The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Holidays Afloat -

OC­CU­PY­ING a for­mer royal palace that was re­built af­ter a fire in 1903, the Ho­tel du Palais, pic­tured, is unar­guably Biar­ritz’s finest ho­tel and among the most glo­ri­ous in Europe. Re­cently named Europe’s best re­sort ho­tel by Con­deNastTrav­eler mag­a­zine, it has re­mained pala­tial, as though roy­alty may still swing by at any time.

Sit­ting atop a head­land sep­a­rat­ing the beaches of Grande Plage from Mi­ra­mar Plage, the lobby sets the scene, with its mar­ble col­umns and gilt-edged furniture. The 132 rooms and 22 suites mix 19th­cen­tury art and fur­nish­ings with 21stcen­tury mar­ble spa bath­rooms. The royal suites ap­pear to have slipped straight out of a Napoleonic drama, and the pick of the views is from suite 506, with its sit­ting room built into a tur­ret over­look­ing Grande Plage in one di­rec­tion and the light­house in the other. If you can’t share the suite, the view over Grande Plage from the pool­side is am­ple com­pen­sa­tion.

One of the ho­tel’s three restau­rants, Villa Eu­ge­nie, is Miche­lin-starred, and there’s an at­tached day spa of­fer­ing an as­sort­ment of treat­ments, in­clud­ing thalos­sother­apy, just the thing to dis­solve those knots af­ter a hard morn­ing in the surf.

Stan­dard dou­bles from j445 ($733) a night in sum­mer, with suites from j1500 a night. More: www.ho­ Andrew Bain

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