Maison Assouline: A London Bookstore…With a Bar (and a Sultan’s Den)

Dozens of hardback tomes, as big and sturdy as a fleet of family Bibles on steroids, line theatrically lit shelves. Banquette sofas fill one corner of the double-height room, which is cushioned underfoot by a plush Persian rug. A barman is slinging cocktails behind a polished mahogany bar, and on this particular night—a special event for the luxurious Aman resorts—waiters are circulating with bijoux nibbles.crowd of people viewed from above at Maison Assouline, 196A Piccadilly, London

And, oh yes, a nude, nubile nymph pores over the pages of a book in the midst of it all. 

stone statue of a girl reading a book at Maison Assouline at 196A Piccadilly, LondonShe sits still and silent as a statue—because she is, in fact, carved from stone.

Maison Assouline, which occupies its own mini-mansion at 196A Piccadilly in central London, is ostensibly a bookstore.

But I assure you, my friends, this is not your granny’s Waterstones.

It’s the flagship store for Assouline, which began printing handsome, graphically dynamic books on fashion, art, architecture, photography, design, and travel more than twenty years ago.

Now the company, run by the husband and wife team of Prosper and Martine Assouline, have expanded their vision to become purveyors of eclectic elegance, with a carefully edited collection of furnishings and accessories on display in a sanguine sanctuary upstairs.bronze rhino statue and Chinoiserie table at Maison Assouline, 196A Piccadilly, London

From a gold-leafed screen to a Chinoiserie table, tribal mask, or miniature bronze rhino—de rigueur accessories for any Knightsbridge library, or indeed, a sultan’s den—are for sale in Maison Assouline’s cabinet of curiosities.

glasses of champagne lines up at Swan Bar at Maison Assouline, 196A Piccadilly, LondonWhile we can’t all afford to recreate the same atmosphere at home, we can at least stop in for a taste of Assouline’s distinctive lifestyle. “You can chill, sit on the sofa, read books, have a drink or something to eat, and just have a good time,” sales consultant Besma Ali explains with a smile. “Everyone is super welcome here.”

For more info on living the good life with Aman, which has more than 30 resorts, hotels and private residences scattered around Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and the USA, visit https://www.aman.com.

Amanpuri in Thailand. Credit Aman.

Amanpuri in Thailand. Credit Aman.

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