Biarritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz are lively beach towns in France’s Basque Country with old ports, distinctive architecture, and striking hotels with storied pasts. Take a look at the top historic hotels on France’s Basque coast.

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1

Hotel du Palais

Biarritz, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Overlooking the Grand Plage beach and Bay of Biscay, the elegant, 153-room Hotel du Palais is an oceanfront luxury hotel with rich history. The red-brick palace was built in 1855 for Napoleon III's wife, Empress Eugenie, and today, the hotel remains filled with richly detailed Second Empire interiors. Gilt-wood upholstered chairs, chandeliers, marble floors, and fine rugs combine to create a look that is refined without being stuffy or overdone. The excellent amenities include seasonal outdoor and indoor atrium swimming pools, plus a fitness center, Guerlain spa with sauna and steam room, and Michelin-starred restaurant. Notable guests throughout the years include King Edward VII, Winston Churchill, Coco Chanel, Ernest Hemingway, and Frank Sinatra. 

2

Grand Hôtel Thalasso & Spa

Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

A handsome Belle Epoque building from the early 1900s is the home for this beachfront luxury hotel. The hotel underwent an extensive refurbishment in 2015, but its period charm remains: grand Art Deco architectural features are now paired with chic, modern furnishings. Marble columns and floors, wood wainscoting, coffered ceilings, and chandelier lights are common features, while furnishings include velvety button-tufted sofas and tub chairs in rich purple and bright pink. But the finishing touch here is the location directly along the beach, providing views from every vantage point from the bedroom windows to the terrace and spa. This luxury spot is designed for leisure travelers, and while it attracts its share of couples, families are more than welcome here, too. 

3

Le Regina Biarritz Hotel & Spa – MGallery Collection

Biarritz, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Housed in an elegant 1907 Belle Epoque building, Le Regina Biarritz Hotel & Spa is situated in a quiet residential area away from the central Biarritz hubbub, and overlooking the bay and Phare lighthouse. The hotel has a fashionable, intentionally vintage vibe, and features a soaring atrium lobby and Art Deco-inspired rooms and public spaces. Features include an outdoor pool, small on-site spa, steam room, and Mediterranean restaurant with a Michelin-starred chef. The 65 rooms and suites have an upscale contemporary look with Art Deco embellishments and a camellia motif inspired by Coco Chanel. All come with minibars, Nespresso machines, electric kettles, free Wi-Fi, and 40-inch flat-screen TVs.