"Visionarias" Liu Wen by Nagi Sakai for Harper’s Bazaar Spain September 2013.

more EXQUISITEness inside

(via alex-quisite)

Sundried Kelp farm - Xiapu, Fujian, China Secado al sol de algas Xiapu, Fujian, China

(via awelltraveledwoman)


Navigating the water streets of Hong Kong - Fan Ho


Tales from my epic adventure staying at one of the most unique and luxurious hotels in Paris…


Royal Monceau Raffles Paris - A Photo-Tour

A couple of months ago, I stayed in Paris for a few weeks and had the pleasure of being a guest of the Royal Monceau Raffles Paris during my stay.

The Royal Monceau Raffles Paris Hotel is a 5 Star Palace hotel located in the heart of Paris within walking distance to the Park Monceau and the Arc de Triomphe. It opened in the late 1920s and has hosted a wide array of people including Josephine Baker, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, and Michael Jackson.

It was recently refurbished by the iconic French designer Philippe Starck. And indeed, staying in the hotel and exploring it fully takes you on a whimsical journey into the imagination of Starck.

By the time I stayed at the Royal Monceau, I had been traveling in France for nearly three weeks at the tail-end of an adventure that took me through the south of France and up to Paris. I was a bit saucer-eyed and woozy from travel and travel photography. However, Royal Monceau made it impossible for me not to completely unwind and have my own smile-worthy adventure within its walls as I discovered the genius of Starck and grew to appreciate the Royal Monceau’s high standards of excellence.

Let’s explore!…

I stayed in one of the non-suite rooms during my stay. A view of the room looking towards the window:

Here is the view in my room looking towards the door. You will notice the large work of art carefully sitting against the wall. The hotel is devoted to art, and even has its own art concierge, Julie Eugène.

The works of art in the rooms belong to the hotel’s extensive art collection. The work of art in my room was by artist Koichiro Doi (Explosion: Pink).

As for the guitar, it’s there to enjoy and make visitors feel at home. Indeed, seeing the art sitting against the wall along with a guitar made me feel like I was in an alternate luxurious version of my own apartment  :


If the sleeping area feels like a re-imagined, sophisticated version of home, the mirrored bathroom feels like another dimension entirely with a wall of mirrors and all elements designed by Starck:


Closing the doors to the bathroom revealed more mirrors:


There are little details everywhere painstakingly chosen by Starck that make you stop and take pause like this handwritten letter hanging next to my bed from Jean Cocteau, a famous French poet, filmmaker, and artist :


When it comes to macarons, I am firmly a Pierre Hermé fan girl thanks to a sweet introduction to his macarons shortly after I arrived in Paris by my friend Beth.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that Hermé is the official pastry chef of the Royal Monceau Hotel.

So, you can imagine the sheer joy I felt when I saw a Hermé spread of macarons laid out in my room.


Sitting on the bed looking into the mirror which doubles as a television:


Beautiful Paris rooftops seen from the window of my room:


As soon as I saw the hallways in the hotel, I felt like Alice in Wonderland and I knew that I wanted to take this photo:


Indeed, the hotel’s design has a whimsical quality to it. The elevators are all different colors and fully mirrored. Here is the red one:


As I exited the elevator and looked out onto this scene looking out towards mirrors with artwork by Stephen Smith Lloyd, I distinctly heard a song from Twin Peaks by Angelo Badalamenti play softly on the hotel’s speakers:


I was so amused by the fact that Badalamenti was playing since I had been feeling a very distinct Lynch vibe while exploring the hotel. Some context: I am a huge David Lynch fan and Angelo Badalamenti is the composer that Lynch uses for many of his films as well as one of my favorite soundtrack composers (this video when fully watched illustrates his brilliance perfectly: Badalamenti and David Lynch) and who I listen to quite a bit when I edit my photos.

In the moment, I tweeted: “As I walked off the elevator earlier, a track by Angelo Badalamenti (from Twin Peaks) was playing and I smiled wide :)”.

And the lovely social media person for Royal Monceau tweeted back to me: “Thank you Vivienne, we’re glad you’re enjoying our David-Lynch-meets-Alice atmosphere :)”.


One of the most striking works of art in the hotel is by Russian artist Nikolay Polissky called Salle des Trophées which consists of 15 life-size wooden elk  :


Gorgeous chandeliers above the grand staircase:


Detail of hanging art in the hotel’s lobby area :


In addition to the beautiful hotel interiors, Starck is also responsible for the design of the hotel’s 1 Michelin Star restaurant, La Cuisine. Here is a view of the restaurant :


Plates designed by Starck:


Even the coffee cups are intricately designed by Starck. The paintings on the saucer are reflected perfectly in the cups. Here is a goldfish reflection:


And, an eye (my favorite):


Walking outside leads to the Terrace Garden, a relaxing and charming place to enjoy a meal or snack:


One of my favorite parts of the garden area is this great art installation by Joanna Vasconcelos of a giant ironwork tea-pot that guests can sit in. Magical!:


The hotel is full of surprises like the Katara Cinema Room, a 99 seat theater designed by Starck with state of the art cinema equipment like 3D:


And the award-winning Spa My Blend by Clarins spa which features a 23 meter infinity pool, one of the largest to exist in a Paris luxury hotel:


During my stay, I was fortunate enough to get a quick tour of one of the Presidential Suites. These are suites that start at 25,000 Euros a night. You will notice that the design by Philippe Starck is consistent with the room I stayed in which was one of the studios:

The Presidential Suite’s living area:


….dining area:


….bedroom (one of them):


And detail from one of the living room areas featuring a gorgeous photo by photographer Simon Chaput:


I hope you enjoyed the photo-tour!

I feel so fortunate to have had the experience I did at the Royal Monceau Raffles Paris. Everything from the food, to my time in the spa, and my adventures exploring the brilliance of Starck’s design felt like a dream.


Looking for these (and more) Royal Monceau Raffles Paris Hotel photos to view larger? Here you go (click or tap on each photo to view larger):

Royal Monceau Raffles Paris Hotel Photos

Interested in viewing all of my France posts so far? Here they are:

France Through the Lens


Incredible amounts of gratitude to:

The Royal Monceau Raffles Paris Hotel who let me stay as a guest of theirs in exchange for photography and took amazing care of me during my stay.

And, the official French tourism agency, who you can find here on Facebook France Guide. They made my entire France photography adventure possible and went above and beyond in making sure I was well taken care of everywhere I went (truly).


View: My travel photography portfolio, My Photography Book Releasing in Autumn, 2014, My NYC Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.


MISTY MOUNTAINS photograph print now available in my webstore until Sept 1st!

Order at http://ryanrussell.bigcartel.com

(via tryintosleep)