Hotel du Palais Imperial Resort & Spa, Biarritz, France
“Seaside mansion-hotel housed within a lavish red-brick villa in Biarritz built in 1854 by Emperor Napoleon III for his wife, Eugénie. The original villa has been expanded considerably, but the most desirable accommodations are still in the oldest part of the property. Most of the Residential Suites are decorated in a grand traditional French style, with swagged silk curtains and Wedgwood-style moldings on the walls. In contrast, the nautically themed fifth-floor junior suites have a romantic under-the-eaves charm. However, all of the accommodations have a seductive atmosphere that derives from a respect for classic comfort and traditional French ideals of beauty. A splendid spa provides a full range of treatments using Guerlain products, plus an indoor freshwater pool (to complement one on a deck overlooking the sea). During the summer, a wonderful lunchtime buffet is set out beside the pool, with a range of locally caught fish and shellfish, as well as attractive salads. The oval-shaped dining room (which dates to 1905) is one of the most beautiful in France.” - Andrew Harper
Hotel de Toiras, Saint-Martin-de-Ré, France.
“Delightful and completely renovated 16th-century seaside hotel in Saint-Martin-de-Ré, with warm, attentive service. The 20 rooms are individually decorated in gentle colors complemented by antique furniture and 18th-century-style wallpaper. The beautiful, light and spacious George Washington Suite has a round sitting room in an old watchtower, an expansive salon with a working limestone chimney, a separate bedroom and a dressing room leading to a large, attractive bath with a double vanity, claw-foot tub and oversize shower. The charming restaurant serves “simple and honest” cuisine; guests may visit the market for ingredients that the chef then prepares. The hotel also arranges fishing trips on which guests may catch their own sea bream and sea bass.” – Andrew Harper