Hôtel Rosalie, “Reconciling the Urban<br> Landscape with Nature”

Hôtel Rosalie, “Reconciling the Urban
Landscape with Nature”

“Helping nature reclaim its place in the heart of the city.” For the Hôtel Rosalie, Joris Bruneel – chairman of the MyHotels Group – challenged interior architect and designer Marion Mailaender to offer Parisians – and not just Parisians – a calm, relaxing hideaway. This ‘urban island’, set back from the bustling Place d’Italie, where plants and nature seem to be reclaiming their rightful place, met that challenge handsomely. From the façade to the 400 m2 of outdoor space. The designer’s decorative choices interact with a succession of terraces and gardens – some hanging, some not – planted under the guidance of landscape architect Merci Raymond. The designer also pulls out all the stops in her playful approach with cork on the floor and the floral wallpaper. Inspired by the offbeat international style of the façade, which is given an interesting twist by the “antique” statues that adorn it, she plays on anachronism by combining signed designer furniture with a bold pop finish. Like the lobby, with its Gae Aulenti pieces revisited in an eye-catching clover print textile. It’s a great way to make the most of the building’s context and much more besides. Joris Bruneel wanted to include an entire district of the 13th arrondissement alongside Marion in the project. By putting people front and centre. Leading the way were students from the neighbouring Estienne art school. Their expertise is showcased here in a mural of frescoes and in the posters that decorate some of the sixty cosy rooms. A human-centred and generous vision of the hotel industry that offers a breath of fresh air in a Paris they hope will be greener than ever.

Hôtel Rosalie, 8 Bis Av. de la Soeur Rosalie, 75013 Paris, bookable on their website www.hotel-rosalie.com or by telephone on +33 (0)143 366200.

Terrasse en bois à l'hôtel Rosalie
Chaise de jardin fermob à l'hôtel Rosalie
Terrasse avec pot de plante en pierre vintage à l'hôtel Rosalie

Believe it or not, the Rosalie hotel is really calm as it’s set back from hustle and bustle of Place d’Italie…

Voiture rouge avec lierre à l'hôtel Rosalie
Chaise de jardin Fermob à l'hôtel Rosalie

Marion, Joris: can you introduce yourselves?


Joris Bruneel, I’m a hotelier and president of The MyHotels Group which I founded in 2013. We run 18 establishments including two independent hotels. We established Babel in Belleville in 2021 and in May 2022 we opened the Rosalie hotel in Paris’s 13th arrondissement. I was introduced to Marion after I heard about her Tuba project in Marseille. We immediately hit it off. Our shared southern roots helped – I’m from the Var and she’s from Marseille! I particularly like her open-mindedness and creative flexibility. She never turns up with a fully-prepared kit and doesn’t like doing things the standard way… She does them her way and brilliantly too! With the Rosalie, she breathed new life into the classic 4-star hotel style and listened carefully to the story I wanted to tell her.


I’m Marion Mailaender, an interior architect and designer. I took on the Rosalie hotel’s interior design at Joris’s request. We met just after the Tuba Club opened, a project that cemented my expertise in the hotel world (there are only five bedrooms (laughs)). Joris took a chance when he chose me for this much bigger hotel and our conversations were fascinating – I learned so much during this project.

Can you tell us about the Rosalie, which opened after Babel and continues with the sustainable, responsible approach?


The Rosalie, on Avenue de la soeur Rosalie between La place d’Italie and Les Gobelins, is a 4-star hotel with 60 rooms. Believe it or not, it’s really calm as it’s set back from hustle and bustle of Place d’Italie… We’re lucky to have over 400 m2 of outdoor space, comprising three terraces that formed the backbone of our project and which we revamped with the help of Merci Raymond, a landscaping company that creates a lot of Paris’s green rooftops. The idea was to introduce nature to the heart of Paris, to reconcile urban living and nature and to give the Rosalie an “urbex” feel. There’s an old Peugeot 205 on the roof, filled with plants that are growing out of its windows and even the bonnet! You’ll find hops, raspberries, hazelnuts, grapes, herbs… Marion threw herself into this lush universe so that it would correspond to her decorative ideas.

Concretley, how is that fundamentally expressed in the project and on a daily basis?


I’ve lived in Paris for nigh-on twenty years, and I was beginning to find the city a bit hostile, aggressive, unnatural… I wanted to create urban hotels that meant something and weren’t just money-spinners. It’s why Babel and Rosalie are designed to create a link with living things, to bring humans and nature closer together. It’s why they are very much locally-rooted, and promote sustainable tourism and food systems. It’s why the Rosalie, like Babel, was awarded the Clef Verte label.


I fully took on board (and share) Joris’s values when designing the hotel’s interior. People are at the heart of things. I invited students from Ecole Estienne (the famous applied arts school next door) to take part in the project. The typography students produced the rooms’ signs while the digital arts students created a fresco. The artist Pauline Rousseau produced a photographic work based on the Gobelins tapestries. The idea was to immerse the hotel in the neighbourhood’s culture.

