A spate of new cocktail bars and fashion boutiques has revived Paris's SoPi (South of Pigalle) neighborhood in recent years, helping to shed the area of its seedy reputation as a red-light bazaar for sex shops, bordellos, and cabarets like the Moulin Rouge. But as urban renewal softens the area's edges one cool-kid newcomer at a time -- the Experimental Cocktail Club's first hotel concept, Grand Pigalle, is set to debut in April, for example -- the just-opened Maison Souquet is hoping to keep some of the raffish spirit alive. Here heritage-chic master Jacques Garcia (New York's NoMad Hotel, Hôtel Costes in Paris) plays up SoPi's past with a sultry design that turns the former pleasure house into an elegant Belle Époque bolthole.
Behind an unmarked façade in the 9th arrondissement, a vampy style permeates the 20 individually decorated rooms (blood-red fleur-de-lis wallpaper, custom Chinese silk headboards) that are named for infamous courtesans, and the salon, where velvet banquettes and a cast-iron fireplace are the setting for black truffle cocoa and late-night aperitifs. Even the spa feels like a lurid fantasy: the illuminated plunge pool glows against a pomegranate ceiling emblazoned with a gold-flecked solar system, just steps from a hammam.
By Nate Storey
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