Boutique Hotel: Between Hotel and Boutique
I recently met with Eric-Jean Floureusse, founder of the concept hotel Hameau des Baux, where he has recently integrated a boutique spirit. What this means: he’s established an exhibition gallery and artist boutique, both of which are redesigned every year, just like an actual gallery. In the space designated ‘gallery,’ you will find nothing but, strictly speaking, artists’ works. These works also make an appearance in the rooms, the salon, etc. There is a space called ‘the boutique’ that only holds furniture for sale, almost like a showroom, and other furniture show up in the salon, in the room, where these furniture items appear with price tags. This is the art of living, and it’s a highlighting of our expertise.
Is the boutique a true standalone entity in the hotel? Can you go to the hotel simply to shop?
Absolutely. There is an entryway to our hotel for the client who might fall in love with a painting on display in the gallery and who might want to leave with a piece of furniture that he saw being used, or who would enjoy the idea of bringing back home in his suitcase a fragrance or a candle that we offer here at our reception desk. But we also have the admirer of rare furniture. And this, too, is about sharing; I find it interesting to invite people from the outside to come into the hotel. The furniture allows for some wonderful encounters. A piece of furniture from E&E Esprit XXe—a high-end furniture brand from the 50s to 80s—that’s a bit of common heritage to share.
Are you going to produce your own pieces of furniture?
No, not for now. But I want to open myself up even more to contemporary creations by allowing designers to express their talent. I’m currently at work on prototypes with young designers. Eventually we will have, for the hotel and for sale, lighting and furniture created for the hotel.
This will give a kind of complementarity that reflects the true spirit of our hotel and its participation in a sort of modernity: there’s a myth around the area of Provence, the eternity, the calm. All the vintage items, for me, take part in what I call ‘the collective memory’ that speaks to something within our culture. This is what brings the warmth, the emotion. And from there, there is a shock of contemporary creation, whether this be through the works of art or through the furniture that we’ll eventually choose. For the moment, we’ve only introduced the lighting because what I didn’t want was for the pieces to come across as stiff: everything that is useful, used by the client, we bought in an attempt to play around the idea. The bedside tables, for instance, are simply items of design, because the last thing I wanted was for the hotel to become a museum. But it’s true that the items are theatrical. One theme that was important to me was to be urban; we are located in the South, in the countryside, but in the end, we are host to a clientele that is actually quite urban. It’s interesting to make an appeal to that.
Laurent Delporte, an editor and conference speaker, is a strategic expert in the sector of hotels. A visionary, he brings his unique look on hotels in service to the decision-makers in the industry, whether to enhance the development of new projects or strategic visions.
Laurent has visited and audited over 350 hotels across the world and also participates in mystery visits to provide quality control for the world’s finest hotels.