André Kamin and Stéphanie Dekeunynck have taken over the former high-end hotel-restaurant at 111 on the RD 6113, which had been closed for 9 years. Renamed the MEEZ, the hotel part should open its doors in September and in October for the restaurant part.
A few days before the opening, while they are in full recruitment of their staff (between 8 and 9 employees to start), André Kamin and Stéphanie Dekeunynck do not hide their impatience before welcoming their first customers. The couple embarked on a hell of an adventure, taking over the former hotel-restaurant le 111, on the RD 6113, in January. Abandoned for 9 years, following the compulsory liquidation of the company (see framed), the building sat enthroned like a ghost ship at the entrance to Carcassonne. Bringing it back to life: this is a major challenge for the two thirty-somethings who do not own the walls (they have belonged to foreign investors since 2018) but have invested in the business.
A new name: the MEEZ*, 10 rooms from 35 to 88 m2, with a still sleek and modern design, classified into 5 categories (S, M, L, XL and XXL for the suite), an all-glass outdoor swimming pool (the same as the original), a gym and fitness, a spa (jacuzzi and sauna) and a restaurant with 70 seats (+ 50 outside). But above all a slightly different positioning. “At the time, the 111 was 5 stars for the hotel, it is the very upscale, which is greedy in staff. We are going to position ourselves on 4 stars”explains André Kamin. “And at the restaurant level, no gastro, we are going to offer a type of friendly and quality brasserie.” The leader has been recruited. This is Claude Durand, who has an international profile after having worked in Germany, Luxembourg, England, Russia, China and Poland. Room prices should range from €120 to €350 per night.
“We want to bring this place back to life”
Despite their young age, 32 and 34 respectively, Stéphanie Dekeunynck, originally from Six-Fours (Var) and André Kamin, a native of eastern France, near Forbach, already have solid experience in the hotel business of luxury after studies in this field. Hôtel Barrière Le Royal in Deauville, the Trianon Palace in Versailles. “We met at the Kube, a 5-star hotel in St-Tropez”they recall. “After our meeting, we went to St-Barthélemy, to Eden Rock then to Polynesia in a Relais & Châteaux in Taha’a. We worked quite a lot for Relais & Châteaux. We also participated in the opening of Bora Bora, just before the Covid, as general manager of hotels and general manager of catering. We were there for the works and the reopening.” It is with this experience that the couple wanted to try their personal luck. “We looked in specialized advertising magazines. And when, for our first visit in July 2021, we walked through the door of 111, we fell in love. For the building but also for the city. thought, we wondered why in eight years no one had positioned themselves. Since January 2022, they have been hard at work to restore its letters of nobility to an establishment which, at the time, had failed to find its clientele. “We want to revive this place, with this potential.”
111, two years of activity before the bankruptcy
Opened in May 2011, the hotel restaurant 111, a luxury establishment on avenue Général-Leclerc, closed its doors in June 2013 after it was placed in compulsory liquidation by the commercial court. The 5-star hotel, opened in May 2011 by Jean-Charles Azibert, at the address of the former Relais d’Aymeric, was in the grip of financial difficulties. It had been placed in receivership in December 2012. The arrival of chef Michel Del Burgo at the head of the restaurant’s kitchens, and the obtaining of a star in the Michelin Guide in February 2013, had not allowed 111 to regain the balance. It was an ambitious and innovative concept in Carcassonne, imagined by Doctor Jean-Charles Azibert and his wife Corinne, newcomers to the hotel industry. A top-of-the-range establishment with 10 rooms in a contemporary style, all dressed in white and with a resolutely designer decoration, like the glass swimming pool built at the back. In the fall of 2012, a new kitchen was fitted out to allow Michel Del Burgo to carry out his gastronomic projects, when he had just won a third star at the Atelier Robuchon in Hong Kong. At the time, Hotel 111 employed around twenty people, including the restaurant.