Re-opened this spring following a 5-month renovation, the century-old Hôtel Royal Barrière in the Normandy region of France unveiled an elegant update that pays homage to its history.
In 1913, Groupe Lucien Barrière Hôtels & Casinos opened the Hôtel Royal Barrière in Deauville, which featured 400 bedrooms equipped with a bathroom, electricity, central heating, and a telephone — all of which were completely revolutionary at that time.
Times have changed! Sometimes referred to as the “Parisian Riviera,” the sea-side resort town of Deauville – roughly two hours from Paris – has drawn society’s finest since the turn of the 20th Century.
Open seasonally from March through October, Hôtel Royal Barrière is located in the center of Deauville and is in walking distance from the major French fashion boutiques (including the second store Coco Chanel herself opened). A member of the Leading Hotels of the World® (LHW) group, it dominates the coastline with a sizable presence and is nearby the Landing Beaches (think D-Day) and the island of Mont Saint Michel.
When the hotel was elected to become a member of LHW, Kirei Studio was hired to completely review the hotel’s image and find a warm contemporary design approach that also respected its heritage.
Interior designer Nathalie Ryan’s collaboration with Groupe Lucien Barrière Hôtels & Casinos began in 2010, when she created the Dior Suite at the group’s Hôtel Majestic Barrière and later at the Hôtel Normandy Barrière.
For the Hôtel Royal Barrière in Deauville, Ryan was inspired by the same sense of refinement: preserving the building’s essence, features, and character while creating a balance between contemporary and traditional décor.
Since 1974, Royal Lucien Barrière Hôtels et Casinos has been a partner of the American Film Festival, which attracts many Hollywood stars who stroll along the legendary boardwalks. The Hôtel Royal Barrière welcomes many of these screen legends each year during their stay, and naming a suite after a movie star is the resort’s way to pay homage to them.
In 1985, Elizabeth Taylor was the guest of honor at the Festival and the first star to have a suite named for her. The hotel suite was decorated personally by Lucien Barrière’s wife Marta Barrière, who chose tones evocative of the actress’ famous eyes. A photo of the inauguration is hung in the Deluxe Sea-View Suite with these words written by Elizabeth Taylor: “Dear Marta, thank you so much for your hospitality. I’ve had a great time, and the L.T. suite is the one of the most beautiful I have ever seen — you did a fabulous job. I am very honored to have it named after me. Thank you for everything. Always, Elizabeth Taylor.” Although the suite was refurbished as part of the renovation, Ryan retain its signature color theme.
The Elizabeth Taylor Deluxe Mer Club Suite is accomplished in a sapphire blue and grey color scheme. Guests are transported into the luxurious world of Elizabeth Taylor with lavish touches such as the Baldaquin velvet bed and chandeliers adorned with blue pendaloques that recall the star’s legendary sapphire earrings. Iconic portraits of the actress – produced on canvas in black and white to give them an authentic Old Hollywood feel – are hung around the room.
Beautiful walk-in wardrobes, a bathroom made in slightly iridescent white ceramic with a dressing table in a grey and white palette, complete the suite.
For the Deluxe Mer Club Suite, Ryan worked with a gray and royal blue palette and incorporated a mixture of textures including angel hair embossing on the gray fabric/silver walls, wooden headboards with a wenge rub, and a rug inspired by the sand from the Normandy beaches. The room consists of lavish dressings and a bathroom in a gray striatto palette with a dotted marble basin and a wenge design. Providing adequate lighting for grooming tasks, as well as to help set a relaxing ambiance, was especially important.
In the Michael Douglas Suite, the palette is based on a beige theme inspired by the nearby beaches and contrasted with prune-colored fabric for the entrance of the suite to give a dramatic, theatrical effect. The walls are adorned with legendary images from the filmography of actor Michael Douglas, who has stayed in this suite on occasion.
The overall Barrière Resort in Deauville renovation was a massive undertaking that included the Hôtel du Golf Barrière in 2014, the legendary restaurants on the Planches promenade (Bar de la Mer and Bar du Soleil), the creation of the Potinière restaurant at the Casino, the refurbishment of rooms and suites at Hôtel Normandy Barrière and, finally, the Hôtel Royal Barrière.
In addition to the guest rooms and suites, all of the Barrière meeting rooms were upgraded to improve access, offer modern surroundings, and provide the best technology to facilitate conferences and corporate events.