A stunning example of how a former cult hotel can, in the right hands, live again with its spirit intact but its amenities altered to suit the modern age. Anne Igou’s imaginative and extravagant renovation has given back the Nord-Pinus its Bohemian past, recalling the post-war days when artists such as Picasso and Cocteau as well as bullfighters were entertained by its charismatic owners, a cabaret dancer and her husband, a famous tightrope-walking clown. The famous yellow bar, in particular, remains a homage to those times. There are other mementoes too; a cabinet of souvenirs, huge posters advertising bullfights around the fine stairwell, as well as chandeliers, gilded mirrors and the original wrought-iron beds. The lobby has a dramatic, slightly Moorish feel; the restaurant, a traditional brasserie, leads off it.
Bedrooms come in three sizes: the smallest are compact but charming, with Provencal fabrics and antique wardrobes; larger ones are very spacious; and the six suites are enormous, worth splashing out on, especially No. 10, the ‘bullfighters’ suite’, from the window of which legendary matador Dominguin would greet the crowds below. The hotel is run in a laid-back but professional manner.