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This New Design Hotel In Paris Is Inspired By Japanese Ryokan And The Belle Époque

From the outside, Hotel Hana’s presence is relatively subdued: situated on a prime corner spot on the Rue du Quatre-Septembre, it inspired many a curious local to peer through its windows during my stay last week, as the finishing touches were applied. Once you’re through its wrought iron doors, though, the artful balance of exuberance and restraint that defines its interiors is revealed. First, with its minimalist check-in desk, featuring a slab of lava stone over panels of smoky, black-and-gold agglomerated glass, topped solely with an ikebana-like flower arrangement in a slim, stylish ceramic vase. (The check-in process is as smooth as the floral jacquard silks and pink velvets that decorate the banquette seating of the nearby bar.)

Photo: Stephan Julliard

“I tried to imagine what it would look like if Dries Van Noten visited Japan in the 1950s,” Leone said of the eclectic mix of influences he and Gonzalez devised together. Indeed, flicking through his mood board for the project, you’ll find everything from Wong Kar-wai film stills to the cryptic, Hitchcockian images crafted by photographer Glen Luchford in his late-’90s campaigns for Prada and the Belle Époque stylings of the nearby metro station. (Don’t be surprised if Hotel Hana quickly becomes a fashion week favourite.) That cinematic sweep is arguably most striking within the rooms that sit on the seventh floor, where adjoining suites can be combined to take over the entire étage and enjoy views that stretch all the way up to the Sacré-Coeur.

Yet, once you’ve been whizzed up in the elevator, it’s the spirit of minimalism, inspired by the hospitality of traditional Japanese ryokan, that shines through – with each of its 26 bedrooms (airy and serene, yet all boasting views of the street below through 19th-century wrought iron Juliet balconies) featuring ivory-coloured straw walls broken up by elegant slats of natural iroko wood. For touches of the French influence threaded through the property, though, you’ll find plush velvet headboards, custom-designed Pierre Frey rugs, and a suite of Diptyque toiletries laid out across the terracotta marble surfaces of the bathrooms. (Top marks for the water pressure in their rainfall showers, too.) Once you’ve settled yourself on one of the beds decked out in crisp white linens and unscrewed the pot of wasabi peas tucked under your bedside table, it can be a little challenging to imagine dragging yourself away from this oasis of calm.

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