Hotel, spa and elegant bar in vaults

Interior Design, Specifications & Design Management

The brief

Underneath a Relais du Silence hotel in a medieval UNESCO site on an old French town, a series of 12th-century French vaults were to be turned into a stylish bar. We had already been working with this client for 16 years, using our interior design skills and services throughout the existing buildings. The idea was to modernise and adapt the existing design, transforming the building from its current season-only status to a much-desired, year-round, high-end venue that would see bookings all year round. The entire hotel needed a modern upscale.

What we did and the outcome

The concept design for this exciting subterranean project was exciting. We are fortunate to be native French-speakers, so working in France was a pleasure and entirely natural to us, and a huge plus with regards to sourcing items, documents and a team. For example, the build required 3D visualisation, FF&E procurement, and close ongoing management of contractors and building regulators. From a design perspective, we were determined to showcase the 12th-century stone vaults in all their glory, by seamlessly mixing new with old to create the perfect ambiance. To the existing structure we added 14 new bedrooms and a new spa and pool, and converted a classified section into short-term apartment lets.

We love the romantic feel of the hotel’s new dramatically lit downstairs bar, and the laid-back relaxing style of the rooms above. We created the hotel’s new branding and design and produced the signage, reflected in the bar’s opulent signature aesthetics: iron grids tucked into stone alleys, bar optics shining like rare gems, and metallic drop lights glowing around stone pilasters. Upstairs in the main hotel, bespoke furniture in neutral tones gives a nod to the stonework below. The restaurant’s backlit embroidery panels and original stone beams also have medieval overtones, and this space gives out onto a cobbled eating area, dotted with bright flower pots and old oaks.