The newly renovated 54 room hotel which is housed within the Abbaye de Fontevraud, a magnificent 12th century abbey (monastery) in the Loire Valley, was redeveloped as a perfect blend of historic preservation and modernity with truly dramatic results.
The design concept for Fontevraud L’Hôtel is both authentic and contemporary in its choice of materials (wood, metal and fabrics), in the organisation of its spaces (spacious, light-filled rooms), and in the design of its furniture and objects, designed especially for the project by Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku and made by local craftsmen.
The lobby area immediately sets the tone for the hotel, with the extensive use of wood giving a warm atmosphere that continues throughout the different spaces of the priory.
Located throughout various parts of the priory (South Wing, West Wing and Pavillon du Liban), the 54 rooms are shaped by the architectural spaces around them: some rooms are duplexes, others are sloping attic rooms or have extremely high ceilings. In all the rooms, particular attention has been paid to acoustics and lighting in order to create a quiet, intimate, calm refuge – environments where an unconditional modernity comes together with the monastic and penitentiary history of the site.
The sober, simple design of the bedrooms is pared down to essentials. A deliberately restricted palette of colours and materials reinforces this honest simplicity. Here, ‘luxury’ is neither showy nor superficial. Instead it is implied through refined details, the quality of the materials, the attention paid to our guests. From the bed head that is ideally angled for comfortable reading, to the soundproofing ensured by 22cm thick partitions, every detail has been designed for optimum comfort.
To ensure a great night’s sleep, Fontevraud worked with Nantes-based company Biosense to develop a high-quality bespoke bed. Its centrepiece is a 100% natural mattress: latex from Sri Lanka for softness and resilliance, coir for firmness. Being breathable, natural materials are more hygienic, and the combination of five support points ensures an even spread of weight for a high degree of comfort.
Specially created for the hotel bedrooms, the furniture is a subtle distillation of the language of the monastic cell and adds to the spirit of the place. Although all the services indispensable to modern connected life are made available, they are carefully hidden in the room’s design in order not to disturb the character of the rooms as places for relaxation and reflection.
The bedroom furniture was all designed specifically for the project by Jouin Manku. From the wastepaper basket to the desk and the stool, which doubles as a clever piece of storage, the exceptional level of detailing sets the experience of staying at Fontevraud apart.
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