Legendary Parisian club enters a bold new era as unique hotel
Bowie. Jagger. Warhol. Nicholson. Just a few of the iconic figures who were regulars at Les Bains Douches, the beating heart of Parisian nightlife until its closure in 2010. A nightclub, restaurant, and rock ‘n’ roll venue, Les Bains was legendary as a temple to beauty and art, the spiritual home of the rich, the beautiful and the talented.
Now this Parisian institution is back with an exciting new twist. The vision of filmmaker Jean-Pierre Marois, whose family have owned the bathhouse since the late ‘60s, Les Bains now boasts 39 unique rooms and suites, as well as restaurant, bars, private lounge, and of course the legendary club and stage.
The story began in 1885 when Les Bains Guerbois opened behind a grand façade on rue du Bourg l’Abbé, the first spa in Paris. François Auguste Guerbois already ran a café for the capital’s leading artists and intellectuals, so his baths quickly attracted clients such as Zola and Manet, and the leading lights of the Belle Epoque. Fast forward to 1978 and the transformation of this legendary venue into Les Bains Douches saw the arrival of a different Golden Age of superstars, supermodels, and Hollywood A-listers.
Now the establishment’s third incarnation as Les Bains boldly blends old and new. The grand façade with its double-sided entrance and bronze figurines hasn’t changed, but behind it, a sympathetic revolution has taken place.
Award-winning architect Vincent Bastie – designer of some 80 Parisian hotels - has reconfigured the inside space to maximise on natural light. Working alongside him, interior designer Trisan Auer has blended custom-crafted furniture with white marble, precious woods and replica sofas from Andy Warhol’s Factory in the bedrooms. Expect rock ‘n’ roll details such as Joy Division album covers and teasingly provocative ‘Do not disturb’ signs. Guests can choose from six categories of room from Classic to Suite, all decorated in grey, white and black, but for a real taste of the superstar lifestyle opt for Les Bains Suite with its own steam bath, hammam, and oversized bed.
In the heyday of Les Bains Douches, the rich and the famous would dance the night away on a black-and-white chequered floor by Phillippe Starck. This pixelated objet d’art with almost two million tiles has been fully restored and painstakingly re-laid in the Salle à Manger. The floor is punctuated by red ‘stalactite’ pillars, whilst bulbous shapes resembling water droplets hang from the red ceiling. Diners can expect seasonal products sourced direct from producers and prepared under chef Michael Riss, with a menu overseen by Michelin-starred consultant chef Phillippe Labbé.
Tradition blends with contemporary at every turn. Stained glass windows overlook the cosy Salon Chinois tea room, whilst throughout the hotel, artworks for sale are rotated for guests’ enjoyment. The original Bains Guerbois is now a stylish 21st century spa, its famous swimming pool in blue and white crazed-effect earthenware now equipped with counter-current swimming facilities and massage jets. To round off your evening, enjoy a mix of music styles in Le Club, open Wednesday to Saturday from 11pm to 5am for live shows and concerts. One building - three very different but complementary eras.