Hôtel du Palais Biarritz

Monday, 1 January 2024 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, House of the Month, Hotels
Reading Time:  6 minutes

© flickr.com - Dennis Jarvis/cc-by-sa-2.0

© flickr.com – Dennis Jarvis/cc-by-sa-2.0

The Hôtel du Palais Biarritz is a historic luxury hotel beside the Atlantic beach in the resort town of Biarritz, on the Côte Basque in the French department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques. It was originally built for the Empress Eugénie around 1855 as a summer villa. It was due to the visits of the imperial couple that the village of Biarritz developed into a fashionable resort. In 1880, the villa was sold and converted into a hotel casino. It was devastated by fire in 1903, but was lavishly rebuilt and enlarged within the original walls. For many years the hotel attracted the international elite, including members of the European royalty such as King Edward VII, who paid several extended visits. Although the hotel later fell into disrepair, and closed for a period in the 1950s, it has since been refurbished and is again a luxury hotel. The hotel is managed by Hyatt.

The building is set on the main beach of the town, which lies on the rugged coast of the Bay of Biscay at the foot of the Pyrenees. In 1854, the emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugénie bought several acres of dunes in Biarritz and gave the engineer Dagueret the task of establishing a summer home surrounded by gardens, woods, meadows, a pond and outbuildings. Napoleon III chose the location near Spain so his wife would not get homesick for her native country.

The hotel was badly damaged by fire in 1903 with only the imperial chapel unharmed. The fashionable architect Édouard Niermans was given the task of reconstruction. He preserved the exterior walls, which were tied into the reinforced concrete of the new structure. Niermans extended the south wing, added two stories, and a large bay holding a magnificent semi-circular restaurant looking over the sea. There were now three hundred rooms and apartments. The new walls were covered with brick, stone and slate. The hotel contained larger salons for entertaining by the royalty who frequented it, and a salle des fêtes in Second Empire style. The project was completed in 1905.

Beach, Casino and Hôtel du Palais © Harrieta171/cc-by-2.5 © Roberto Chamoso G/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Roberto Chamoso G/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Daniel VILLAFRUELA/cc-by-sa-4.0 © flickr.com - Dennis Jarvis/cc-by-sa-2.0 © Lilipiapia/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Beach, Casino and Hôtel du Palais © Harrieta171/cc-by-2.5
The hotel became a destination for the international elite, King Edward VII of the UK stayed at the hotel several times in the 1900s. He described his rooms as charming, and found that the sea air relieved his breathing difficulties, however he complained that Biarritz itself was smelly, and asked for something to be done about the drains. In April 1908, H. H. Asquith came to the hotel for the king to make him prime minister of the UK in succession to Henry Campbell-Bannerman, who was dying.

The hotel remained fashionable after World War I. Biarritz in the 1920s was known as “queen of resorts and resort of Kings”, and also attracted movie stars, gangsters and politicians. Alfred Savoir used the hotel as the setting for his comedy of high society Un Homme. After Spain became a republic in April 1931, many of the Spanish nobility moved to the hotel, near the border, to await the time when they could return.

After World War II, the Hôtel du Palais was forced to close for a period in the 1950s. It took a campaign by the mayor to obtain funding to refurbish and reopen the building, under the slogan “No Palace, No Millionaires”. Guests have included Coco Chanel, Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra. The façades and roofs of the hotel were listed as historical monuments on 24 December 1993. The hotel is now at the heart of the modern town of Biarritz, accessible from the lower end of the main shopping street through great wrought-iron gates that encircle the property.

As of 2012, the hotel had 124 rooms and 30 suites decorated in period style. The hotel includes excellent restaurants, a bar and a pool. The decor is still reminiscent of the hotel’s past as an aristocratic gathering place, and prices are high. The hotel is set among historic grounds, reached by a grand driveway. The hotel joined the Unbound Collection division of Hyatt in 2018.

Read more on Hôtel du Palais Biarritz and Wikipedia Hôtel du Palais. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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