Hip to be Square

7th July 2010 (Last Updated July 7th, 2010 18:30)

Five-star luxury fuses with a distinctly personal touch at Paris's Hotel Square From brass-sculpted door handles to handwritten weather warnings the smallest details have been painstakingly considered, as Elly Earls discovers.

Hip to be Square

Located a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower and in the heart of Paris’s vibrant media district, Hotel Square exudes glamour. The news crew subtly filming in the corner of the in-house restaurant and the clinking of Martini glasses add to the effect, but it is the hotel’s polished finish that manager Nicole Dupre Sarget particularly prides herself on.

“Boutique hotels are becoming more and more popular,” she remarks. “And guests expect a high-quality service. We can’t afford to make any mistakes; everything must be perfect.”

The hotel’s 160 cover Zebra Square restaurant is a case in point. It’s an established eatery in its own right, largely thanks to the talents of head chef Thierry Burlot, who is renowned for his commitment to supporting local independent fishermen and for serving the freshest fish in the city.

And attention to detail is certainly not restricted to Hotel Square’s restaurant. In fact, it’s the delicate personal touches that make the five-star establishment something really special.

“For some people, it is all about money and for others it’s about creation. Hotel Square is about creation.”

Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than by the unwavering commitment of owner Patrick Derderian and his now ex-wife and manager Dupre Sarget; the pair’s passion for their intricately designed Parisian project has kept them contentedly working together even post-divorce.

“Do you think the hotel has a soul?” Derderian asks, and I can only respond that, if it does, it’s based entirely on his vision. He has been profoundly involved at every stage of the design and development of his masterpiece, relentlessly tweaking to ensure that each and every guest leaves not only 100% satisfied, but with a clear idea of what Hotel Square is all about.

For Derderian, there are no more hotels in the pipeline; the expense of creating the first one was more than enough, not that he harbours any regret. “For some people, it is all about money and for others it’s about creation,” he explains. “Hotel Square is about creation.”

From the melt-in-your-mouth macaroons placed carefully on each room’s custom-designed desk to the colourful glass sculptures adorning the hotel’s intimate conference room, detail is everything.

Hand-picked furniture nestles in the hotel’s curves, lifts swing open on demand thanks to proximity sensors and handwritten notes on pillows indicate the expected temperature of the day to come.

Art of the matter

Art is also an integral part of the hotel’s appeal, and one of Derderian’s most obvious passions. The naturally lit atrium boasts a 200m² wall on which huge canvases of contemporary art hang for six months at a time while the first floor art gallery, Salon Blanc, offers an appealing space for extra exhibits.

The entire hotel is replete with artistic touches. Tiny square windows line the top of the restaurant wall creating the feeling of a mezzanine level, while a gold leaf square motif carries on throughout corridors and public spaces.

Even the suites have something of the artistic about them, with huge square panels above the (suitably expansive) beds continuing the theme. But comfort is paramount once guests have closed their doors on the day. Blackout curtains ensure an undisturbed night’s sleep and the mini-bar is fully stocked with champagne.

“The entire hotel is replete with artistic touches.”

A visit to Hotel Square wouldn’t be complete without a massage at the newly opened Nuxe Spa, housed in the basement and already attracting a steady flow of non-hotel guests.

Its calming ambience has filtered into the hotel according to the long-serving manager, who is keen to emphasise that it’s a much more tranquil place than it used to be.

There’s clearly something unique about Derderian’s compact Parisian dream. He’s poured much more than money into the place and continues to do so, and I’m sure that ten years down the line he’ll still be tweaking away, never content until each and every detail is perfect.