Hôtel de JoBo: Paris Chic In The Marais
One of the most exclusive reservations in town, and therefore among the most sought after, is for a room at Hôtel de JoBo, the fashionable hotel whose 24 elegant rooms belie the building’s earlier function as a convent. Paris these days is brimming with small, stylish hotels, but few have the combination of exuberant surroundings and at-home feeling of Hôtel de JoBo, where the friendly staff embody efficiency and friendliness as if in a private mansion. That is sensation here, feeling like one has been invited to the house party of a wealthy friend.
The full name of this establishment is Hôtel de Joséphine Bonaparte, whimsically nicknamed JoBo, in honour of the wife of Napoleon who was born Rose but renamed by her imperial husband. Here original name explains the preponderance of the flower theme throughout the hotel, beginning with the floral canopy over its courtyard entrance; one of the guestrooms even has flower wallpaper on the ceiling. The many sumptuous wallpapers at Hôtel de JoBo were custom made for the rooms by celebrated French textile manufacturer Maison Pierre Frey. The cocktail lounge, where a portrait of Joséphine presides over the activity, is a popular meeting place for Parisians. The lounge is transformed into the breakfast area come morning. There is no restaurant on the premises, but the exceptional lunches and afternoon tea of the legendary Mariage Frères tea salon is only a short walk away.
The inside of the hotel may be seductive enough to keep guests entranced by the decor and atmosphere, but outside is one of the liveliest of Parisian neighbourhoods, well worth exploring. Le Marais has long been known as one of the most charming districts in Paris; its abundance of cafés, bars, and restaurants is complemented by esoteric bookshops, specialised boutiques, and even more chocolate shops than normally found in this city where appreciation for fine chocolate is a high art. The various cultural sights of the Marais are all very close by, as are Place des Vosges and Place de la Bastille, both only a few blocks away.
Nothing about Hôtel de JoBo is ordinary, which makes it the perfect place for visitors looking for extraordinary accommodation in the French capital. Even the hotel’s website is unlike any other, more a fashion shoot than a typical hotel presentation.