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More than two years of renovation work with talented craftsmen have resulted in a true transformation of the Hotel du Palais, the only hotel with the label "Palaces de France" on the entire French Atlantic coast, under the leadership of its caring general manager, Alessandro Cresta.


More than two years of renovation work with talented craftsmen have resulted in a true transformation of the Hotel du Palais, the only hotel with the label "Palaces de France" on the entire French Atlantic coast, under the leadership of its caring general manager, Alessandro Cresta.

Catégorie : Europe - France - Économie du secteur - Rénovation ou nouveauté dans un établissement
Article rédigé par Sylvie Leroy le 01-04-2021

It must be said that the Hôtel du Palais is an exceptional place marked by its glorious past.

The mythical hotel has crossed the ages

Let's go back in time, in 1854, Empress Eugenie and Napoleon III became owners of a piece of land on the seafront where they had a summer villa built, the Villa Eugenie, a testimony of the Emperor's love for his wife. This villa, a true family home, was for more than twenty years the place of festivities for all the crowned heads of Europe.

In 1882, the villa became a hotel and casino. The Gotha continued to come, but so did the celebrities: sea baths, sumptuous balls... the Hôtel du Palais was one of those luxury hotels, like those in Switzerland or on the French Riviera, where one could spend a pleasant summer.

Then came to Biarritz the White Russians, aristocrats in exile, who made the hotel their favorite place for sumptuous evenings. The Roaring Twenties further enhanced the notoriety of the palace, which remained at the top of the luxury hotel firmament for more than 50 years before falling into decline.

In the early 2000s, the hotel gradually came back to life. Even before being completely renovated, in 2011, it received the Palace de France label and in 2012, the "Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant" label. It is also a member of the Colbert Committee.

At the end of 2018, Hyatt signed a contract with the Biarritz City Council, owner of the property, to manage the hotel. The American hotel group then chose to include the Hôtel du Palais into The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, a collection of unique and independent hotels that now includes 24 establishments.

Autumn 2018: the beginning of the adventure for the rebirth of the Biarritz palace

The Parisian interior design firm, Atelier COS and Isabelle Joly, heritage architect, form the tandem at the head of an extraordinary construction site that then begins.

Just imagine: the exteriors, the roof, the technical spaces, the rooms, the restaurants, the bar, the reception... Everything had to be redesigned. The result is breathtakingly beautiful.

Let's congratulate Alessandro Cresta, general manager, and all his teams who worked to wake up the sleeping beauty. Its rebirth is a total success, as the attention to detail is evident everywhere.

Alessandro Cresta gives the guideline that directs his mission: "I have at heart to preserve the heritage, DNA and soul of this place full of emotions and memories while bringing it into the 21st century, a new era marked by modernity and adapting to the challenges of the ecological transition. "

When artisans bring the French art of living to life

Period furniture, trompe l'oeil, tapestries, upholstery... so many elements that have passed through the expert hands of the establishment's team of meticulous craftsmen.

It is a remarkable choice - and unique in French luxury hotels - to have so many craftsmen working in-house: the Folin workshops, named after the street where they are located, have seven craftsmen, all salaried: a cabinetmaker, two decorative painters, one of whom is a "Meilleurs Ouvriers de France" (One of the Best Craftsmen in France), two decorative upholsterers and two decorative sewing craftsmen... who master the gestures and techniques of the Napoleonic era in order to revive the luxury hotel.

The restoration and maintenance of the furniture, the hangings or the decor is done within the hotel or in the workshops of these exceptional craftsmen. The mythical Biarritz palace thus perpetuates a unique know-how allowing to sublimate an already exceptional heritage.

Impressive figures to show the importance of the renovation

- 70,000 roof slates replaced
- 15,638 liters of paint applied to the facades
- 410 kg, the weight of the chandelier in the Napoleon III Bar, which took nearly 250 hours to restore
- 27,500 liters of paint on the interior walls and woodwork
- 6,030 m2 of carpeting installed
- Approximately 5,000 tons of rubble

An environmentally conscious renovation

The hotel was keen to follow an environmental and societal philosophy, notably by choosing local actors and producers or the use of LED light bulbs, the creation of a compost to recycle vegetable waste or a new technology boiler...

