The oceanside resort of Biarritz has a long-standing reputation for glitz and glamor. In southwest France, the Basque coast boasts terrific beaches (and surfing!), not to mention top luxury digs at a grande dame known as the Hotel du Palais. This is one of France’s prized palace hotels (awarded the prestigious label by Atout France in 2011), showcasing French hospitality and art de vivre. First built in 1855 by Empress Eugenie and Napoleon III before it was sold to the city in 1880, the Hotel du Palais is a treasured landmark.
Needless to say, questions about its future have loomed large over the city for the last few years. As we first reported in 2016, city officials have been on a quest to find a new management company for the hotel. After interviewing a dozen major hospitality companies, Biarritz had chosen Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, before the deal fell through because of a disagreement about the necessary investments to ensure the hotel maintains its “palace status.” Word on the street is that the city of Biarritz is now in talks with Hyatt Hotels Corporation, according to sudouest.fr.
In the meantime, the Hotel du Palais commenced a renovation project in November 2017. The project will see a complete makeover of the famous “Californian” pool overlooking the ocean, with newly redesigned gardens, a pool bar and solarium. The hotel will unveil the new look in mid-June 2018, when the pool reopens to guests. In the meantime, the hotel has created a pop-up terrace outside the Imperial Spa for sun-seekers to bronze themselves facing the Atlantic. (Bien sur, guests can opt to use the spa's pool.) Celebrated designer Pierre Yves Rochon is overseeing the project, which will also rejuvenate the restaurant and bar.