As a follow-up to my article, “Far from Home….Spend a Night in the World of a Cineaste,” I invite you to meet Serge Cachan, the hotel manager of Le123 Sébastopol Hotel—a lovely variation on the theme of “being away from home.”
How did you arrive upon the idea of calling out to film artists to decorate your hotel? How did it turn out?
It was our architect Philippe Maidenberg, whom we’ve worked with for over 17 years, who initially proposed this idea, which I found original and very appropriate, given the hotel’s location next to numerous movie theaters. I let him choose the artists and personally reach out to them—though I made sure, of course, to approve all the steps along the way. The objective was not to initiate a marketing move, but rather to create an establishment that possessed a strong spirit and identity, without any ostentation, and that would make people feel good.
What was their role? How were they involved in the details of the decoration of the room? In what way did the architect succeed in creating an atmosphere unique to each artist?
We met with each artist in person to explain our approach to them. What we wanted was to pay homage to them, and we didn’t want to do it without their consent and involvement. They went on to tell us about their stories, as well as the various themes that came to be precious to them along their artistic journey. Each décor started off this way, and the artists were involved to approve each stage of the creative process. They were very generous, sometimes giving us personal objects, photographs, and original film scripts… Ennio Morricone even faxed us an original score that we then enlarged and reproduced to cover the walls of the rooms that we had dedicated to him. Then there was Danièle Thompson, who kindly shared with us her personal photographs from the set of her films with handwritten notes; or Claude Lelouch, who offered us handwritten notes and original film reels that you can find in the Lelouch rooms of the hotel. Everyone became involved with a great deal of generosity, despite their very tight schedules.
How did the artists react once the hotel was constructed? Can you share with us a few anecdotes?
Unfortunately, not all of them were able to see the hotel, since many of them are highly occupied by their career and travel extensively, which makes scheduling a time to visit a tough ordeal! We were very touched by Danièle Thompson and her enthusiasm. She gave us valuable advice on the layout of our projection room—advice that we have, of course, taken and implemented accordingly! And she’s even authorized us to give the name of her father, Gérard Oury, to this room. The artists will surely come over time to discover the hotel, as soon as their schedules allow them. But they’ve all seen the photos, and we’ve been very thrilled to hear their comments.
Mr. Serge Cachan, President of Astotel
After completing his studies at HEC Paris, Serge Cachan decided in 1971 to dedicate himself to the hotel industry, drawn as he was by the comprehensive aspect of the career, as much in terms of the numerous opportunities for economic development as in the technical and human sense.
With the help of his two brothers Georges and Jean-Pierre, he took over the Astra Hotel on rue de Caumartin in Paris, originally acquired by their father in 1962. Together, the brothers created the group Astotel, which today boasts 16 three- and four-star Parisian hotels, comprising around 1,000 rooms, to its name.
Since forming his group, Serge Cachan has structured his team’s development towards ever more demanding standards, all while preserving the human aspect of the activity, loyal employees (some loyal for over 40 years!), and an impressively low turnover rate of 5%. Serge Cachan has learned to adapt his group to the demands of the industry, with design establishments that are always highly original, and a strategy resolutely oriented towards ensuring quality and ethical integrity. For this athletic family man and prize-winning tennis player, the hotel industry remains above all a career of services, one that places the individual at the heart of every consideration.
For more information on hotel rates, click here.
Be sure to check out my other article dediated to this hotel: Far from Home….Spend a Night in the World of a Cineaste
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.