Villa Lepic Boutique Hotel is the culmination of a 3 year renovation project by German Architect Paola Bagna, which transformed the former governor of Abidjan’s residence into a picturesque boutique hotel.
The design stays true to the existing villa’s mid century style, overcoming waterproofing and conservation problems, to form a collection of spaces surrounded palm trees and tropical plants. This creates an aura of understated luxury that is felt through the hotel’s 17 rooms and other functional spaces including the reception, restaurant, meeting rooms, bar, wellness area, indoor and outdoor lounges and a swimming pool.
The hotel concept, developed with creative director Anette K Hansen, combines the comfort and style of high-end hotels found in metropolises around the world with respect of the villa’s original architectural features. Highlighting the villa’s past and drawing on local materials would deliver unassuming luxury in a modern African environment. The 2000 sqm accommodation is split between three buildings: The Main Villa (Villa Principale), the Children’s Villa (Villa Enfants) and the Guest’s Villa (Villa Salon). The line dividing interior and flourishing garden is blurred in many areas of the hotel.
The Villa now contains the reception, restaurant, bar, meeting and event spaces plus three guest suites. Interior and exterior layout were modified to achieve optimal circulation and well-proportioned spaces. Floors and ceiling surfaces characterize the spaces according to their use. Original Carrara and Nero Marquina marbles of some floors were restored and mixed with new Tigerskin marble and light brown Travertine. Other floor areas were tiled in fishbone or black and white chess patterns.
A colorful mosaic from the artist Anne Derian forms part of a restroom wall, together with preserved tiles from the original building. The geometries of the original plaster ceilings were reproduced. The tinted glass tables of the restaurant reflect these geometries. Interior furniture combines custom built pieces made from local materials with handpicked African vintage furniture. More international furniture icons sit alongside pieces from contemporary African designers such as Jean Servais Somianand Abderaham Haidara.
In the Villa Principale bar, you feel like you’re both in and outside. Located on the ground floor overlooking the garden, the bar connects to the meeting/events area and terrace. Guests linger in the black and white Nero Marquina marble booths at the restaurant during the day and rendezvous at the Super White Quartzite bar at night.
Deco style balustrades lead from the Main Villa to Villa Enfants. This striking metalwork was both restored and reproduced throughout the hotel. All 10 bedrooms in former Villa Enfants are part of the same family yet none is exactly alike. A palette of locally sourced wood, Ethiopian leather, colored velvet, and black powder coated steel enhance custom made furniture and furnishings. Brass fittings are carried through to lamps, cabinet door handles, floor joints and headboards. Pastel tiles in herringbone patterns and locally made terrazzo adds context.
Unique finishes add warmth and save resources. Terrazzo made of large leftover old and new pieces of marble configures the flooring of the former Villa Salon, which now offers four bedrooms, equipped to host families or groups. A common living area is the main feature of this space. All rooms have private terraces and small patios.
Beauty was found in unexpected places of the original building, in mismatched or cracked tiles and stained or distressed wood. This aesthetic influenced the design of Villa Lepic Boutique Hotel: new design interventions highlighting the original design decisions, to bring new life to this West African architectural gem.