Entrée en arche Hôtel Rosalie
Lobby avec mur miroirs à l'hôtel Rosalie
Murs en béton ciré à l'hôtel Rosalie
Bar avec mur rouge à l'hôtel Rosalie
Bar à mosaïque à l'hôtel Rosalie

You’re hoping these establishments become a long-lasting part of the local landscape to the benefit of local businesses and residents. How have you created this link with local life? What results are you hoping for?


The idea is the Rosalie will become an important local landmark, working alongside the local town hall, the residents, the traders and the charities. The hotel’s products are local (coffee from the Gobelins roasting house, bread from next door, Parisian jams, and even the rooms’ Bluetooth speakers are made in the 19th arrondissement), and we worked closely with the local artist, Pauline Rousseau. We’re also really proud of our partnership with Ecole Estienne, which is a hundred yards or so from the hotel. We’ve been open for five months and the idea is that the Rosalie becomes a meeting place with events throughout the year that focus on bringing nature back into the city. Babel is now well-established, having opened a year ago, and is known as a local landmark where you’ll find various initiatives from the hanging bedroom, ‘solidarity dinners’, and the concept of a business that actually has a mission (a first in the French hotel industry)!

Why choose the 13th arrondissement for Rosalie?


The 13th arrondissement is a lively area, unlike some of the soulless city centre neighbourhoods. There’s Chinatown, the Butte-aux-Cailles, lots of street art. It’s urban with a local energy, all the while being near to the city centre. You also have to admit that finding a place with over 400 m2 of outdoor space in the middle of Paris is quite a feat.

Marion, you decided to use “architectural common sense” when creating the interior. Tell us more about your choices.


The Rosalie wasn’t an easy job. The facade and terraces were depressing and the areas without natural light were a real challenge. I take on board the downsides of the spaces I work on, they help me create my designs. That, for me, is architectural common sense. Make the most of a place’s features without wanting to change them, and start from scratch while respecting constraints, particularly budgetary ones. It’s also about working in a contextual manner and giving each space its own identity. The Rosalie isn’t what you’d exactly call vernacular architecture, but it does represent a post-modern style. The international style of the facade is topped with “antique” statues that crown the roof terrace. I love this inconsistency and I used this anachronism as a basis for the project. Decor-wise this can be seen in the pop wallpaper in the Gae Aulenti lounge in the lobby, carpets that run up the rooms’ walls to form headboards and even the nature-invaded car on the roof, just like rusty old cars you’ll see by the side of the road which remind us that nature will always take over at some point.

Espace restaurant avec tables en bois à l'hôtel Rosalie
Espace restaurant à l'hôtel Rosalie
Table ronde en marbre à l'hôtel Rosalie
Chaise Ray à l'Hôtel Rosalie
Table ronde à l'hôtel Rosalie

What else inspired you when creating a style that you describe as “free, mixed, unconstrained and with no preconceived ideas”?


My main inspiration came from the initial brief – to bring nature into this urban setting for a city hideaway that’s as fresh as the great outdoors. I thought about using cork on the floor for a natural feel that corresponds with the plants that line the facade. And using galvanised steel for the interior furniture for a bolder way to evoke nature than simply placing a plant on a desk. I also blended meticulously designed furniture by Bouroullec for Hay with trellised benches from low-cost garden furniture suppliers.

The “boundary” between the indoors and outdoors is deliberately seamless – nature is everywhere from botanical prints and materials to basic garden furniture set next to designer pieces. Why have you emphasised the importance of living things?


Because when lockdown ended, we all wanted to enjoy some nature in Paris, and the Rosalie’s main attraction is the outdoor areas. Concrete needed to give way to nature. The landscapers from Merci Raymond managed to incorporate nature so that gradually the entire hotel will feature botanical elements and where the indoor areas are more like covered passages that link one outdoor area to another.

One, then two establishments: is there a third one underway?


I’ve got a crazy idea for a place centred around psychedelics (just decor-wise obviously) and also a more sensible project set in the mountains which will also focus on living things. Or maybe something more spiritual – I’m getting more mystical with age.

Where will we find you in the coming months?


In my much-loved Cévennes to begin with, then maybe in Marseille to open a new Babel establishment!


In Pigalle where I’ll be finishing an oyster bar project, in a gym with my boyfriend Rodolphe Parente, on Tuba’s new terrace in Marseille, lazing by a pool in Giens or in a dye workshop in Tangiers!

Tête de lit avec papier-peint fleuri à l'hôtel Rosalie
Tête de lit avec papier peint fleuri à l'hôtel Rosalie

My main inspiration came from the initial brief – to bring nature into this urban setting for a city hideaway that’s as fresh as the great outdoors.

Applique murale ronde et console en bois à l'hôtel Rosalie
Salle de bain avec miroir rond à l'hôtel Rosalie
Tabouret en bois à l'hôtel Rosalie
Chambre avec baie vitrée à l'hôtel Rosalie

Inspiration déco...

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Hôtel des Académies et des Arts,
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