Boutique hotels were hard to come by in Rennes. Weeding out the overpriced and insipid hotel chains, I ended up with just a handful of options for my three-day stay in the Breton capital. Magic Hall was one of them. Recently opened, Magic Hall presented itself as a chic boutique hotel themed around the Arts, namely dance, music, theatre and cinema. Themed hotels had been a hit or miss kind of game so far. Mostly a miss. The location and the reasonable price convinced me to give Magic Hall a go nonetheless.
Conveniently located in Rennes’s city centre, minutes away from Rennes’s picturesque cobbled streets and mouth-watering crêperies nestled in medieval half-timbered houses, Magic Hall was the perfect base to explore the Old Town.
At my doorstep I found the city’s grand cathedral and the well-preserved medieval lanes of Rue de la Psalette and Rue du Chapitre, a vibrant nightlife with the “infamous” Rue de la Soif (“Drinker’s Alley”) with its record 13 bars, and a chic shopping district stretching from posh Rue de la Monnaie all the way to architecturally perfect Place du Parlement.
Strangely hidden away in a very quiet residential neighbourhood, the hotel was also a light sleepers’ heaven. No heavy traffic to disturb your sleep, no late night bars to wake you up in the middle of the night. Just blissful.
Checking In At Magic Hall
Based in a former office building, Magic Hall’s rather neutral exterior didn’t prepare me for the creativity and attention to detail found inside. The rooms were designed around four themes: dance, music, theatre and cinema. Retrieving my room key from the staff, I was allocated a “dance room” on the second and top floor.
Climbing up the massive, creaking, wooden and steel industrial stairs flooded with light from the sky roof, I soon landed on the top floor. Like entering a cinema, the place was cast in darkness with spotlights illuminating the room numbers on each door.
Opening the bedroom door, I was back in the light, magically standing in the middle of a dance studio, but with a bed. I caught my own disbelief in the huge mirrors covering the wall above it. Dressed in white, the room was a cocoon of softness and tranquility. A pair of pastel pink dancing shoes hanging from a ballet barre running along the head of the bed added to the quirkiness of the room.
Resting on a vintage wooden floor, the double bed was the most comfortable. As if Magic Hall wanted me to take away something from this experience, I peacefully fell asleep studying the steps of a mysterious dance painted on the ceiling above me.
As I woke up in the morning, a natural light irradiated the bathroom from the window in the roof. The vintage water taps and shower head added to the feeling of luxury. As I looked into the mirror above the sink, the old light bulbs around it reminded me of the theme of the room: I was for a second the artist getting ready in the dancers’ dressing room.
The Hip Lounge Area
On the ground floor was the lounge area. A member of staff in his apron was standing by, ready to make the guests breakfast or dinner from fresh ingredients. In an attempt to bring strangers together and spur discussion among the guests, food was served at a long, communal, wooden table.
After a long day of sightseeing I sat on a vintage sofa to chill under the subdued light of an old projector. On the shelves, an old radio set, red platform shoes from the seventies with the tallest heels I had ever seen and a vinyl of hot couple Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg. I was back to the coolest music era for a moment.
More unexpected was the music studio at the back of the room. Open to guests wishing to practise and socialise around music, the studio was also a place of rehearsal for local musicians.
Magic Hall was one of the highlights of my latest stay in Rennes. This boutique hotel showed great creativity and personality without being tacky. With tasteful and well-thought attention to detail the owners of Magic Hall created not only a cool place to stay but also a unique experience.
Thanks to an open plan dining and sitting area that promotes exchange and discussion between guests, they managed to bring together the luxury of a hotel and the familiarity of a guesthouse. The great location minutes away from Old Town Rennes made it a definitive place of choice to enjoy the Breton capital.
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Meet the Author
Hi! My name is Chris and I am a Dublin-based travel blogger, originally from France. Travelling from the Shetland Islands to Brittany, from Cornwall to Donegal, I hope to inspire people to make the Celtic frontier their next adventure.Learn more