The Pays Basque, or French Basque Country, is hardly a secret. The French and Spanish have long known appeal of this little heart shaped piece of land nestled between the sea and the mountains. But it’s not on the radar of most Americans…yet. We’ve only recently had the pleasure of discovering it ourselves as we continue to get to know our region, the Nouvelle Aquitaine. An outdoor lovers’ dream, Pays Basque has everything from some of wildest and most beautiful beaches of Europe to stunning hiking trails. You don’t have to worry about indulging on some of the most delicious food in France; simply work it off surfing, hiking or white water rafting. Of course, you need to know where to stay in Biarritz and Pays Basque for your adventure, and we’ve rounded up our favorites.
From the ultra luxe to boutique and even budget, we’ve rounded up the best places to stay in Biarritz and Pays Basque. Use the navigation below to jump to our recommendations in Biarritz, Saint-Jean-de-Luz or the Pays Basque interior dotted with the most charming little Basque villages.
The Best Places to Stay in Biarritz
Biarritz was once renowned as the Monte Carlo of the Atlantic Coast. Royalty and the rich and famous summered here from the time Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie made Biarritz their summer hideaway up until WWII. These days the old world glamor hangs on with the former summer residence of Empress Eugénie an elegant luxury hotel. But the surfer vibe that caught on when American screen writer Peter Viertel caught a wave in 1957 mixes the luxe with laid back shabby chic, and these days Biarritz attracts all kinds. There’s a little something for everyone from some of the best golf courses to some of the best surfing swells in Europe.
Once the summer residence of Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie, the beach-front palace became the 5-star luxury Hôtel du Palais in 1893. It dominates the seaside with its perch on the Grand Plage and offers an old-world elegance that will make you feel like you’re Empress Eugénie herself.
It’s just a 10-minute stroll to Biarritz center, but the distance is far enough to put you away from the summer crowds. The beach is quite literally located in front of the hotel, though Hotel du Palais feels like its own little oasis in one of the most popular beach towns on France’s Atlantic Coast.
Many of the hotel’s rooms offer sea and pool views. The decor keeps with the Belle Époque style of the hotel with plush carpets and fabrics, artwork in gilded frames, and carefully chosen furniture while still managing to be light and welcoming. There’s also modern amenities like air conditioning and flat screen tvs.
Hôtel du Palais recently underwent a huge renovation and the outdoor areas are all new with a California-style outdoor swimming pool and pool bar, a solarium, and gardens. There’s also a second indoor swimming pool in the Guerlain spa annex. The spa, which can be booked whether you’re a guest of the hotel or not, is a must for a bit of relaxation during your trip to Biarritz.
There’s also two on-site restaurants open year-round and a third beachfront restaurant open in the summer months.
Hôtel du Palais includes complimentary wifi. The hotel has free parking available onsite for guests. Pets welcome for a fee.
Hotel de Silhouette is a charming family-run 4-star boutique hotel with just 20 rooms in the heart of Biarritz center just steps away from Les Halles covered market. It’s housed in one of the oldest buildings in Biarritz, but has had extensive renovations to give this hidden gem of a hotel a contemporary feel.
Each room has its own unique touches and several have balconies overlooking Hotel de Silhouette’s lovely garden. The rooms are also soundproofed, which is a nice touch since the bars and restaurants can get a bit rowdy in Biarritz center.
The hotel has a beautiful and spacious garden for guests to enjoy, which is like a little hideaway in the heart of Biarritz’s busiest district. Artists, both up and coming as well as established, exhibit their works throughout the hotel and in the garden making it a lovely spot to pop in to for a drink whether or not you’re a guest.
Hotel de Silhouette includes complimentary wifi. The hotel has parking available onsite for a fee of €15 per day. Pets are not allowed.
The 4-star Mercure Biarritz Centre Plaza sits just steps away from the Casino and the art deco building overlooks the Grand Plage. The location is excellent and just a short walk from both the beaches and the Quartier des Halles. It’s conveniently located to all of Biarritz’s attractions.
The hotel was entirely renovated in 2017 and the rooms are comfortable with air conditioning and modern amenities. The decor pays homage to the art deco building, which is a recognized historical monument for its architecture by Monuments de France. You’ll find restored antique furniture throughout the hotel, including in the guest rooms.
Mercure Biarritz Centre Plaza includes complimentary wifi. Private parking is available nearby the hotel for a fee of €20 per day. Pets welcome for a fee.
