Interior insider: Jocelyne Sibuet, luxury hotelier

Jocelyne Sibuet is France’s ultimate interior designer. Dubbed the French Martha Stewart, Sibuet is co-founder of (the super chic) Sibuet Hotels & Spa Group and author of A French Country Home: Style and Entertaining. She searches far and wide to kit out her hotels, chalets, restaurants and spas in the French Alps, Paris, Lyon and in the South of France. Here, she talks inspiration, favorite hotels and decorating mistakes with Annie Deakin.

Interior design is just like… writing: once you have found
the guiding principle, a décor is telling a story.

My design philosophy is… you have to take risks when decorating to create a particular ambience.

I like to start from… a style I do not yet know which forces me to improve myself and renew my researches.  

The most unusual interior I have created is… maybe the next signature suites I am creating at the moment for the Hotel Mont-Blanc in Megève. They have a vintage spirit that is unusual for me and different from the other hotels. It is based on Cocteau’s very artistic style. 

I would advise a beginner interior designer to… respect rules on simple subjects: material unity and colour unity. It seems basic but it is crucial. For me, interior must be personal but it must have consistency, whatever the chosen style.

The most common decorating mistake is… a place where you feel you are a visitor or do not feel good.

Some interior designers have… a very strong style and do not necessarily renew according to their projects. Recently I loved an exhibition at Artcurial Paris.

For inspiration, I look to… the French magazine AS for its elitism and ELLE Décoration for its association with both modernity and tradition.

Interiors that are too contemporary are often… style exercises. 

For me, the most successful interiors have… a real personality, are warm and comfortable. I dislike places that are too cold and where you feel like you’re a visitor.

As for colours, I like… basic tones associated with strong shades, like a deep mauve with green.

I very much like the spirit of… the 18th century, and also the 40’s or 60’s. However I do not like the 30’s. Style is ever changing.

My biggest design challenges are… creating a full hotel decoration in six months. This is often the case in our construction sites.

One of my favourite hotels is… the Carlyle Hotel in New York because it has a soul. It is an extremely elegant, mythical hotel with history and a personality.

I do not necessarily want high luxury; I want… an authentic and exceptional experience from a hotel. It could be a hotel without electricity on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. For me, the Kia Ora Sauvage or the Siwa Oasis in Egypt are the height of a rare and authentic luxury.

The key difference between decorating a home or hotel is… the practical side. Our hotel guests are not always careful users and it’s crucial to keep the place in good condition.

A must-go city for buying furniture and art is… Paris. I particularly recommend the Maisons & Objets fair that takes place twice a year, and also the Milan Furniture Fair in April.

For old furniture, I shop at… the big professional markets in Avignon and Montpelier in the South of France.

My dream project would be… to decorate a very exotic hotel on a desert island or in a country with an exceptional craft industry.

Annie Deakin is interiors writer for the mydecomarketplace, an online shopping experience where you can search hundreds of home furnishings and accessories all in one place.


Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home