It List 2008
Renovated Hotel. Just as we were getting ready to write Philippe Starck off as too nineties for words, he bounces back with a tonic redo of this Paris insitution’s principal public spaces. Starck is not in the habit of having his thunder stolen, but he makes a familial exception here. Covering the famous glass dome in the formerly very buttoned-up Jardin d’Hiver dining room (now the witheringly scene-y Le Dalí) is a heroic canvas painted by his daughter Ara in the manner of Chagall. If you’ve ever questioned the power of design to shake up a hotel’s constituency, stop by for a drink in the bar Le 228: overnight, the crowd has gone from fuddy to fabulous, even if everyone forgets to notice that some of Starck père’s visual jokes are a little stale (by our reckoning, it’s time to take the mirror off the floor and hang it on the wall again). Rather more urgently, someone has to resolve the disconnect between the ironic new common areas and old-school Frenchiness of some of the guest rooms (we’re told all are due for an overhaul).