With the opening of two Philippe Starck designed hotels La Co(o)rniche and Ha(a)ïtza in the upscale beach community of Pyla-sur-mer, visitors can now take advantage of this exceptional location on the Bassin d'arcachon
Summer paradises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
LA CO(O)RNICHE AND HOTEL HA(A)ÏTZA ARE TWO PHILIPPE STARCK DESIGNED RENOVATIONS OF HISTORIC HOTELS, run by co-owners Sophie and William Téchoueyres, bringing glamour to this stunning location on the Bassin d'arcachon.
‘The most impressive place, the most beautiful, the most poetic, the most surreal, the strongest forces of nature; it is one of the most beautiful places in the world,’ says Starck.
In 2016, local entrepreneurs Sophie and William Téchoueyres unveiled Hotel Ha(a)ïtza, a renovation of the historic landmark hotel built in 1930 by Louis Gaume, their second hotel in Pyla-sur-mer. Gaume was a local developer, largely responsible for establishing Pyla-sur-mer and imposing the characteristic neo-basque architecture on the villas his firm built. When the Téchoueyres took over the hotels, they teamed up with internationally renowned designer Philippe Starck. Integral to the project was the Téchoueyres' commitment to reviving the village atmosphere of yesteryear, with a café, a bakery and tea room, and the hotels, of course. 'These buildings are part of the collective memory of this place,' explains Sophie, who grew up a short walk away. Her husband William grew up across the bay in Cap Ferret, and became a French rugby player, playing for division one at Bègles.
Hotel Ha(a)ïtza builds on the success the trio enjoyed with the nearby Hotel-restaurant La Co(o)rniche, built by Gaume in 1933. La Co(o)rniche is famous for its stunning location on the Dune of Pilat. As soon as Starck heard the historic Gaume hotel was under renovation, he came to visit, meeting William for the first time. The two men hit it off and Starck, who has a home on the Bassin d'arcachon, was immediately drawn to the challenge of creating a hotel worthy of the location he loves. 'This is one of the most beautiful places that I’ve ever seen!' says Starck.
La Co(o)rniche embraces the view from its outdoor bar, restaurant and pool as well as from the rooms, suites and cabins. The location is truly remarkable. The Dune de Pilat is the largest sand dune in Europe, offering a panoramic view of the bay, ocean and The Landes Pine Forest. It's 105 metres high and 2700 metres long — 60 million cubic metres of sand! While the hotel and restaurant have undergone a complete facelift, Starck and the Téchoueyres were careful to keep the connections to the past like the old tamarind tree in the garden. The original staircase is lit by a Murano lamp. The goal was not to transform the place but to awaken a sleeping beauty, explains Sophie.
At the much bigger Hotel Ha(a)ïtza, one of the challenges was to make sure it didn't feel like it was playing second fiddle to La Co(o)rniche. The trio gave Hotel Ha(a)ïtza its own identity, still friendly, relaxed and sophisticated, but more of a year around hotel-spa. For instance, the swimming pool at Hotel Ha(a)ïtza has a retractable glass roof. Retro-style bikes can be borrowed for cycling on the path leading to Le Moulleau, the beach or Arcachon. There's a Parisian hair salon, sophisticated spa treatments, a stylish Cake Shop and Tea Room, a gourmet restaurant Le Skiff, bar and lounge, and a range of comfortable rooms, all designed by Philippe Starck.
At Le Skiff, chef Stéphane Carrade has brought his trademark creativity to the menu, making the most of local seafood and the farm-to-table cuisine renowned in the region. Dinner at Le Skiff Club might start with a Medallion of Spiny Lobster with sea urchin, a tiny Kekette chicken egg poached in black pudding consommé or an inverted rossini of seared foie gras, paper-thin slices of raw beef, capers and chicons with Argan oil and a Perigueux sauce. Mains include Roasted Pigeon with rum, coconut milk potato Mousseline, carrots, blood orange, Salmis sauce and ‘la Cuite’ sirop.
It's a summer paradise.
◆ Hôtel Ha(a)ïtza
1, avenue Louis-gaume, 3315 Pyla-sur-mer, www.haaitza.com, 05 56 22 06 06
Rooms: €195- €545, suites: €435 to €785, two-bedroom apartment: €995- €1595
◆ La Co(o)rniche
46, Avenue Louis-gaume, 3315 Pyla-sur-mer www.lacoorniche-pyla.com, 05 56 22 72 11 Rooms: €275 to €965, suites: €450 to €935, cabins: €395 to €995
Co(o)rniche’s swimming pool.
Hôtel Ha(a)ïtza’s kitchens.
Sunset at La Co(o)rniche.
Restaurant Le Skiff.
Stéphane Carrade at the Skiff.
A chef’s masterpiece!
A Hotel Ha(a)ïtza suite.