New in the Ninth

For its first hotel in Paris, the Derby Hotels Collection, a family-owned, Barcelona-based company known for charming and unique boutique hotels, transformed an ornately classical bank building into the luxurious, 94-room Hôtel Banke. Located a short walk from the Opéra Garnier and the city’s famous department stores, the majestic flatiron-shaped building recalls its former vocation in its stately, colonnaded exterior and monumental lobby with a domed glass ceiling and a circular mosaic floor. But the bank’s austere white interior decor has been replaced by a theatrical red, black and gold color scheme, columns of black stone and porphyry, oversized contemporary chandeliers and modern design furnishings including an XXL gold sofa, striking red leather canapés and black armchairs whose upholstery buttons are brilliant Swarovski crystals.

Upstairs, the opulent exuberance gives way to understated luxury as innovative design meets extreme comfort. Room numbers are light projections onto the walls, and deep-piled hall carpets and complete soundproofing create an atmosphere of enveloping calm. The rooms, all with parquet floors, are done in shades of cream and chocolate, with a wonderful interplay of textures: leather or velvet headboards; diaphanous violet curtains on the long windows; armoires in faceted, silvered wood; bathrooms in marble, colored mosaics or inlaid silver tiles. Some walls and alcoves are adorned with art from the private collection of owner Jordi Clos (vitrines on each floor display other items from his collection, including archeological objects and ancient jewelry) and amenities include Wi-Fi, a fitness room and meeting rooms—unusual for a boutique hotel. Off the lobby, the Catalan connection is reflected in the LolaBar, where a glass of cava can accompany tapas including Spanish cheeses and Bellota ham; and the restaurant Josefin, which specializes in Mediterranean cuisine. After 8 pm, when masses of candles flicker in the lobby, the hotel becomes the quartier‘s hip meeting place.

20 rue La Fayette, 9th, website

Originally published in the April 2010 issue of France Today; updated in March 2011

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