A legendary art deco hotel

The hotel IMPERATOR is a surprising place. It is truly timeless. It was founded during the "Roaring Twenties". These were years of renewal, travel, song and dance. Art became free. Music became syncopated. Women were emancipated.

The Hotel was built by Compagnie des Wagons-Lits in 1929, the innovative company that created mythical trains such as the Orient Express, the Train Bleu etc.

The IMPERATOR’s architecture reveals a number of Art Deco characteristics. The flat facade has symmetrical openings. The hotel proudly asserts its geometric forms. The outer facade has zig-zag forms which reveal the stairs on the inside. The cement tiles of the grand salon with contrasting black and white and square patterns are reminiscent of the Bauhaus in Weimar.

The interior is an expression of a desire for a high level of comfort. The IMPERATOR has large spaces and wide bay windows through which ample light can enter. Curves, which were still present in Art Deco’s early years, recur in the arches that surround each space.

Some of the mouldings, with floral motifs, are subtle and understated echoes of Art Nouveau.

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The Imperator and its wooden lift

The Imperator’s lift was installed in 1935. It has never stopped working since. Its wrought iron doors consist of golden curls and spirals. The light wood of the cabin remains perfectly intact. Its door is divided into two wings.

One’s imagination can easily wander in this legendary hotel (link 31): The groom opens the lift doors. The door opens and Ava Gardner steps out, inaccessible as ever. The dense crowd watches with baited breath. Reporters, armed with the latest Rolleiflex TLR cameras, machine gun the Hollywood actress with flashes as she advances...

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