News from France. Another illustrious luxury hotel has joined the elite bunch recognized with the “palace hotel” distinction. After the latest deliberation of the government’s “Palace Commission,” the honor has been bestowed upon Les Prés d’Eugénie – Michel Guérard in Eugénie-les-Bains, a thermal spa town in southwest France (specifically the Landes department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region).
Les Prés d’Eugénie guestroom
Atout France’s announcement recognizes this “veritable little palace of excellence and romanticism” surrounded by “fairytale gardens” on a eight-hectare domaine overseen by the grand chef Michel Guérard. Accommodations are spread out in eight houses, and the little river called the Bahus runs through it all. The restaurant, la Table des Prés d’Eugénie, has boasted three Michelin stars since 1977. This year the hotel is celebrating its 40th Michelin anniversary with a special package that combines overnight accommodations and a five-course meal. The Financial Times notes how this was where Guérard introduced “his famous cuisine minceur”—the “revolutionary lighter, healthier take on traditional nouvelle cuisine.”
Les Prés d’Eugénie salon
As we’ve previously reported, Atout France, the French Agency for Tourism Development, first created the “palace hotel” distinction in November 2010 to distinguish the five-star hotels which are in a class are their own. With exceptional facilities, these hotels are a showcase for architectural heritage, personalized service and unique geographical settings. The label lasts for a period of five years, when it can then be renewed. Currently there are 24 palace hotels in France, including one in the French West Indies (Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France in Saint-Barthélemy). Ten of these properties are in Paris.