You really don’t need an excuse for a family holiday on the Basque Coast, but if you did, La Réserve in Saint-Jean-de-Luz would be just about perfect. Not only is it one of the region’s loveliest hotels, with a spectacular clifftop location overlooking the Atlantic, it’s also a winner for family holidays.
Despite the fact that it’s an impressive Basque-style villa, four-star La Réserve has cleverly managed to feel more like an opulent private home than a hotel. So it’s no surprise to find exactly the same atmosphere of warmth and easy elegance reflected in La Résidence: the recently refurbished collection of studios and apartments designed to give families their own space alongside all the advantages of luxurious La Réserve.
Creativity clearly wasn’t in short supply when it came to planning and decorating these lovely holiday appartments. Everything from fully-equipped kitchens to family bathrooms and separate shower rooms has been thought of, and the largest apartment sleeps up to six, which is a breath of fresh air for bigger families used to the expense of multiple hotel rooms. Hand chosen furniture, original artwork and elegant bed linen gives a delightfully individual character to each home. Each studio also has either a private balcony or terrace to enjoy views of the gardens or for fresh sea views.
Not content with redesigning La Résidence, La Réserve itself has added a few fresh features for summer 2018.
Of course, some things were just too good to change, like the superb Ilura Restaurant, where fantastic Basque produce is interpreted with innovative style by head chef, Fabrice Idiart. Le Patio Beauty & Wellness Centre is as soothing and indulgent as ever, and naturally, guests are free to enjoy the extensive, landscaped grounds and enormous lawns all round La Réserve.
Or if you prefer a more energetic alternative to idle wandering, the hotel also has a full size tennis court, and fun-size table tennis.
The pretty harbour town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz is only a 15 minutes walk from La Réserve, although you might want to factor in a bit more time, since the coastline views pretty much insist you keep the pace slow and stop regularly for awe-struck staring.
Apart from its charming waterfront, historic churches, cute cobbled streets and intriguing shops, Saint-Jean-de-Luz is famous for sitting in a rare, sheltered nook on the Bay of Biscay: the only one between Arcachon and Spain, in fact. So if you want big, sandy beaches and the Atlantic on its best behaviour, this is where to find both.
Biarritz is a 15 minute drive from Saint-Jean-de-Luz and another iconic seaside city with spectacular beaches, delicious seafood restaurants, and one of the most glamorous promenades you’ll ever have strolled along. Surf’s generally up somewhere in Biarritz and the schools are excellent for beginners.
Where: La Réserve Hotel, Pointe Sainte Barbe, Saint-Jean-de Luz, France
How to get here: Direct UK flights to Biarritz take two hours. La Réserve is 15 minutes drive west of Biarritz.
Prices: La Résidence Family Studio Apartment, sleeps four, from £200 per night. La Residence Family Apartment, sleeps four, from £253 per night. La Réserve Family Room, sleeps four, from £243 per night.