Once the residence in the mid-19th century of Edouard Verlé, business partner of the formidabile Mme. Clicquot, founder of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, the exclusive Hotel du Marc, just a short walk from Reims Cathedral, has opened after an extensive restoration.
Its luxurious interiors and facade were updated and elegantly decorated with exquisite and handcrafted furniture in order to create the kind of charming experience for which many hotels strive but few achieve.
Acquired in 1907 by the champagne maker to host its more prestigious clients who came to visit the famous cellars, the building restored by Bruno Moinard combines gems of antiquity with works of contemporary art, like the portrait of madame Clicquot covered in polka-dots by Yayoi Kusama, commissioned to the Japanese artist in 2006, an installation (Gloriette) in the garden by the Campana brothers, and a wood sculpture by Pablo Reinoso, evoking the neighboring fields.
While the theatrical and luxurious reception hall, with its black and gold boiserie and a giant chandelier suspended over a table for 18, and the ultra-contemporary tasting room.
Stairs leading up to the rooms honor the famous chalk caves of Reims with an ombre carpet that fades from white to burgundy—for the Pinot grapes, of course. Here, the maison’s best vintages are presented nearby a foosball table in the yellow-orange trademark colors), are decidedly striking, the real treat consists in the 5 bedrooms.
The Japanese room is celadon green, with antique kimonos hanging on the wall; the Italian room is an homage to the ceramics of Fornasetti; the Russian room echoes the colors of the sea, for it was by sea that Veuve Clicquot sent its goods to the court of the tzars. Then there’s a yellow room with a bathing area as big as a hammam, and another that preserves the pre-restoration décor of the hotel.
Lastly, there’s the bedroom designed by Mathieu Lehanneur, built in keeping with the criteria of ideal sleep as determined by medical institutions specializing in sleep disorders, featuring a constant temperature of 19° C, a system for diffusing the ozonated sea air and ‘white noise’ to isolate the sleeper from any and all disturbing sounds.
The Hotel du Marc is also ‘virtuous’ from the ecological standpoint, in keeping with the company’s overall strategy: the temperature is kept constant by geothermal energy, while the solar panels of the nearby corporate headquarters provide electricity and hot water.
The decor, a mix of antique pieces, custom art and other clever design elements, that makes for a visit not just comfortable but totally enchanting. The surprises begin right away when, greeting guests at the entryway, a grometrically mirrored installation in tribute to Issey Miyake’s “Pleats Please,” recasts a problematic space by containing a cloakroom with serious “wow” effect.
Downstairs, a library, lounge, chef’s kitchen and other spaces for entertaining promise many occasions for enjoying the bubbles responsible for the whole affair. On our visit, the kitchen transformed from an afternoon hands-on cooking demo to a post-dinner screening of Lady Gaga concert tapes, to give you an idea.
A formal dining room is literally the heart of the house, featuring woodwork taken from the castle of Eduard Werle (Clicquot’s business partner) around which the house was initially built. Formerly painted white, the wood was restored and painted black, nicely offsetting frescoes depicting scenes of life in Champagne.
A cellar stores wine used in the house, as well as rare bottles, still wines and (eventually) Andree Putman’s 2005 writing table for the brand. The feature also allows the building to have a Canadian well, which keeps the building 13 degrees cooler in the summer as well as providing heat in the winter, part of the winemaker’s ongoing efforts to be environmentally conscious.
photo © Costas Voyatzis for Yatzer.com