Les Bains Guerbois and Paris have a shared history going back over 130 years, beginning as a luxurious private bathhouse (as the name suggests) and attracting the bohemians, philosophers and glitterati of the Belle Epoque (a period between 1871 to 1914). One of Les Bains Guerbois’ regulars, Marcel Proust, would come to submerge himself in a hot sulfur bath daily. Remnants of this time are still evident today in the original stained glass windows, al fresco paintings and tiled floors.
In the late 1970s, Les Bains Douches, as it was renamed, became the hot spot of Parisian nightlife with a roster of regulars that read like a Rolling Stone magazine cover — Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Mick Jagger and others would party here. After nearly three decades of revelry, Les Bains Douches closed and the building was left to ruin in 2010. Artists called the building home for a short period of time, which is reflected in cement walls both inside and out. Many thought the famous bathhouse-turned-nightclub had seen its last days.
But thanks to Jean-Pierre Marois, the son of the original owner, and a team of talented designers and architects, including Vincent Bastie, Denis Montel and Tristan Auer, Les Bains Paris, which reopened this past April, is ready to rewrite its history as a luxury hotel, restaurant, cocktail bar and nightclub.
“Les Bains pays tribute to the heritage of a Parisian icon while projecting it into the future,” says Marois. “It is a hotel unlike any other, and so much more.”
Indeed, Les Bains has seen all shades of decadence over the years. Here are three of our favorite ways to enjoy it today.
It’s not often, especially in Paris, that a hotel offers such decadent amenities as a balcony shower or a Marshall Stanmore stereo system synced to the beats in the club or restaurant below. (Truthfully, haven’t you always wanted to keep the party going from the comforts of your own hotel suite?) Most rooms at Les Bains boast a balcony, if not a full private terrace equipped with a dining table that’s perfect for private dinners with the in-house chef. Other details include a blue phone, matching the iconic blue tiles of the pool, adorned with the image of Bacchus, the mascot of Les Bains. Each of the 39 rooms also features a replica sofa from Warhol’s collection and other custom-crafted furniture. Contemporary art found around the property will be available for purchase soon at Les Bains boutique, to be located across the street.
The Club and Pool
No night at Les Bains is complete without a dip in the iconic pool, the last nod to the venue’s former life as a bathhouse. Made famous from the late 1970s to early 00s by models, designers, musicians and A-list celebrities like Johnny Depp and Kate Moss, the pool remains a symbol to Les Bains’ festive past. Today, after being completely renovated (the signature blue and white tiles really stand out), the area is more than ready for late-night guests to take a dip in its heated waters. During the day, it is used as part of Les Bains’ spa and hammam, reserved exclusively for hotel guests. At night, DJs punctuate the mood with all sorts of tunes from around the globe.
The Cocktail Bar and Restaurant
The red lacquered walls and mesmerizing architecture of the dining room are two of the first things you see upon entering Les Bains. The large room has a white marble cocktail bar, where craft cocktails are made every day for hotel guests and visitors. The restaurant also leads out onto two large patios, which are open for dining on warmer nights. Both the cocktail and restaurant menus offer a neo-French take on classics, with a touch of Asian fusion. For an ideal summer dinner, pair a refreshing citrus cocktail (lemongrass, homemade candied ginger, in-house syrups and juices) with a spring vegetable risotto with olive oil mousse. Don’t miss the hidden dining room at the back of the restaurant, located in the 19th-century water tank that used to supply the original bathhouse. Today, the secret spot is available for groups up to 12, with a deconstructed disco ball reflecting quotes from Les Bains’ original regular, Marcel Proust, onto the surrounding cement walls.