Lola James Harper creating hotel with Accor, and opens debut Paris boutique
We’ve seen Armani Hotels; Ferragamo golf courses; Stella McCartney dual-use skyscrapers and Roberto Cavalli nightclubs. Next in the art of designer living will be a Rock 'N' Roll hotel by hipster lifestyle brand Lola James Harper, in a franchise deal with France’s largest hotel chain, Accor.
Expect the unexpected - instead of a spa, there will be a music studio and a basketball court. “No massage! Well-being for us is being together playing music,” explained Rami Mekdachi, who founded Lola James Harper in June 2013. No playlist playing in the hotel lobby either, but instead only a DJ spinning vinyl.
"You need someone like Accor to provide the muscle. I am the one who puts in the heart,” smiles Mekdachi.
Last week, Mekdachi opened Lola James Harper’s first free-standing Paris store, at 30 rue Henry Monnier, in the ninth, located in a former 1930s book store. “It’s like a living room. With tea, coffee, scents, T-shirts and art,” explains Mekdachi, who has opened Lola James Harper corners, pop-ups and shop-in-shops in shops including Opening Ceremony, Maxfield, Conran, Colette and Selfridges.
Mekdachi hopes to open hotel Lola James Harper – the label’s name was dreamed up by his teenage daughter - in late 2018, and is currently scouting potential locations for a Paris space with between 50 and 100 rooms. A giant hotel group, Accor boasts over 600,000 rooms in 4,200 hotels - ranging from downmarket businessman inns to luxury brands like the Raffles and Fairmont Hotels. Lola James Harper is collaborating with Accor’s Lifestyle Division and SVP Cédric Gobillard.
“The minimum size in the lobby must be at least 300 square meters. Plus, a nice basement for our music studio,” explains Mekdachi, who first gained fame 17 years ago developing home fragrances for the Hotel Costes.
One gets a good idea of the aesthetic of his future hotel from Lola James Harper’s current café and Pop Up inside Paris department store inside Bon Marché: bold architectural and travel photography – often of Florida – by Mekdachi himself; scented candles with names like Promenade and Comics Store from Maison Française des Cires; wide necked T-shirts with Mekdachi images; and perfumes with quirky concepts like Rainy Days, named after the designer spent two years studying in Lancaster. That, plus lots of vinyl and amps.
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