In the 9th arrondissement of Paris, on a typical rainy evening at the end of January, I climbed the slope of the lively shopping street, the rue des Martyrs, past the twirling tea cups and the colorful horses of the Belle Époque merry-go-round in the avenue Trudaine, and arrived at the HOY hotel. Tucked away on an unusually quiet street at the foot of SoPi, or South Pigalle, the historically seedy red light district that has become increasingly bohemian, or bohemian bourgeois in recent years, the hotel has been within walking distance of dozens of bars and restaurants serving delicious Parisian cuisine.
However, HOY, short for “House of Yoga”, which also means “today” in Spanish, is a hotel that aims to promote a more attentive approach to Parisian life. “Healthy” isn’t exactly the word that comes to mind when planning a trip to Paris, but the myth that Parisian well-being translates into a leisurely stroll after a wine-soaked lunch is definitely a thing of the past. Founder Charlotte Gomez de Orozco was inspired to open HOY because she captured the world she wanted to live in: more responsible and more aware. “HOY is a hotel I would have loved to travel to,” she said.
The wellness movement in the City of Light has been going on for some time, and in 2021 the options are more and better than ever. Ma Thérapie, launched at the end of 2019, offers signature face and body treatments aimed at relieving the effects of stress, as well as a range of organic products. Last year, the creators of the popular Sunday brunch spot in Soho launched Bespoke by Sunday: delivery meals led by a chef and supported by a nutritionist. Famous facialist Sophie Carbonari moved to Paris just before the Covid-19 pandemic and now offers tailor-made treatments at the elegant Hotel Rochechouart (keep an eye on Place de Carbonari in the future).
This year, Maison Epigenetic opened its doors in the 16th arrondissement, offering Parisians a Haussmannian nirvana dedicated to epigenetics: understanding how our lifestyles affect the expression of our genes. And the Hôtel Madame Rêve, the former Louvre post office, which will soon open, will open its rooftop garden for private sunrise yoga lessons overlooking Paris.
I am therefore curious to see how HOY will fit into the neighborhood and if it will keep its promise to be a “meeting place for the well-being of body, mind and soul”. I brought my friend Jennifer to experience HOY with me, and when we walked inside – after a smiling staff member named Leo relieved me of my dripping umbrella – we were immediately attracted by the magical workshop of the florist Chiaki Kokami.
I asked her about the wall of dried flowers in beautiful muted tones. A trend in Paris these days, is not? She nodded. “We work with dried flowers during the week, and on weekends we use fresh stems,” Kokami told me, pointing to a beautiful vase of scarlet anthuriums.
Kokami’s boutique, La Floreria, which offers organization workshops and tailor-made bouquets to take with, is just one way HOY customers can find some focus. There is also a heated yoga studio – created in partnership with Yuj Yoga, the team behind France’s first infrared light yoga studios – and a long and regularly updated “treatment menu”, which features expert care in all areas, from holistic osteopathy to CBD massages, intimate ecology and body painting. My interest was fully piqued.
After checking in, we moved into a spacious room on the top floor. When designing the hotel, Gomez de Orozco (which has roots in Mexico and France) partnered with brands from both countries that share its values of sustainability, beauty and balance. Take the hand-crafted cups and decanters created by Mexico-based ceramicist Ceramica Libertad, or HOY’s collaborations with Seasonly, the own beauty brand for savvy Parisians. Our room was equally intentional and calming, with ash-blonde wood floors, walls painted a pale shade somewhere between khaki and light mint, and even a ballet barre for stretching.
That night we enjoyed the facial yoga session we never thought we needed, led by sunny Aurelia Del Sol (better known as @herecomesdelsol.) As we lightly pat our checks and patting our lips in an “O” shape, Del Sol explained that these seemingly subtle movements would help stimulate lymphatic drainage and stimulate collagen.
Back in our room, freshly showered and smelling like a Provence lavender field – the hotel products, created in partnership with The Naked Shop, are made with 100% natural ingredients – Jennifer and I enjoyed a delivered dinner at our doorstep. Before the pandemic, guests dined at communal tables at Mesa, HOY’s downstairs restaurant (which has since reopened after our visit.) But we were happy to enjoy the privacy of an in-room dinner at the candles.
Mesa’s plant-based dishes, developed by Lauren Lovatt and Carolina Rodriguez of Plant Academy London, couldn’t have been tastier. We devoured the roasted beets with wild pesto, vegan crème fraîche and toasted hazelnuts, and feasted on tortellini stuffed with candied lemon, vegetable ricotta and a rich tomato sauce with crispy capers and tarragon oil. Accompanied by a decanter of biodynamic Sancerre from the Loire Valley, it was the perfect balance between mostly healthy and a little watered. Was there room for dessert? But yes.
After a restful night, we enjoyed a breakfast of warm whole wheat croissants with cultured butter, local honey and a spoonful of bee pollen for good measure, as well as fresh blood orange juice. hurry. . Then we stretched out on a morning yoga session led by Gomez de Orozco herself.
When I grabbed my now dry umbrella upon departure, I took a moment to appreciate how much lighter I felt. Then I came home on another rainy day in Paris.