Imagine a place where Proust took long hot steam baths in the 1800’s, where Phillipe Starck got one of his first jobs, where Joy Division recorded an album, and the young resident DJ was an unknown David Guetta. Well, it all happened in a building not to far from Les Halles, when an old bath house was turned into the club in 1979, Les Bain Douches.
An age before iPhone and Instagram, Yves Saint Laurent could dance with Basquiat. Kate and Depp could jump in the club’s pool naked, and Iman and Bowie could dance undisturbed. There is not one celebrity that did not party there in the 80’s. You could enter, if you could get past the formidable Marie-Line, you could be anyone but you had to be cool. Depeche Mode played there before they started doing stadiums. The Bain Douches will forever be the club of all clubs in Paris.
Today, The Bains (the Douches has been dropped) is a super cool hotel. It has lost none of it’s previous lives’ glory, the “IT” club lives on as the “It” hotel.
Renovated for 5 years, it is now a 39 room hotel, with a smaller club still going till 5 am.
As you enter you are greeted by Bacchus sculpted into the façade, the Hotel’s logo.
Inside, the walls and ceiling literally drips with an oxblood lacquer ceiling.
Owner and filmmaker, Jean-Pierre Marois, had a vision of taking the club to a whole life style brand, with super popular restaurant, and some products, which can be bought in a store across the street from the hotel at a gallery and shop. All with the Bacchus logo, as you can imagine the wares are cool- Pierre Hardy sneakers with Bacchus embossed on them, to the incredible Les Bain fragrance. They leave a bottle of the juice in the room, inviting you to use but buy if you like it.
The décor was done by Tristan Auer, who just completed the Crillion, with Andy Warhol’s Factory couch replicated in each room and mixing brown and light blue to great effect. The rooms have wonderfully cheeky touches, like condoms beautifully packaged.
It is wonderful that the cool is not just superficial, there are things that speak to one’s need of luxury, like the best bed and linen’s a hotel could offer. And understated staff in jeans, sneakers and white shirts quietly serve breakfast, lunch, drinks and the restaurant gets packed very quickly. Of course, the music playing at all times are alternative mixed tapes, very chilled in the morning for instance. The music director is Lars Krueger, and Marie-Line now in her 60’s has been bought back to the door of the club.
The hotel’s aim is to bring back the original clubgoers and give them a hotel that will is filled with creativity, spirit, and I am sure many book in with a head full of memories of the wild times.