Escale Oceania Biarritz is located just a 5-minute walk from Hotel du Palais and the Grand Plage. The 3-star hotel is on a quiet street and the location is good for exploring Biarritz.
The hotel was last refurbished in 2012 and the room decor is a bit basic. It could use a fresh update, but the value for the location is excellent. The duplex rooms are spacious with a seating area and bathroom on the first level and the bedroom in a loft with one queen bed and an additional single bed. The duplex is also ideal for a small family since the sofa in the sitting room also opens in to a sofa bed.
The staff at Escale Oceania Biarritz are incredibly friendly and accommodating. We personally experienced this and a number of TripAdvisor reviews mention how various members of the staff went above and beyond.
The Best Places to Stay in Saint-Jean-de-Luz
Saint-Jean-de-Luz is a tiny fishing town just 18 kilometers south of Biarritz, and is famous as the place where one of the most important political marriages in history took place. The beach is sheltered from the more wild swells of Biarritz and the Bay of Biscay thanks to a break wall that Napoleon III ordered after his boat nearly sank, which makes the town a family favorite for beach getaways. There’s also fabulous foodie and shopping scenes here. Not to mention that the town couldn’t be more quaint with it’s traditional red and white Basque buildings dotting the bay.
Located just a short walk from the center of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Hôtel La Réserve sits on a cliff just above the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a 4-star hotel set in a Basque villa with lush gardens and a gorgeous infinity pool perfect for lounging around when the summer heat wave hits. It feels like a wonderfully private retreat away from the bustling center of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, but is easily connected via a 10-minute walk along a paved coastal pathway for easy access to the protected beach, shops and restaurants of the town.
The hotel itself has 41 rooms and suites inside the main building, plus residences that are like apartments with kitchens for guests that want to stay a bit longer than just a few days. All of the rooms and suites in the hotel and the apartments in the residence are decorated in the Basque style and each has its own unique touches. The residence had newly been renovated and there are apartments from studios to 3-bedroom apartments.
There’s three hectares of park with a British-style lawn, tennis courts, ping pong and a heated double infinity pool. The hotel also has an onsite spa with treatments exclusively designed in the Basque spirit. There’s also beach access from the hotel.
The gourmet onsite restaurant shouldn’t be missed with the chef’s innovative spin on traditional Basque cuisine.
The Best Places to Stay in Pays Basque
Head in to the interior for tiny villages that the famous wild Pottok ponies wander through. Here it’s beautiful rolling green hills of the pre-Pyrenees dotted with farms. Only 30 minutes drive to the beach towns like Biarritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the interior is a much quieter retreat away from the buzzing beaches.
l’Auberge Basque, Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle
Situated just 7 kilometers from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the family-run l’Auberge Basque is a boutique hotel set in a nearly 350-year old traditional Basque house. The house is set on a beautiful hillside with a beautiful view of the Rhune Mountain. It’s also a fabulous Michelin-star restaurant, which shouldn’t be missed when visiting Pays Basque.
The house might be historic, but the rooms have all been modernized in design and decor. Each room is unique and some have balconies or terraces with the view of Rhune Mountain. The 2-bedroom apartment is perfect for families. There’s air conditioning for hot summer days and a lovely outdoor terrace to lounge on. Even breakfast is personalized for each guest.
l’Auberge Basque includes complimentary wifi. The hotel has free private parking onsite for guests. Pets are welcome for a fee.
Hotel Arraya, Sare
Hotel Arraya sits on the main square in the charming Basque village, Sare. It’s close to La Rhune and a short drive from Espelette. Both Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz are only about a 30-minute drive.
It was once a traveler’s hostel on the Saint James Way and the three connected Basque houses were converted in to a boutique hotel in 1951. It’s been run by three generations of the same family since. There’s also a beautiful secret garden for guests.
The hotel has two junior suites called the prestige rooms, which we stayed in. The prestige rooms are spacious rooms and perfect for a family since there’s a small second bedroom located just off of the main bedroom. These rooms also have private balconies overlooking the secret garden, where we spotted two Pottok ponies in the pasture behind the hotel. Each room is uniquely decorated.
There’s also an onsite restaurant that has a reputation for being one of the best restaurants in the Pays Basque interior.
Hotel Arraya includes complimentary wifi. The hotel has free private parking nearby for guests. Pets are not allowed.
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