5 Iconic Waterfront Hotels in France to Put On Your Travel Bucket List

Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz. Photo credit: Hôtel du Palais website

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They’ll make you swoon, make you want to watch old French movies set on the Côte d’Azur, make you pinch your pennies until you can afford to stay in one of their glorious rooms over looking the saltwater pool, umbrella-covered beaches and vast blue expanse of the water.

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Here are five of France’s most iconic waterfront hotels that should be on your bucket list to stay in during the summer. (And if you don’t want to blow your entire vacation budget on lodging, try the more affordable winter months.)

1. Hôtel Belles Rives in Juan-Les-Pins 

On the French Riviera

Since the F. Scott Fitzgerald years, the Belles Rives hotel has retained its charm and panache. A 100% Art Deco panache combined with an exceptional location, you’re so close to the ocean you can put “les pieds dans l’eau,“ which is exactly made this villa one of the most popular VIP spots on the Riviera. Even today, under the leadership of the Estène-Chauvin family, the address has survived for decades without wrinkling or losing its magic. The best way to enjoy it is to stay there and breathe in the sea air from one of the 43 rooms overlooking the great blue expanse below.

From 180€ per night, https://www.bellesrives.com/en/

2. Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz

An Imperial Escape

After long and heated negotiations, the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz passed into the hands of the Hyatt hotel group at the end of 2018. In other words, a new life is beginning for this jewel on the Basque Coast, which has already seen so much since its construction in 1855, under the impetus of Napoleon III and his wife, Eugénie. Engaged for several months in a vast renovation program that includes revamping rooms, restaurants, and common areas, as well as the creating a bar and lounge, the palace will partially reopen its doors from July to October, notably to welcome the heads of state participating in the G7 summit at the end of August. It’s the last opportunity to immerse yourself in its Second Empire ambiance before the renovations are finished, scheduled for June 2020.

From 457€ per night, www.hotel-du-palais.com

3. Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

The Divine Dive

The legendary white bird spreads its wings over seven hectares of gardens that descend to the sea. Built in 1908, entering the Four Seasons Club in 2015, the Grand-Hôtel knows how to bear its name thanks to the perfect alchemy born of the imposing splendor of the place and the intimacy in each space. Gustave Eiffel designed the plans for the rotunda and what is now the restaurant La Véranda. The 74 rooms, the 24 suites, designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, and the privatizable villa, decorated by Alberto Pinto, offer a luxury without ostentation. The suites of the modern part open onto a private swimming pool. At Le Cap restaurant, tMichelin-starred chef Yoric Tièche created a menu inspired by the treasures of the vegetable garden, and each dish, made with the scents of the South, is thought of as a work of art. Overlooking the sea, which is accessible by stairs, is the Olympic seawater pool of the Dauphin Club. Chaplin, Picasso, Sinatra, and McCartney swam there under the watchful eye of the famous lifeguard Paul Gruneberg. The cherry on top of this supreme happiness (in addition to the fabulous massages of the spa): the Indian Summer Negroni cocktail, with bergamot.

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Escape the city life for a peaceful journey in our secluded French Riviera Palace ✨ #fscapferrat #frenchriviera #palaceresorts

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From 480€ per night, https://www.fourseasons.com/capferrat/

4. Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes

Glamour or nothing

“A summer house for remarkable personalities”: it’s with these words that F. Scott Fitzgerald evoked the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, the legendary palace on the tip of the Cap d’Antibes, which will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2020. A member of the Oetker chain, like Le Bristol in Paris, it has managed to preserve its exclusive atmosphere and exploit its location overlooking the Mediterranean, facing the Îles de Lérins. An avenue lined with umbrella pines leads down to the Napoleon III building, the panoramic terraces and the century-old salt water overflow pool dug into the rock. But the real plus is its 31 seaside huts, almost unchanged since the 1960s, where guests laze, have lunch, get massages and plunge into the deep blue… A setting so exceptional that Picasso himself set up there to draw.

From 600€ per night, www.oetkercollection.com/hotels/hotel-du-cap-eden-roc

5. Grand Hôtel Thalasso & Spa in Saint-Jean-de-Luz

Moving sands

Standing tall for more than a hundred years on the seaside promenade of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the Grand Hôtel is one of the emblematic buildings on the Basque Coast. Inside, the intense colors of the Art Deco years blend with the softer shade of the sand. From the rooms or the rotunda of the Michelin-starred restaurant, which this year welcomes a new chef, Julien Richard, all eyes are on the bay. The ocean even permeates the old cellars, which have become a spa and thalasso: the great blue expanse appears, in full sight, behind the large windows of the seawater pool and, more surprisingly, through the one-way glass of some spa cabins that look directly onto the beach and allow you to watch the world without being seen.

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Niceday#happytime 😎

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From 160 € per night, http://luzgrandhotel.fr/en/

This article was first published on Le Point

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