L’Imperator, a legendary hotel located in Nimes, has been reborn thanks to the Maison Albar Hotels brand. Tucked away in this oasis, guests will find themselves in luxurious surroundings, in an atmosphere that will welcome you into its warm embrace.
Maison Albar Hotels is a French 5-star boutique-hotels brand created in 2014 by Jean-Bernard and Céline Falco (née Albar), founders of Paris Inn Group. Blending passion and the savoir faire of a family four generations rich of hoteliers and the cultural mark of the location, the 6 establishments of the Maison Albar Hotels family, two of which are members of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World collection, brings to life a new vision of elegance and the art of French hospitality.
The Albars have created a warm approach to luxury, with the desire to make all guests feel at home. Places filled with life where no guest is received or treated in the same way as another. Pushing the limits of personalization, customizing each contact and and make each of their guests feel unique and exceptional: this is their art of hospitality. The first hotels were opened in Paris and China and soon other Houses will open their doors in the South of France and in Europe.
The luxury hotel group reopens the prestigious hotel located just steps from the city’s ancient Roman arena, temple, and tower. Behind the 1929 Art Deco style façade, this five-star hotel has a majestic feel, a revival of the legend of this exceptional hotel that was once emblematic for the city. Maison Albar Hotels is strengthening its positioning in the luxury hotel segment by becoming a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. L’Imperator is iconic in the city of Nimes. In its history, numerous renowned figures were guests, including writer Ernest Hemingway, who even mentioned the hotel in his novel The Garden of Eden, and American actress Ava Gardner.
Upon entering the hotel’s lobby, you find yourself surrounded by elegant décor in materials such as wood and natural stone, and spaces that seem expansive due to the placement of large, aged mirrors, and a seamlessness thanks to the glass walls that can be opened up, filling the bar, brasserie, and lobby with light. When creating the velvet sofas found in the cloister, artist Thierry Carretero largely drew inspiration from the ginkgo biloba tree, a symbol of the hotel. Other artists add to the décor of the common areas: there you’ll find pop art by Warhol and Vasarely near the bar, a paint‑on-textile mural by Claude Viala behind the reception desk, and original lithographs and engravings by Michelle Champetier.
Outdoor Spaces and Gardens in Which to Lose Yourself
L’Imperator’s garden is a true oasis. Its 1020 m2 are spilling with sunlight and features that give it its charm, including dry-stone walls, pavilions and canopies, majestic trees, that includes the hotel’s emblematic ginkgo biloba tree, hidden courtyards, and little paths and passageways. There are also light fixtures designed by Marco Marino throughout the gardens and around the outdoor pool.
Intimate Setting and Luxurious Warmth
Inside L’Imperator guest will find a luxurious, cosy, and intimate setting offering 53 rooms and suites and eight private houses each presenting a peaceful retreat for a getaway with family or friends.
Available Rooms and Suites
L’Imperator offers 49 rooms that measure 20 to 28 m2 in size, including 21 Superior rooms, 24 Deluxe rooms, and four Executive rooms. In each room, Marcelo Joulia has combined neutral colours, like beige and white, with shades of blue that are found in all the hotels in the Maison Albar Hotels group: on the leather headboards, on the velvet armchairs, and even mixed with brighter colours on the rugs in the rooms.
The bedrooms and bathrooms are separated by a sliding mirror shaped like a porthole. The bathrooms are decked out in beige coloured natural stone. In both spaces, you’ll find elegant materials, such as brass and marble. Guests at L’Imperator can also choose to stay in one of the three Junior Suites, which are 30 to 32 m2 in size, two of which have balconies. Another option is the 57 m2 Suite for up to four guests, which includes a 41 m2 living room with a comfortable sofa bed that sleeps two. In addition to the walk-in shower found in all the rooms, the Suite and two of the Junior Suites also have bathtubs.
Available Guest Houses
Facing the legendary building, on the other side of the cloister, are eight private houses overlooking the garden. These peaceful one- to three-bedroom units each have a private terrace, a kitchenette, and access to the hotel’s room service. Each room has its own bathroom with a bathtub and a walk-in shower, giving guests a five-star experience in a calm, intimate setting. The houses have symbolic names connected to the hotel’s history: 1923, El Cordobes, Ginkgo, Ava Gardner, Jean Cocteau, Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, and Imperator. With floor areas ranging from 64 m2 to 162 m2, they are the ideal holiday accommodation for friends, families, or couples.
For dining options, L’Imperator and three-Michelin-star chef Pierre Gagnaire have teamed up to create a culinary experience that is unique in the Nimes hotel scene, with three establishments: gourmet restaurant Duende, brasserie L’Impé, and Bar Hemingway. Pierre Gagnaire is one of the most important figures in French gastronomy. He has been collaborating for 14 years with chef Nicolas Fontaine, a native of Nimes who loves his home town. Together, they have a strong affinity for the South of France and they take their guests on a journey through their world: cuisine that is crafted with talent and practised with passion and sincerity.
L’Imperator has teamed up with the French brand CODAGE to offer hotel guests and locals a 350 m2 wellness area. L’Imperator CODAGE Spa offers you the opportunity for serenity with its soothing treatments. The spa has four treatment rooms, including two double rooms. Indulge in the ultimate relaxation, slip into one of the spas two pools, one located indoors and the other outdoors, along with a large terrace in which to drink in the Mediterranean climate. To top it off, you can take advantage of the steam room, jacuzzi, barber shop, and training room.
CODAGE also offers a broad selection of 12 wellness treatments for facial and/ or body care that range from designer to customised to standard. The range includes a signature treatment ‘in Hemingway’s footsteps’, created exclusively for L’Imperator: 110 minutes of relaxing body massage to release tension, and personalised facial care, followed by a drink to free you mind, specially selected by the hotel’s Bar Hemingway.
For the spa’s décor, Marcelo Joulia worked with a number of artists: Anna Maria Vasco Costa created the ceramic pieces found around the indoor pool; engraving artist Jean-Pierre Formica created the terra-cotta sculptures formed with scoring around the outdoor pool; and artist Guy Bareff sculpted the pieces covered in terra-cotta tiles placed throughout the spa. In this space covered in stone and natural wood, guests will find a retreat for exquisite pleasure and relaxation. The spa is open from 10am to 10pm.
Maison Albar Hotels L’Imperator
Quai de la Fontaine, 15 rue Gaston Boissier, 30900, Nîmes, France
T : +334 66 21 90 30 // firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credits : Stefan Kraus, Mickael Goupil, Marcelo Joulia Naço, AZRIA Jean-Claude, Jérôme Galland, Stéphane de Bourgies