M. Pinglet’s plans for a romantic night at a seedy hotel with his neighbour’s wife, Marcelle, are thrown into disarray by the arrival of his friend Mathieu and his large family , and by his own wife’s close attentions to his comings and goings. Still, he manages to escape to the Heart’s Desire Hotel to meet with Marcelle. Sadly for him, so too does her husband, as well as many of their friends and acquaintances, who run a chaotic rule throughout a hotel which has many beds but no place to rest.
In his introduction, translator Kenneth McLeish writes: 'Heart's Desire Hotel (L'Hotel du libre échange) is justly one of the most famous comedies of assumed identity in the repertoire; the fact that the only couple to achieve any satisfaction is the young Maxime and Victoire, while the older characters remain frightened and frustrated, is entirely in keeping with the traditions of farce going back to classical times.'
Heart's Desire Hotel premiered at the Théâtre des Nouveautés in 1894.