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FrontRunners: French Quarters

William Kissel

When Henri-Leopold Charles, the Marquis de Sers, commissioned his four-story mansion in Paris’ golden triangle in 1880, he directed architect Jules Pellechet to create a functional living space within a classical edifice that communicated the marquis’ lofty position in French society. L’Hôtel de Sers (+33.1.53.23.75.75, www.hoteldesers.com), a new 59-room hotel in the marquis’ former home, suits an analogous need for modern travelers to Paris.

The de Sers building, which is within walking distance of the Four Seasons George V, recently housed the Hotel Queen Elizabeth, a family-run business managed by the mother of architect Thomas Vidalenc, who remembers it as “an old boat with a very disparate, perfectly obsolete style.” He speaks, of course, of a time before he and his cousin Thibault spent four years turning the dowager old Queen into the de Sers. Vidalenc’s new “haven of peace” includes bright, modern guest rooms with plasma-screen TVs, pivoting doors, and pressurized electronic bath drains—just what the marquis would have ordered.

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