86 rooms and 56 suites where softness and harmony reign

The Hôtel du Palais now has 86 rooms and 56 suites ranging in size from 28 to 100 m2 for the Royal Suite.

It is with great pleasure that we see the historical details preserved in each room, such as the woodwork on the ceiling, the Napoleonic gilding and the delicately colored draperies that provide an intimate and soothing atmosphere.

The choice of colors brings a welcome softness: sandy and grey tones recall the nearby beach.

The bathrooms are also havens of peace, bathed in natural light. Paintings by Georges Ancely recall the history of the seaside resort.

Finally, on the top floor, the rooms and suites take us on a cruise with rounded windows and a maritime atmosphere.

Work is still planned for a final series of 25 rooms and suites.


Aurélien Largeau, 28, is the new chef at the Hôtel du Palais. Ten years ago, the Rochelais was a commis here and now he is back after having worked in excellent kitchens, notably with great chefs such as Coutenceau and Hay.

His cuisine is based on seasonal products from the land and sea, short circuits and local producers: "I take pleasure in meeting each producer and establishing partnerships based on trust. I have selected a breed of Pyrenean cow that reaches maturity at the age of eleven; it is a rare product that will not be available all year round, but I prefer quality to quantity. The fish comes from the local fishery between Capbreton and Hendaye. And the cheeses are chosen by Beñat, the legendary cheesemonger at the Saint Jean de Luz market. Eric Ospital and Pierre Oteiza, certainly the most famous pork butchers in our country, provide me with their best hams. A desire to share the taste for quality and seasonal products and the respect of the people who grow and produce them locally. There will be no strawberries from Chile at my table in December, but there will be beautiful kiwis from Anglet! ".

Above all, Aurélien Largeau appreciates the quality of human relations and the eco-responsible commitment of his suppliers and producers.

The chef has also created a garden of aromatic herbs and wild flowers to flavor his dishes.

He will also offer parent/child cooking classes, the theme of which will depend on the season.

Working with head sommelier Alexandre Pons, Aurélien Largeau has created subtle food and wine pairings, offering gourmets unique culinary experiences.

In the palace's cellar there are more than 1,000 references, including little-known local wines.

Finally, for sweets, you can count on the delicacies imagined by the pastry chef Aleksandre Oliver.

La Rotonde restaurant, in one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the world

With its incredible 180° view of the ocean, its curved shape, its crystal chandeliers and its moldings and gilding, it is easy to understand why La Rotonde is considered "one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the world".

Continuing from the restaurant towards the reception, the Lounge is a "vibrant space" where you can have breakfast, a quick lunch, a snack or simply relax during the day, under the period chandeliers, in a deep sofa.

Outside the Lounge, the Terrace awaits you, overlooking the gardens and the large beach. A real invitation to laze around, the place is ideal for a drink, reading or enjoying the view of the sea.

Finally, the Sunset. Open only on sunny days, this restaurant is located by the pool. It offers seasonal dishes at any time of the day.

Mixology at the Napoleon III bar led by head bartender Jérémy Lauilhé

With its "royal blue" walls, bronzine-painted moldings and crystal chandelier, the intimate Napoleon III bar is not stuck in the past: studded leather armchairs set the tone.

A menu of gins gives envy while vintage champagnes, whiskies and Basque artisanal drinks also give you the eye...

As for mixology, the cocktails are made to measure, whether they are classics or creations of the season accompanied by Pintxos, plates to share or appetizers.

The Imperial Spa in association with the House of Guerlain

In 1853, Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain conceived the Eau de Cologne Impériale for Empress Eugenie who awarded him the title of "Patented Perfumer to Her Majesty".

