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.hotel-du-palais.com. Andrew Bain