Nestled down a quiet road in the Pigalle district in one of the most romantic cities in the world lies a ‘temple to hedonism’. Maison Souquet is a 5-star gem hidden behind a classical golden stone facade and marked only by two red lanterns, a nod to its licentious past; the Maison is now a bijoux boutique hotel with only 20 rooms lavishly designed by the renowned Jacques Garcia.
Upon entering this den of epicureanism you are welcomed into an opulent gilded Moorish style salon, resplendent in rich jewel tones with ornate gold paneling and chandeliers dripping from the ceiling. The plush plum velvet Napoleon III chairs pay homage to the hotel’s lascivious history as a ‘maison close’ frequented by the bohemian socialites and intellectuals throughout the Belle Epoque period.
The salon leads into the intimate wood-paneled library bar that looks out over a leafy ivy-clad courtyard graced by a seductive Aphrodite. Elegant velvet drapes lure you in to recline upon its sumptuous seating and play a game of backgammon or cards as you while away the hours decadently sipping your champagne. Or perhaps try the hotel’s signature cocktail, ‘Secrets of the Unicorn’ is an exotic blend of mulled wine peppered with chai spices served in a decadent smoked wood glass.
Let yourself be led by the luxurious rose, tobacco and jasmine perfume that transports you to the orient as you ascend the gently lit staircase. Upstairs you will find that the boudoir style bedrooms are named after famous ladies of the demimondaine, each individually designed to mirror the courtesan in question (thinking of which, Marie Duplessis, the inspiration for the novel La Dame aux Camélias written by one of her lovers, Alexandre Dumas, is buried nearby in Montmarte Cemetry which makes for a fascinating day out).
Each bedroom is lavishly decorated in sumptuous fabrics, rich tones, gold accents, tassels and drapes. 19th-century paintings of ladies in various states of repose, minimally draped with wanton looks in their eyes adorn the walls adding to the atmosphere of this seductive Maison.
The bathrooms are luxuriously appointed with Hermes toiletries, soft fluffy towels and the quintessential Egyptian cotton bathrobe.
We would suggest you make time to enjoy one particularly magical feature that is on offer here; you can request your very own private key to the dimly lit spa where you will remain undisturbed for an hour underneath the midnight blue canopy gilded with intricate celestial patterns. Take a dip in the swimming pool, relax your muscles in the steam room or just simply lay back admiring the gold constellations above as you sip spiced tea. A wide range of beauty treatments are also offered as well as massages and hammam facilities.
In the morning you can look forward to a delicious breakfast served in the winter garden, or your bedroom of course. Choose from a selection of freshly baked bread and croissants served with eggs cooked any way you desire, a divine selection of French cheeses or smoked salmon, hams and other savouries.
We loved our stay in this luxurious Maison in Paris. The location is fantastically convenient if you happen to be arriving at Gare du Nord station, just a 5-minute taxi ride and you’ve arrived. Being history geeks and fans of the decadent 1920s era we also loved that the atmosphere transports you to another era and we enjoyed the private spa. Every sensuous detail added a touch of exotic luxury to the hotel. The service was impeccable and we were made to feel very at home.
The only slight downsides were that unless you were staying in a junior suite the bedroom is a little on the small side. Also, there seems to be a lack of plug sockets which is an annoyance for any female! But those very small negatives aside, this makes for the perfect romantic weekend away in the city of love. We would race back again in a heartbeat.