10 am: An arrival fit for a duchess
Begun in 1854 during the French Second Empire when Biarritz had become the Queen of beaches and the beach of Kings, the Hôtel du Palais began life as the summer residence of Empress Eugénie. Her husband Napoléon III gifted her this villa, whose elegant charm and discreet luxury have survived magnificently through all the years since that time. The world of horse-drawn carriages and stagecoaches, parasols, crinolines and top hats may have gone, but the welcome received by guests in the great courtyard is still an essential part of the Hôtel du Palais allure. Your first panoramic view of the ocean requires you simply to cross the grand reception hall!
11 am: Keep your date with the Atlantic Ocean
Why defer the pleasure? There’s not a minute to lose! Take a deep breath of sea air, experience the ocean spray and brave the bracing waves. The spectacular outdoor pool built on a promontory overlooking the Atlantic offers one of the best vantage points in the hotel and indeed anywhere in Biarritz. A swim in this huge heated seawater pool is always a divine experience.
Midday: Take the grand staircase to your suite
You could always take the lift, of course, but the grand staircase to the hotel’s bedrooms is virtually an historic monument in its own right. Ascending it and descending it at least once is therefore essential. The hotel’s 123 rooms and 30 suites are all furnished in the purest Second Empire style. The most sought-after are - naturally - those with ocean views and a front row seat for the spectacular sunsets!
1 pm: Ready for a beautiful plate of seafood?
L’Hippocampe, one of the three restaurants offered by this ‘Palace’, is the place for a delicious seafood lunch, especially when enjoyed alfresco on the terrace. The summer buffet lunch menu is famous, and the views over the bay and its main beach are simply irresistible.
3 pm: A dedicated coach just for me
The fitness suite with heated indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, hammam, cardio workout and weights gym is a great place to relax to music bathed in natural daylight. Sounds like a good idea? So arrange a time with your own personal coach. There are four of them here at the hotel to offer support and advice tailored specifically to you.
5 pm: In the colonnaded pool
Can anyone dream of a more beautiful setting? The sumptuous indoor pool surrounded by colonnades and bathed in natural daylight recalls the legendary splendour and past of this Palace. Counter-current swimming, swan’s neck power jet massage or just the relaxing benefits of fresh water... Whichever you choose, you’ll feel wonderfully prepared for the treatments offered in the Imperial Spa.
6 pm: 3,000 m² of serenity in the Imperial Spa
It was for the Empress Eugénie that Guerlain created its Imperial Eau de Cologne in 1853, highlighting the fresh fragrances of orange blossom, bergamot, lemon, lavender and rosemary. Some of the treatments offered by the Imperial Spa and its magnificent Guerlain Institute are still based on this floral fragrance and its recognised benefits.
8 pm: Belle Époque dinner
Here, it still seems very real! From the wallcoverings to the wall lights and colonnades... The romanticism of the Belle Epoque is still a tangible reality at Villa Eugénie, the fine dining restaurant of the Hôtel du Palais. In the kitchen, Chef Jean-Marie Gautier and his team celebrate seafood and local produce from the Basque Country. At sunset, the view through its huge windows to the iconic Rocher de la Vierge is simply magical.
10 pm: Prolong the pleasure
Summer is glorious at the Hôtel du Palais. So why not tarry on the terrace to enjoy even more of it with this endlessly fascinating view of the ocean. The casino is just a two-minute walk away, and the resort centre is less than ten minutes away. Perhaps a final stroll on the beach?
9 am: When it’s time to leave
Leaving this sophisticated hideaway is always tinged with regret. You’ll find yourself lingering in the reception hall, where the hotel restoration workshop has worked wonders. Cabinetmakers, joiners, painters, decorators, upholsterers and designers have all stretched their talents to the ultimate in exalting the Second Empire style that makes this Palace hotel unique in France.
Getting to Biarritz