Biarritz is a lovely seaside resort along the Basque coast. If you’ve been there, you have undoubtedly noticed the gorgeous building that towers over the main beach in this chic town. It’s the Hôtel du Palais, a genuine institution both in the region and worldwide. I had the enormous pleasure of staying here a few weeks ago, and will tell you all about my 24 hours in the heart of one of the world’s most beautiful hotels!
The Legend of this Five-Star Establishment
The Hôtel du Palais is first and foremost a place with a history. I was never a big history buff, but over the last few years, as I’ve explored local histories while visiting or staying in places that are full of memories, I’ve learned to appreciate it!
So let’s take a trip back to this luxury establishment’s past. In 1854, Eugenie asked her husband Napoleon III to build her a summer palace in the location where she had spent her childhood vacations. She loved the region and wanted to spend more time there. For 16 years, various kings and important personages came one after the other to attend parties and other festivities, all of them interspersed with Napoleon III’s diplomatic obligations. In 1880, the “Villa Eugenie” was purchased by a Parisian bank and transformed into a casino. Finally, in 1893, it became the Hôtel du Palais!
The building has carried this rich history for more than 150 years, and it’s truly an attractive feature for those who, like me, are drawn to places filled with memories. You need only pass through the doors of the establishment to be transported back to another era, between the antique furniture and the enormous chandeliers. I’ve grown used to upscale accommodation, and I have to say that hotels with this much charm and sophistication are quite rare.
The hotel greeting is both warm and professional, and after a few formalities, we’re accompanied to our Junior Suite Mer et Plage (“Sea and Beach”). The Second Empire style is present in all 152 rooms and suites, each of which displays a unique décor. My suite is absolutely magnificent, featuring beige tones with pink accents, creating a romantic and chic atmosphere. And finally, the suite’s main asset: the view! You need only open the windows to admire the ocean and the Biarritz lighthouse. A large dressing room and an enormous bathroom complete this suite of 50 m² (538 ft²).
While visiting this seaside jewel, I had the chance to explore some of the establishment’s most beautiful suites. The most luxurious among them includes a great big living room decorated with absolutely charming furniture, lending it an authentic Second Empire look. On top of that, there’s a large bedroom, as well as a bathroom that will take your breath away: a huge, round bathtub takes center stage, and a sauna is hidden behind a frosted glass door! It’s the cream of the crop for this 120 m² suite (1290 ft²) where you’d have to spend several thousand euros just to spend the night.
A Spa Featuring the Guerlain Name
Time for a detour to the spa! Covering over 3000 m² (32,300 ft²), this is where you can surrender yourself to personalized and very in-depth spa treatments. Named after the Guerlain brand, it offers a relaxation space with a 15-meter pool, a jacuzzi, a steam room, and a sauna. The spa is very sophisticated; aesthetically it harmonizes perfectly with the hotel. It’s also very brightly-lit, which is rather rare and appreciated. For a gourmet break, I head to the Eugenie Lounge where I can comfortably idle in my bathrobe on a deckchair, sipping Alain Milliat fruit juice and enjoying a sweet snack.
Time for Dinner
Before going out to dinner, we take a peek at the Imperial Bar. Our pre-dinner drink is accompanied by piano playing. The bar’s ambiance is enchanting: subdued lighting, an excellent wine and cocktail menu, highly attentive personnel, and jazzy music for an extra-romantic moment! The food takes the place of honor thanks to contributions from the restaurant Villa Eugenie, as well as the Hippocampe during the summer season.
Astonishment First Thing in the Morning…
The following morning, it’s finally time to try the hotel’s breakfast! For me, this is one of the most important moments of my stay, as I’m uncompromising on the quality. I’m impatient as I hurry down to the beautiful restaurant in a rotunda which offers an exceptional panoramic view of the beach. As for the food buffet, it’s filled with French staples like croissants, breads, cold meats, and cheeses, but also features local specialties like Basque cake with black cherry preserves. Other original foods include Gugelhupf, an Alsatian cake that I particularly love. After a copious breakfast, it’s time for me to leave my gorgeous suite, knowing that I will no doubt miss the room’s charm and beautiful view.
I had been meaning to discover this luxury hotel for a while, and I’m thrilled to have been able to stay there! I particularly enjoy places with a history, a background, as was the case at Ashford Castle, which I visited while in Ireland. You need only close your eyes, and for a few moments you’ll be transported to the past. As for the service, I give it a perfect score; the personnel is extraordinarily kind and attentive. It’s easy to understand why the Hôtel du Palais received the distinction of “Palace” in 2011!
- The charm and history that have filled this building with life for more than 150 years
- The fantastic view from my junior suite
- The breakfast with its excellent quality
- The Guerlain spa
- The quality of my ensuite bathroom, but it’s scheduled to be renovated very soon!
- Rooms from 330€ in low season.
- Junior Suite Sea and Beach from 640€ per night.
- Reserve your room on Booking.com
- Take a look at the hotel website, there are a lot of offers on gastronomy or relaxing stay.
- For an amazing week end, remember to read my article about the Basque Coast here !
Experiences luxe was invited by the Hotel du Palais, however my opinions are my one !