My Night in a Legendary Hotel: Le Normandy

Deauville! In France, just saying the name of this famous town in the heart of the Côte Fleurie (“Flowery Coast”) brings to mind the American film festival, the famous Planches promenade, the town’s well-developed equestrian hub… in short, it’s a mythical place no longer in need of introduction. But Deauville is also a seaside resort where you can stay in some of the most fabulous hotels in France. I chose Le Normandy!

To start off my 10-day road trip through Normandy, I decided to set my suitcase down for a few days in the little town of Deauville. My brief visit to the area just barely a month ago to attend the EOL17 event organized by Traveller Made had not left me enough time to explore, so this second visit was the perfect occasion to stay in a historic hotel.  Inaugurated in 1912, Le Normandy is seen as a part of the town itself, and I couldn’t even consider coming to Deauville without spending a night there!

A Building that Sets the Scene

As you’re walking down the lovely little streets, you can’t miss this gorgeous building with its green half-timbered façade, in the pure Anglo-Normand style. As you enter the impressive building, it continues to work its magic, with an enormous lobby that’s just as magnificent as the exterior. It’s huge, luxurious without being ostentatious, and stylish! I immediately feel like a kid again, with so many things to see and explore; this lobby makes me want to know more, and I can’t wait to see my room.

Elegant and Comfortable Rooms

The hotel’s 271 guest rooms and suites fall into several categories. The Superior Rooms are the smallest at 26 m² (280 ft²) (which is already respectable), while the larger suites are ideal for families. As for us, we’ve selected a Deluxe Room, 28 m² (300 ft²) decorated with the famous toile de Jouy pattern, a hallmark of this hotel. Updated and available in 5 different shades, this pattern lends a touch of freshness and tradition to the room, which perfectly combines antique charm and modern infrastructure (as seen in, for example, the room’s minimalist bathroom with walk-in shower).

My Deluxe room with its beautiful toile de Jouy

A modern and spacious bathroom

The Diane Barrière amenities

A Highly Successful Facelift

The gorgeous interior is the fruit of a colossal renovation that took place only one year ago. On April 29th, 2016, after six months of renovation work, Le Normandy opened its doors again, having previously never been shut off from the public. The faithful clientele of this timeless hotel had been waiting resolutely for its re-opening to see the highly anticipated result. It’s worth noting that this establishment is the crown jewel of the Groupe Barrière’s properties, and that it has hosted some of the world’s most famous celebrities. This is why so many people have cared about the hotel’s spirit and atmosphere for generations. Architect Alexandre Danan oversaw redesign of the restaurant and spa, while Nathalie Ryan was in charge of rejuvenating the hotel accommodation.

They were wonderfully successful in breathing new life into the 5-star establishment, all while preserving its rich heritage. As for me, I love the look of my room, with the caveat that I’m less receptive to the long hallway with its tapestry and distinctly patterned carpet…

Staying at this hotel helps me realize that I’m a huge fan of hotels that have soul, a story to tell, like at the Hotel du Palais which I discovered only recently, or here at Le Normandy.

A Bar for Every Time of Day

Exploring the bar at Le Normandy is an absolute must, with its intimate atmosphere. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a beverage in the afternoon or take in a pre-dinner drink, it’s the ideal place to soak up an ambiance fit for one of the coast’s most luxurious upscale establishments. Having a coffee here is not just getting a shot of caffeine; it’s a one-of-a-kind experience. Thanks to the enormous fireplace, grand piano, mahogany countertop, and equestrian paintings, the mood is just as I’d expected!

Looking at the protracted cocktail menu, I hardly know where to start! Anyone can find their heart’s desire here, so of course I’m able to pick out a drink that suits my fancy: a Rossini with champagne and strawberry purée.

“La Belle Epoque” Restaurant

La Belle Epoque restaurant welcomes guests for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With its majestic chandeliers, clean interior design mixing contemporary and antique elements, elegant molding, and light wood furniture, there’s no lack of charm! This is where I have the pleasure of eating my breakfast. La Belle Epoque masters the art of the quintessential French breakfast perfectly; there are no surprises, good or bad. I am a bit sorry that the menu lacks originality (specialties to set the restaurant apart) but I will say that the quality of the products is undeniable!

An Unprecedented Spa

Finally it’s time for a trip to the spa. (It’ll even be the subject of an entire separate post!) This spa offers a totally innovative and audacious menu that I absolutely had to see. I know my way around massages, but this place is completely original, with a unique feeling. I can tell that the therapist is incredibly professional and masters her craft perfectly! With its wonderfully inventive approach, the Diane Barrière Spa is truly an asset for this luxury hotel, a highlight among the offered services.

The spa lobby

My treatment room

The Verdict

I’m thrilled that I got to stay at this legendary hotel! If you ask me, it’s one of the great institutions of the French hotel industry, and I couldn’t dream up a better way to discover Deauville. You have to try out the bar and spa, both of them must-do experiences! A small clarification as concerns the clientele: we stayed the night here during French schools’ spring break, and the hotel is rather geared toward families, just like the town. I’d recommend avoiding weekends and school vacation periods if you’re looking for a more relaxed visit.

I loved:

  • The gorgeous restoration work
  • The innovative spa
  • The staunchly old-school bar
  • The quality of the personnel

I disliked:

  • The sound-proofing in the rooms
  • The lack of a time slot for families/children at the pool (never a peaceful moment)
  • There were no mugs for coffee in our room, only paper cups…

I’ll leave you with this fabulous video from Deauville’s Tourism Office. It’s truly fantastic and will make you want to spend a few days there yourself, and perhaps even check out the Barrière Normandy hotel!

Practical information

A big thank you to the Groupe Barrière for their invitation to explore their establishment. Of course, the remarks and observations in this blog post are all my own!

Do you know the Normandy ? Feel free to send me your comments or questions by posting them on social media.

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  • Beth says:

    This is one of my favorite hotels in France…and Deauville is so beautiful 😉

    • florence says:

      Yes I love Deauville too 😉 This hotel is the perfect place for a few days, maybe we could go back together !!
      See you !

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