In Nîmes, the legendary L’Imperator hotel gets a new lease of life

L’Imperator, an iconic address in Gard’s capital, is prized by a discerning clientele. But that doesn’t stop it from breaking the mould, especially during the Féria. Its “bohemian chic” evenings, accessible to all, are a success.

 

A surprise. During the Féria de Pentecôte from May 25 to 29, the doors of the five-star L’Imperator hotel were open to all those who wanted to enjoy a “bohemian chic” festive atmosphere, away from the crowds. No Happy Few list to enter this illustrious institution.

 

“The Imperator should not be an impregnable citadel, but a place where you can come and have fun without the fuss,” explained Jérôme Montantème, the hotel’s new manager.

 

Gipsy guitarists and flamenco dancers at the entrance to L’Imperator © DR

 

The third edition of the Bohemia concept thrilled the hearts of the people of Nîmes. For the occasion, the large garden was transformed into a bodega, with Gipsy singers and guitarists, flamenco dancers and DJs playing late into the night. Glasses of wine, glasses of champagne, tapas and planks to share circulated. At Bar Hemingway, cocktails. At Brasserie l’Impé, the festive menu.

 

L’Imperator joins Maison Albar Hotels

 

Brasserie L’Impé © Marco Strullu

 

Maison Albar Hôtels, a French brand specializing in 5-star boutique hotels, has invested no less than 30 million euros to give the Imperator a new lease of life. A successful rejuvenation. After several years of refurbishment and its reopening in 2019, the Imperator’s positioning in the luxury sector has been reaffirmed by its affiliation to the Leading Hotels of the World collection.

 

The hotel, which is already famous, has attracted a discerning international clientele looking for a destination in the south of France. The Imperator has all the assets of a palace – attentive staff – while offering the intimate ambience of a 54-key boutique hotel.

 

Frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso…

 

The Hemingway bar at L’Imperator © DR

 

Behind its Art Deco façade dating back to 1929, L’Imperator resurrects the myth of an extraordinary hotel.

 

Once frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Ava Gardner…, it attracts both French and foreign guests.

 

It is magnificently located in the heart of the city, on the Quai de la Fontaine, a stone’s throw from the Maison Carrée and the arena.

 

The Imperator is the epicenter of social life during the major cultural events that enliven the city throughout the year: Férias, Festival Flamenco, Concert in the arena, Grands jeux romains, Jeudis de Nîmes…

Can you believe it? Nîmes, the so-called “French Rome”, received a major spotlight from the New York Times, ranking 24th out of 52 destinations to visit worldwide in 2023. No other French city is mentioned.

 

The two-Michelin-starred Imperator Duende restaurant was also singled out. Pierre Gagnaire, one of France’s most emblematic chefs, offers an atypical and gourmet cuisine. We all know the exceptional chef’s attachment to the region and its produce, which he magically sublimates in his dishes.

 

Stay incognito, curl up on velvet sofas, let yourself go …

 

The Imperator lobby © Stefan Kraus

 

Transformed by Marcelo Joulia, Franco-Argentine architect and founder of the Naço agency, with the help of the architecture and design firm Atelier COS, the Imperator has been staged, rejuvenated and embellished from the lobby to the outdoor swimming pool overlooking the garden.

 

Everything has been thought out and revisited to turn this hotel with its glorious past into an “urban resort” where the French art of living rhymes with charm and relaxation. This is not an ostentatious place where you come to see and be seen. Rather, it’s a place where you can stay incognito, curl up on velvet sofas and let yourself go…

 

Large bay windows overlooking the lobby, Brasserie l’Impé and Bar Hemingway add brightness and cheerfulness to the hotel. L’Imperator is decorated with works of art ranging from Andy Warhol’s Pop art to Claude Vala’s textile paintings.

 

The garden is a veritable oasis, with majestic trees – including the more than one-hundred-year-old Ginkgo Biloba – stone walls, fountains, photophores and little paths leading to the outdoor swimming pool.

 

Generous rooms and garden-facing private homes

 

Suite 101 © Stefan Kraus

 

The number of rooms has been reduced (53 rooms including four suites) to offer more generous living spaces. Art Deco spirit with leather headboards, velvet armchairs, large colorful carpets, sliding porthole mirrors, marble and natural stone…

 

In addition, there are seven private garden-facing houses bearing the prestigious names of personalities who have stayed at L’Imperator (El Cordobés, Ava Gardner, Salvador Dali…). These tranquil dwellings are ideal for a getaway with family or friends.

 

L’Imperator has chosen the French brand Codage for its Spa, a 350 m2 space. There are four treatment rooms, including two for duo massages, a hammam, a jacuzzi, a barbershop, a training room and an indoor swimming pool.

 

“…the mistral was blowing, so they let themselves be driven to Nîmes, where they took a room at L’Imperator” An extract from Ernest Hemingway’s book The Garden of Eden.

 

Let’s go there !

 

L’Imperator

Quai de La Fontaine

15, rue Gaston Boissier

30 900 Nîmes

 

 

Read also > DINNER AT THE CAFE DES ARTS-FONDATION MANIGLIER : A VISUAL AND GUSTATORY SPELL

Featured photo : © DR

Corine Moriou a été Grand Reporter pour le groupe L’Express pendant 15 ans. Aujourd’hui, elle exerce son métier en tant que journaliste indépendante. Ses domaines de prédilection sont les sujets de société, la culture, les voyages, le bien-être. Jamais blasée, toujours prête !

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