from her hotelier father, owner Sophie Charlet has successfully kept the momentum of this family-operated business. Lotus Bleu's principal, Jeannie Fraise, and her husband have a long history and deep friendship with Sophie and her brother, Jean-Claude, so our time at the hotel doubled as a cheery reunion with old friends.
The lobby of Hotel Chavanel is a dichotomous environment that directly links the busy street scene to the calm sanctuary of the hotel. The rumble and noise is cut-off as the doors close behind you, though you are still visually aware of the buzzing world beyond the large floor-to-ceiling windows. Once inside, you are met with a mirrored wall lined with white birch trees, smooth and undulating check-in areas and several nests of playful seating to rest your bones and page through a compelling book or magazine.
Beyond the calm of the front desk, we begin to see where the renovation really takes off. As owner Sophie Charlet explains, "It's new exquisitely elegant appointments offer a stylishly refined palette of fabrics and materials, as the backdrop to a superbly mellow setting, which affords true peace and quiet."
The guest rooms at Hotel Chavanel are thoughtful, detail-rich compositions, each layer telling a story. Self-described as a "contemporary cocoon," these rooms provide the womb-like buffer from the hectic surroundings. As a visual reminder, Sophie cleverly commissioned a series of bedside and floor lamps made from the cocoons of the silkworm which provide textural intrigue and a soft glow.
Paying homage to the haute-couture roots of the Madeleine quarter, the hotel concept pulls inspiration from lacework. From the sheer lace drapes, the scaled-up carpet pattern to the backlit custom carved headboards, this element's impression is omnipresent, but thoughtfully applied so that it never overwhelms.
Hotel Chavanel is a shining example of the ways that considered furnishings, textiles and finishes can add to "the art of living". Fabrics commonly found in tailoring, like heavy-weight wool, are used in window treatments. Heavy-gauge knitted cashmere throws grace the beds. Graphic, embellished pillows dot the seating. Desks are topped in durable saddle-leather and curved coffee tables made from natural oak pull together lounge areas. Walls, like those in the bath, are covered in carved ceramic or dimensional wall-coverings and a few lucky guest on the top floor are treated to rustic heavy timber beams overhead. A confident balance between feminine and masculine elements emerges in each unique room.
Beyond the comforts of the guest room, Hotel Chavanel invites vitality and well-being. A trip down to the basement level revels a stone-paved room of bygone days. As you take a seat in the antique arched surroundings, illuminated with cool white light, an elaborate spread of delicious organic foods awaits - fresh pastries and fruit, muesli with every topping imaginable and jams and spreads galore. Our team couldn't make it down to breakfast fast enough!
From the island-like calm to the amenities that deeply comforted our bodies and lifted our minds and spirits, we loved our experience at this charming oasis. Merci, Sophie and the friendly and helpful Hotel Chavanel staff!