By  on November 30, 2010

Despite his clean-line, utterly contemporary aesthetic, Philippe Starck’s revamping of Paris’ Royal Monceau didn’t omit any of the expected elements of a palace hotel: namely, luxury, history and elegance — along with healthy doses of hype.

After more than two years of renovation, the 82-year-old building reopened this month with a modern ambiance and a strong emphasis on art. Some 300 works are dispersed throughout the grounds: Joana Vasconcelos’ giant teapot stands in the garden, Stéphane Calais’ fresco decorates the ceiling of the hotel’s French restaurant La Cuisine and Nikolai Polissky’s wooden animal sculptures decorate the downstairs lobby. The property also has a rich art program, which includes shows that will be organized at its exhibition space and photo gallery. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s drawings and paintings are currently on display.

To further feed guests’ cultural appetite and inspire their own creativity, the Royal Monceau also boasts a 100-seat screening room; a bookshop dedicated to contemporary art, architecture and design, and a blog called “Art for Breakfast,” which lists noteworthy cultural events in Paris. Groovy fashion retailer l’Eclaireur will set up a shop, “Le Royal Éclaireur,” accessible both from the hotel and a separate street entrance, later this year. And early next year, a 16,000-square-foot Clarins spa is slated to open with the largest hotel pool in Paris.

Starting in early 2011, three private apartments at the Monceau will be up for grabs. Each abode includes an equipped kitchen, fitness room and access to all the hotel’s amenities. Prices start at 12,000 euros, or about $16,000, a night — starving artists need not apply.

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