The First Cinema Hotel Opens in Paris — and Guests Get Their Own Screen Projectors in Rooms
If there's one phrase uttered at hotel check-in that's bound to tickle cinephiles, it's this: "If you have any issues, call 007." And that's exactly what brothers and founders Elisha and Nathanaël Karmitz of Paris's new Hotel Paradiso said to me — and about a dozen other Parisians waiting to get their key for a staycation in the 12th arrondissement, just weeks after opening last month.
"This is a direct homage to '60s Hollywood," Elisha said of using Bond's infamous alias (and an old-school black telephone in each room) to call down to reception. "There's a very strong relationship between hotels and cinema. Not only do you have a lot of hotels in the movies, but also in L.A., a lot of movies are being made. You meet in hotels, you produce in hotels."
And now, in this 36-room property connected to an actual six-screen theater — a first from France's MK2 group — you watch movies. A lot of movies. With a few swipes of a tablet, the room goes dark and a nine-foot-wide projection screen descends from the ceiling. (In the back of the seven-floor building, it covers the windows that otherwise boast a view of a 50-foot mural of Charlie Chaplin installed on an opposite building's brick wall by French photographer JR.)
In some rooms, you can watch films or TV from the bathtub or play PlayStation 5. And in the "La La Land" karaoke suite, where there's 10,000 songs to choose from and state-of-the-art surround sound, you can sing your heart out like Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Oh, and if jet lag's got you down, leave your partner snoring to Kubrick's "Space Odyssey" while you mosey down to the 17-seat cinema open only to guests for dusk-'til-dawn movie marathons of what's playing in the attached six-screen MK2 theater. You can also rent out six seats in the "Loge," which overlooks the general audience of one of the public screening rooms below. (Don't worry, public moviegoers won't see or hear you sippin' on gin and juice and munching on peanut butter M&Ms, as the glass window is blacked out.)
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"The whole idea here was to create a lifestyle around cinema," said Elisha, who, with his brother, now runs MK2's 26-cinema arthouse group originally founded by their father in 1974. "It's a way to tell foreigners this is the real Parisian way of living — come to the East and see all the artists. See the lifestyle when you are interested in culture and cinema."
"It's also a hotel we've made for us," Nathanaël added. "We are used to traveling all over the world for a very short period — not to tour or see the city life, but for business and film festivals. At 4 a.m., when you can't sleep, what's better than being this comfortable and watching something? Especially since VOD service disappeared from hotels all over the world."
I can't think of anything, except maybe doing so while snacking on the likes of freshly made organic popcorn from Brittany (salty or sweet, naturally), Haribo gummies, and a room service menu that includes a vegan-glazed donut and a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese from popular city spot Bob's Juice Bar.
"It's the typical food we love in front of a movie: a mix between 'porn' food and healthy food," said Nathanaël. "It's easy to eat and it's homemade."
While it all may sound very kitschy, it's not. Or, rather, it is — but in a non-tacky, totally cool, they-thought-of-everything way, from designing the stairwell to feel as if you're exiting a movie theater (complete with concrete walls and tape on the steps to guide you) to outfitting the hallways with shelves of over 2,000 DVDs to constructing a rooftop terrace with a bar, screen, and even a small lawn for open-air viewings (Eiffel Tower view, included).
"Paris is the worldwide capital city of cinema," said Elisha. "And there was no way of feeling and living the cinema experience until now."
Shocking, positively shocking.