Opposites Attract: The Chess Hotel by Gilles & Boissier

Snapshot: Like oil and water, chalk and cheese or more basically, black and white, designers Gilles & Boissier have translated their magnetic powers to the monochromatic magnificence of this Parisian palace.

Partners in life, design and presumably crime, Gilles & Boissier famously rarely see eye to eye. Whether it's verbal sparring over textures and textiles or a jovial joust over maple or pine, this dynamic duo have developed a magical means of success. Patrick Gilles tends to take on the more masculine elements of strict lines and fine woods, while Dorothee lends a feminine essence of fluidity, color and elegance. A match made in heaven. If the powerful forces of such opposition are to be seen anywhere, it is at The Chess Hotel, where black meets white in a glorious marriage of polite and refined battle, where kings and queens may rest their weary heads while polished pawns fetch a fresh flute of champagne. 

Opened just last year and neighbor to the Opera, La Madeleine and La Bourse, their is an inescapable element of novelty and prestige when entering. Everyone loves a masquerade or a good party theme that doesn't require ridiculous costumes, and The Chess Hotel panders to theatrical tendencies without lilting towards the obscene. Classic, timeless and elegant, this is the Wes Anderson set you've always wanted to visit but without the absurdity, and with a minibar. 

While predominantly black and white, with a checkerboard design that flows throughout the lobby and appears in miniature on the bathroom walls, there is also the welcome presence of various shades of blue and warming mustard hues. These provide the lift and lightness or soothing softness as required by various rooms to break the monochrome which is permeated by the dazzling (and occasionally dizzying) artwork of Cyprien Chabert. Most impressively, a stunning and intricate mural of black on white that runs from the second floor to the roof of the hotel. 

As harsh as the black and white color scheme might appear, the addition of yellows and blues does add great comfort, as wells as the use of linens, oaks and Carrara marble throughout. The bedrooms feature furniture from the Gilles & Boissier collection, occasionally a four poster bed and deep thick mattresses with fluffy pillows and satin sheets fit for royalty. If you are fancy enough to take the suite, you can also enjoy a splendid view of the Opera. Check mate. 

Comfort and relaxation are the rules of this particular match, and the staff at the The Chess Hotel go above and beyond regular measures to insure that you leave the hustle and bustle of the Moulin Rouge behind, kick back and chill out in the luxurious calm. Obviously, playing hours of chess is highly encouraged, especially fireside, but if you rather not boring yourself to death, do take afternoon tea between 3 and 6. Indulge in Popelini cream puffs which come in five different flavors and then glide upstairs for a soothing bath before swanning to the Opera next door. 

The Chess Hotel, in all it's monochrome majesty, can transport you from the modern-day Paris outside to a simpler time of elegance, long afternoons and a time when deciding to be a lady of leisure was a perfectly reasonable thing to do. It's as simple as black and white. 

Photography by Paul Bowyer courtesy of The Chess Hotel