Facing the Atlantic Ocean, resting right on the beach of Saint Jean de Luz Bay, Grand Hotel Thalasso and Spa is like an elegant strand of pearls waiting to be taken out on the town. The front of the hotel, with its Belle Epoque architecture, rises several stories into the sky. Bellman wait to greet you upon arrival and whisk your baggage to one of 52 rooms on property. Our visit took place in January, but if you really want to experience this luxury hotel in all its grandeur, make your reservations in the spring or summertime.
The lobby is, indeed, grand, with its striking burgundy staircase, flanked by a black and white railing and white marble columns. Several ornate chandeliers hang from the ceiling and classically French paintings adorn the walls. I was aware that I was in for a five star experience as soon as I signed my name in the guest register. We were shown to our junior suite, with a view of Saint Jean de Luz Bay. No guests were lounging on the beach during our time in Basque country, but we did find people strolling the walkways and enjoying the Atlantic Ocean views.
My husband smiled when he spied the Nespresso coffee maker in our room, but my eyes immediately noticed the fresh flowers and French champagne waiting for us. Our junior suite, located on the third floor, would be ideal for a family of four if two young children slept on the sofa bed. Otherwise, the room seemed a bit cramped to accommodate this rather large piece of furniture. But again, the room is designed to be family-friendly because there are two bathrooms, making life easy for early morning risers or when personal space is an issue. No one will complain when they see that one bathroom offers a shower, while the second bathroom, closest to the bed, features a bath tub. Of course, fluffy white cotton robes and soft slippers are included with your stay – great for wearing to the Seawater Spa or down to the beach.
Speaking of the spa, this is a must-do requirement when you stay in Saint Jean de Luz. As this was our first time visiting this part of Southern France, in the Nouvelle-Aquitiane region, I was not aware how seriously the French take their thalassothérapie spa treatments. The Loreamar Thalasso & Spa center uses seawater from the Atlantic Ocean in many of their treatments. From soaking in the indoor saltwater pool to multi-day detox and marine wellness cures, seawater plays an essential role in treatments. I enjoyed a hot stone massage, ideal for this January visit. Had I been visiting the Grand Hotel in the summer months, I could have opened the exterior door directly onto the beach and taken a plunge in the ocean and then returned to another spa treatment.
Yet another option at the hotel is a five day health and sleep body slimming cure or a three day de-stress cure. Combined with the healthy eating menu at L’Ocean restaurant, I could actually lose weight on vacation – what a concept! However, I opted for lobster in poached butter, filet of lamb and a chocolate truffle emulsion with spheres of dark chocolate and black truffle vanilla ice cream for dessert. Not the most healthy items on Chef Christophe Grosjean’s one Michelin star menu, but it was a dinner full of flavor and sophistication. One that I would gladly repeat anytime!
Breakfast is yet another treat, served seaside with an ocean view looking out to the water, or, on warmer days, guests may eat out on the deck. Hot breakfast items are available for an additional fee, 29 € per person on our visit.
Rates start at €172.80, for a classic city view room, not including breakfast, depending on availability and time of year. As always, check the website for current pricing. The hotel is pet-friendly for an additional fee. Additional fee for underground hotel parking. Make your reservation online at the hotel website or go through an OTA such as Expedia.
Hotel review and all photography by San Francisco-based Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Grand Hotel Thalasso and Spa, however, all opinions are my own. For more information on holidays in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of South West France.