Belle Chase Hotel is a Portuguese music band, originally from Coimbra, formed in 1995.
The project was born at the end of 1995. The name was taken from a tragic passage in the film Down by Law by Jim Jarmush, at the suggestion of Antoine Pimentel. The group was formed by Antoine Pimentel (Drums), Filipa (Violin), João Baptista (Bass), JP Simões (Voice), Luís Pedro (Piano, Mandolin, Accordion), Marco (Saxophone), Pedro Renato (Guitars), Raquel Ralha (Voice) and Sérgio Costa (Guitar and Transverse Flute). After a show at the Paredes de Coura festival, they received favorable reviews which gave rise to a greater demand for concerts. This series of concerts preceded the release of their first record.
“Fossanova” was edited by Nortesul and produced by Lux Records. This first album was reissued with the inclusion of a second CD with versions of Telephone Call From Istanbul by Tom Waits and Goldfinger by John Barry plus some remixes by the group, Arkham Hi-Fi and Alex FX. A double vinyl edition of “Fossanova” was also released (numbered edition limited to five hundred copies).
In early 2000, they entered the studio to record the album “La Toilette des Etoiles”, recorded at Valentim de Carvalho’s Paço de Arcos Studios, with production by Joe Gore. It presented some changes in relation to the debut album. In addition to the French, present in the title theme, and the Portuguese of “São Paulo 451”, they returned to invest in English and in a series of instrumentals, as in “Evil Rock”. Songs like “Merry Go-Wrong”, “The Perfume of the Stars”, “Nimarói” or “Not Searching for the Real Thing” explored an imaginary where Broadway, cabaret, classic “songwriting” and a lyrical sense of their own intersect in interesting and imaginative games.
At the concert on November 29, 2000 at TAGV, in Coimbra, Belle Chase Hotel performed a version of “I Love You But I Don’t Need You” by Momus. The theme was recorded during the recording sessions for “Maid Diesel” but was not edited. The contribution to the Rui Veloso tribute album counts only with the voice of Raquel.
Then they went on an extensive tour that lasted until November 2001 and culminated with shows at Teatro Maria Matos in Lisbon and Teatro Sá da Bandeira in Porto. for the Vila do Conde Short Film Festival).
The year 2002 marked the return to the studios for the recording of the original “O Golo 451” for the compilation “Unofficial CD of the 2002 World Cup”, but it also served to bring parallel projects to fruition. Thus, Pedro Renato (in the company of Raquel Ralha, Luís Pedro Madeira and Pedro Pinto) recorded the soundtrack of the film “Esquece Tudo O Que Te Disse” by António Ferreira under the name of Azembla’s Quartet. On the other hand, JP Simões and the multi-instrumentalist Sérgio Costa wrote and composed “Opera do Failed”.
Before entering the studio to record their third album of originals, Belle Chase Hotel accepted the challenge of preparing a different show to integrate the program of Coimbra National Capital of Culture 2003. J.P. Simões and company found in a fado group, O Quinteto de Coimbra, the ideal partners to expand the group’s aesthetic universe, which ranges from tango to ‘lounge’ music, from Broadway and cabaret imagination to jazz and soul, thus creating, a perfect symbiosis with the unique sound of the Coimbra guitar.
The show “Mondego Chase” was presented on the 13th and 14th of March 2003 at the Teatro Académico de Gil Vicente.
The group ended and Pedro Renato continued with the Azembla’s Quartet project and with the production (of names like Maria de Vasconcelos and Danae) while J.P. Simões released an album with Quinteto Tati (in collaboration with Sérgio Costa) and then began his solo discography with the album “1970”.
In April 2007, Pedro Renato revealed to Blitz that the group was preparing their 3rd album and that they were looking for a new singer. There was no further news from the group.