Meet Mr & Mrs Smith’s anonymous hotel reviewers: #9 Gavin Turk

Starck-designed hotel Le Royal Monceau knows a thing or two about art: it’s got a gallery, art-book shop and a dedicated art concierge. With our thinking caps firmly on, we nominated the art-savvy YBA Gavin Turk to join the ranks of our secret hotel reviewers and tackle the task of appraising this unconventional Parisian palace.

Gavin Turk: 'Portrait of Something That I'll Never Really See', 1997Turk has produced some of the most visually striking ensembles of our time. His artistic flair has taken him from the Tate Modern to the Istanbul Biennial, and he has a supreme eye for creative detail – exactly what we look for in a Smith reviewer (aside from fine-tuned taste buds, an encyclopedic design knowledge and an almost obsessive passion for gadgets). Taking some time away from his latest project, Turk was dispatched with his own Mrs Smith, Deborah Curtis, to this luxe boutique hotel located in a city renowned for quirky art, stunning architecture and undying romance – all essential components of a truly Smithy getaway.

Here’s a bit more about what he’s been up to at home, and abroad…


In East London, Gavin lives and breathes the family-run project named The House of Fairy Tales. Originally set up as a means to entertain their own children, Gavin and his other half created what began as a vision, and recruited a cast of artists, aiming to further such education projects through art. Aside from acting local community hero, Turk has exhibited across the world alongside the equally esteemed Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, so rest assured, Turk knows what he’s talking about…

Paris hotel Le Royal Monceau

‘As Paris drew nearer, it was as though we were transported through the wardrobe into Narnia as our train skated through arctic fog and blizzards. Arriving at the Gare du Nord, we found ourselves being whisked through the snowy streets of Paris to the grand avenues of the 8th arrondissement and pulling up in front of the glowing lights and smiling uniforms of our weekend retreat: Le Royal Monceau. Here, the Narnia metaphor morphed into Alice in Wonderland as we entered the fantasy world of Philippe Starck’s interpretation of Paris’ 1920s heyday.

The ghosts of the great and the good occupy these hallways a Louboutin heel-click from the Champs Elysées, captured for posterity by the many, many mirrors. And, if the reflective surfaces of chrome, glass and stainless steel discombobulate you, the baroque armchairs and a wall of mussel shells bring you back to down to earth…’ More

Read the full Gavin Turk review of Le Royal Monceau, or find more boutique hotel reviews at

Copy compiled by Stephanie Edwards

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As well as wordsmithing online, in print, in the press and for Smith TV, Lucy Fennings has been a driving force in making the Smith Travel Blog an award-winner. Mr & Mrs Smith's Group Editor cut her travel teeth early; as daughter of a hotel PR, she visited far-flung flophouses from French châteaux to Ethiopian tukuls. After a year in Dubai (working on Emirates Woman magazine and enjoying the kind of dives that require a wetsuit), Lucy went to Glasgow University to study art, literature and whisky. A stint as production editor at Legalease publishing was spent discovering how to be creative with copy about tax, followed quickly by a stint discovering more interesting things across south-east Asia. When Mr & Mrs Smith found her, Lucy was at Harper’s Bazaar, keeping her finger on fashion’s pulse and sharpening her editorial knife on hapless hotel PR copy.

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