And Vipp — Denmark’s family-run trash can manufacturer turned modernist design company — has unveiled lodgings of its own, staging its “tools for living” in two one-room venues: the window-walled Shelter, near Sweden’s Lake Immeln, and the art-studded Loft in central Copenhagen. While the Vipp Hotel is growing — northern Copenhagen’s Chimney House opens soon — co-owner Sofie Egelund said, “We will not be the new Marriott chain.”
Although it’s worth noting that another major hotel brand, AccorHotels, created a Lifestyle division, and has been looking for fresh concepts. Their latest find: Lola James Harper. What began with Rami Mekdachi’s scented candles — inspired by memories of places that Mr. Mekdachi, who is the founder, loves — has grown into a kaleidoscope of the Parisian’s creations, collaborations and favorite things: sun-drenched photos from family travels; perfume, coffee and music made with friends; basketball. Mr. Mekdachi describes the brand as a “holistic project about art, friendship, family, slow life and sunshine.”
And so later this year, the first Hotel Lola James Harper is set to open in Paris. It recently had a three-month, 3,230-square-foot lobby “activation” at Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, with Mr. Mekdachi’s candles, prints and “pic-shirts” displayed around a bamboo bar serving the label’s coffee and tea blends, and with Acapulco chairs, palm trees and a music studio.
The hotel will complete the immersion with a room screening comedies all day (nodding to Lola James Harper’s patchouli-tinged TV Basement of Jonet scent), and, in lieu of a gym, “a pink room with a hoop and a blue basketball,” designed with Mr. Mekdachi’s friends at the Venice Basketball League. Each floor will have a different fragrance, while LPs will play from the lobby-cum-vinyl store; when the album changes, a new spray will be spritzed.
“Newness is not the point,” Mr. Mekdachi said. “The point is to stimulate imagination and poetry. Hotels are not anymore places where you go just to sleep and eat and shower. People want meaning.” According to the travel marketing organization MMGY Global, he’s right: For the first time in 12 years, American travelers plan to take fewer vacations, but to spend more on “meaningful” ones.
Thus, Accor is looking to spread Lola James Harper’s meaning far and wide. Still, Mr. Mekdachi said, “Little by little with joy — this is my motto.” It’s also the name of one of his eau de toilettes, which, with notes of orange blossom, will be made into bar soap exclusively for the hotel bathrooms. Both will be available for purchase at checkout.