The story continues today with the magnificent Imperial Spa, which spreads over five floors, with a total surface area of 3,000 m2.

A freshwater pool with counter-current swimming is heated to 28°C. A jacuzzi invites you to relax while aquatic relaxation classes are highly sought after. The spa also offers a hammam and a sauna and, on the top floor, a fitness center with a view of the ocean. The program includes Pilates, yoga, QiGong, boxing, Toyboard, meditation and Gyrotonic.

The spa has nine treatment rooms, including two duo rooms.

We can't wait for the summer to take advantage of an ephemeral spa set up every morning facing the ocean for a relaxing massage, lulled by the gentle sound of the waves.

The Imperial Club, a elegant pool area

Overlooking the ocean, the pool is Californian. Its gentle slope takes you into seawater heated to 28°C....

You've already seen them on photos, they are part of the history of the Hotel du Palais, the famous Cabañas are there. They can be rented by the season or by the day.

Privatized tents are available on the beach with deck chairs and refreshments.

The Kid's Club is open to children between the ages of 3 and 14, during school vacations, with fun activities or activities focused on environmental protection.

Beautiful reception rooms

The hotel has been the venue for all the parties of the European aristocracy and celebrities, and has of course preserved its six reception rooms, including the Salon Impérial, the former ballroom of Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie, and its 300 m2 winter garden, a real gem with the original parquet floor, sublime marquetry, allegorical paintings by Paul Gervais, and a seven-meter high glass ceiling.

This room is, without a doubt, a rare and romantic reception venue, ideal for many memorable events.

The five other salons range in size from 32 to 78 m2. They are all equipped for memorable meetings and seminars.

Experiences to enjoy

Get closer to the concierge desk for local experiences. The hotel's concierge service is there to offer extraordinary, tailor-made experiences, in the first sense of the word.

Jean-Christophe Azzopardi, head concierge and member of the Clefs d'or association, recalls the stay of a client with a passion for travel and a singular experience: "This lady came down to our concierge desk one morning, passport in hand, determined to entrust me with the mission of my day, which looked like a challenge! In fact, the document in her hands would soon expire, it was filled with 99 stamps for 99 different countries, including some rare and original places: Antarctica for example or a visa for Machu Picchu... The lady had never been to Andorra, which, according to her, had no other interest than its various stores, so she asked me if it was possible to plan a quick visit to this hitherto unknown territory the next day, with the sole aim of affixing the hundredth visa on her passport!

"Realizing the distance between Biarritz and Andorra, about 430 km one way, Madam retorted to me that I would just have to go to the nearest heliport to make the round trip within the day. Is there an unmissable gastronomic restaurant on the stage?

"And so we organized a limousine with a driver who left at night to be at the heliport base in Andorra la Vieille, to welcome our client a few hours later, to take care of validating her visa at the customs office, and then to drive our client to the most beautiful gastronomic restaurant in the area, to bring her back to her helicopter at the end of the afternoon.

"I had the pleasure of welcoming Madame at the end of the afternoon in the same hall, for the second time in just over 24 hours, she brandished the passport like a sesame, laughing: "Mr. Concierge, bravo, you have perfectly fulfilled your mission, to my great joy and I am infinitely grateful to you. My passport is now adorned with 100 countries visited and the restaurant was a beautiful culinary discovery! " "

Comment from Journal des Palaces: The Hotel du Palais in Biarritz is now back in the firmament of the ultra-luxury hotels and ready to offer unique moments to its clients who love the art of living, relaxation and elegance. A big congratulation to Alessandro Cresta and all the teams for this challenge taken up in difficult times! We wish you all the best for this summer and long life to the mythical hotel!

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A propos de l'auteur

Sylvie Leroy, enthusiastic publisher since 1999
Her passion for luxury hospitality, "a score perfectly performed by a fantastic orchestra" as she often says, led Sylvie Leroy to build in 2004 Journal des Palaces the sole online daily news dedicated to luxury hospitality with news, jobs, directories and resources.

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