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Hotel du Marc

Madame Clicquot's former domicile gets a top-to-toe makeover

by Ami Kealoha in Travel on 14 October 2011

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Housed in the former residence of Madame Clicquot herself, Hotel du Marc is a place to stay unlike any other. As if the historic setting in Reims, France wasn't enough, Veuve Clicquot recently completed a head-to-toe renovation, updating the interiors and facade to create the kind of charming experience for which many hotels strive but few achieve.

The facade underwent extensive repairs—though WWI-era pockmarks left by mortar shells remain—and now sports a smart-looking new awning (made locally, along with other new features), but it's the decor, a mix of antique pieces, custom art and other clever design elements, that makes for a visit not just comfortable but totally enchanting. The surprises begin right away when, greeting guests at the entryway, a grometrically mirrored installation in tribute to Issey Miyake's "Pleats Please," recasts a problematic space by containing a cloakroom with serious "wow" effect.

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Stairs leading up to the rooms honor the famous chalk caves of Reims with an ombre carpet that fades from white to burgundy—for the Pinot grapes, of course. The vine-like balustrade, designed by Pablo Reinoso, also evokes the neighboring fields, culminating in the twisting and turning wood of the artist's captivating site-specific sculpture at the top of the stairs.

From there, a hallway swathed in their trademark yellow, leads to a handful of spacious rooms, each featuring a design tied to a season as well as a place. Details such as Fornasetti plates (a favorite part of the "Rome" room where I stayed when Veuve Clicquot invited us to preview it last month), and bathroom tiles incorporating touches of gold into an anchor pattern inspired by the Veuve Clicquot logo, make the rooms as elegantly pleasant as the rest of the house.

Downstairs, a library, lounge, chef's kitchen and other spaces for entertaining promise many occasions for enjoying the bubbles responsible for the whole affair. On our visit, the kitchen transformed from an afternoon hands-on cooking demo to a post-dinner screening of Lady Gaga concert tapes, to give you an idea. A formal dining room is literally the heart of the house, featuring woodwork taken from the castle of Eduard Werle (Clicquot's business partner) around which the house was initially built. Formerly painted white, the wood was restored and painted black, nicely offsetting frescoes depicting scenes of life in Champagne.

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A cellar stores wine used in the house, as well as rare bottles, still wines and (eventually) Andree Putman's 2005 writing table for the brand. The feature also allows the building to have a Canadian well, which keeps the building 13 degrees cooler in the summer as well as providing heat in the winter, part of the winemaker's ongoing efforts to be environmentally conscious.

Alas, this kind of experience does not come without exclusivity; staying at the Hotel du Marc is by invite only. For more photos, however, check out Notcot's coverage.

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