We all know The Buddha-Bar by name, but perhaps a bit less their hotels. The group owns over fifteen restaurants around the world and currently boasts three 5-star hotels, including one in Paris. I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Buddha-Bar in Paris, and I can say that I very much admired it. The architect has designed some beautiful work and thought through many of the details involved in the organization of the rooms. Your five senses will constantly be at work throughout your path within the hotel. Here indeed is a true luxury hotel. The manager Monsieur Loïc Le Berre, who has just changed establishments, has greatly contributed to the placement of a service worthy of a 5-star hotel.
I invite you to meet Buddha-Bar co-founders Tarja Visan and Raymond Visan, of George V Entertainment Group—the same group that has launched such establishments as Barfly, Buddha-Bar, and Barrio Latino and continues today to develop spas and hotels.
What characterizes your hotels in terms of construction and design? How do you select the architects who will go on to design your hotels? Who are they? How do they embody the spirit of your brand? What is their connection with the Buddha-Bars?
We currently own three hotels. All of these sites possess a historical backdrop, which we wanted to preserve as much as possible. It goes without saying that the design integrates the DNA of Buddha-Bar’s legendary restaurant.
We always craft the décor after the site. There is no copy-and-pasting or imitating. The décor must bring out the visual design of the location, especially when we have the opportunity to establish ourselves in a site with a unique look. Of course, we take into consideration the culture of the country, all while sprinkling “our decorative spices” to give the Buddha-Bar its signature magical atmosphere.
We’ve worked with numerous architects, and each one brings his unique point of view and interpretation of the Buddha-Bar concept. This is what makes this exercise so endlessly interesting! Once we decide on a place, we go on to choose our architect.
In Prague, the building of the Buddha-Bar Hotel was designed by J.CAMSKY and built in 1916. We’ve preserved the windows, the stairs, and the handrails, and we’ve made identical copies from the original stucco on the ceilings. In turn, we’ve placed at the heart of the historical staircase an elevator in red glass, shiny numbered room plates along the floor, and gold touches that breathe life back to the original moldings. Of course, you will always find the signature lacquers, somber woods, and gold features characteristic of Buddha-Bar.And in Paris, the private mansion (hôtel particulier) dates from 1734. We’ve restored the frescoes, ornamental figures, moldings, and staircase. We worked with DWA, FRANÇOIS WABLER on two projects. François has worked with us since 1995, so he has an extensive knowledge of the Buddha-Bar concept. He is always coming up with new ideas, and he loves to introduce us to new technologies or new styles of decoration, whether in fabrics, materials, or colors. For Budapest, we chose the firm REV, CHRISTIANO Benzoni. His work has brought in a unique and modern take on the concept, with a newer, more urban look for this otherwise imposing palace measuring at 10,000 square meters that had originally been constructed for the Duchess Klotild Von Augusbourg.
What are the mutual ties that inspire Oriental and Western culture in terms of the art of living and welcoming? How do you define the art of welcoming in your hotels? What is your vision?We’ve started looking into the fusion between Oriental and Western since the beginning by identifying common elements in design, as well as the creative Pacific Rim cuisine with its influences ranging from Asian, Hawaiian, Indian, and Californian. The Musical style of the Buddha-Bar world and the rituals of the B/Attitude treatments also reflect these fusions.
So it was only natural that we should recover these influences in our hotels. The client receives an impeccable 5-star service with all the warmth of the human touch. A smile can make or break the execution of a service. Our teams are young and dynamic, and they are all there to satisfy the client.
My husband Raymond Visan, who has traveled all his life, nurtured a vision that reflected his desire to create “his ideal hotel.” One that has impeccable service but where one could also find some time for fun. That remains our goal.
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.