Right in the beating heart of Paris sits the sumptuous Hôtel Lumen. A stone’s throw from the Jardin de Tuileries, Musée du Louvre, luxury shopping streets and the banks of the glittering Seine, this hotel is the place to stay for a truly Parisian Chic Retreat. Managed by Arnaud Bal, son of Alexandre who founded the hotel along with his brother Herman 10 years ago, the 3 men now co-own the lavish property. We sat down with Arnaud to find out the inspiration behind this beautiful boutique bolthole.
‘My family has been in the hospitality industry for 20 years now. Therefore, I have been influenced since my earliest childhood and I totally fell in love with this profession,’ Arnaud tells us, ‘I would even say that I discovered a real passion.’ Following his studies at the prestigious École Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) in Switzerland and working and studying all over the world, Arnaud returned to Paris to take the helm of Hôtel Lumen as General Manager.
When an unusual opportunity came up to purchase a former bank in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, Arnaud’s father and uncle jumped at the opportunity to add to their portfolio of hotels. ‘They saw a real potential in this building facing the St. Roch Church and perpendicular to Saint Honoré Street. They both fell in love with the uniqueness of the hotel and its Haussmannian style.’ The whole building was lovingly and lavishly refurbished to create an intimate boutique hotel with its own gastronomic restaurant.
Recruiting the brilliant Italian designer Claudio Colucci to lead the project’s design, the Bal family wanted to create an immediately recognisable identity for Hôtel Lumen in the historic centre of Paris. Of his uncle, Arnaud says ‘Inspired by the beauty of Paris and its incomparable architecture, and with the multicultural background of our family, he had a clear idea in mind of the atmosphere and the design he wanted to give to the Lumen.’
The Lumen’s gastronomic restaurant includes a beautiful glass canopy over its dining room, and includes a terrace for al fresco dining that is synonymous with Paris and its famous streets. ‘Our current Japanese Chef Akira Sugiura serves guests Italian cuisine with French and Japanese influences mainly composed of pasta, meat and fish.’ A thoroughly unique culinary experience awaits guests of the hotel. ‘We make them travel into the chef’s cuisine by awakening their taste buds’ Arnaud tells us. The experience is made all the more personal by the expert team of staff, and restaurant manager Steven Bernot is always a friendly face, delighted to welcome guests to dine contentedly. Arnaud’s passion and love for his hotel is abundantly clear. ‘I truly recommend you to try and discover our restaurant. Our young chef offers you inspiring and delicious dishes. You should go for the “Carte Blanche” menu: the Chef makes you travel between Italy and Japan with 6 stopovers!’
Constantly evolving from its inception, two brand new suites have just been added to the 39 room property. ‘The Suite Balneo Duplex has a new design with wooden floor and balneo bath tub in the middle of the room. The new suites offer guests a high-end experience in a singular design’ Arnaud says, ‘and the location and its particular design plunge the guests into a real new world. A world where we want them to dream, travel and discover. 39 rooms make the difference too: you will never be considered as a “room number” in our property but always as a VIP guest, as we know that each stay of each client means a lot and has to be unforgettable.’ The Bal family’s intention is to absolutely immerse guests into the French art of living.
The hotel’s Clef d’Or concierge and designer amenities such as Hermès bathroom products cement the hotel’s reputation for delivering the highest level of service. ‘The global idea and vision of the Lumen is to offer to the guests a unique experience.’
When asked how the Lumen attracts guests back again and again, Arnaud tells us ‘Honestly, our location in the middle of Paris and the small distance from the main historical sites make our hotel a very convenient accommodation option, not to say the place to be.’ The hotel’s concierge organises tours with a local guide that Arnaud describes as ‘a wonderful opportunity to discover for instance the best bakeries and pastry shops of Montmartre, to taste wonderful wines, to discover unknown places from the tourists, to live for one day as a Parisian.’
Arnaud and the Bal family are committed to the guest experience, and creating lasting relationships with every visitor to the hotel. ‘If we meet in the common areas of the hotel, I will be glad to have a coffee with you. Always delighted to meet new people and share stories.’