800 metres from the beach at Arcachon, the Hôtel Ville d'Hiver is located in a leafy residential area (of the same name, nothing to do with cold winters). The hotel's main building was constructed in 1883 by the Compagnie Général des Eaux to treat and transport the water of the local Cazaux Lake to the town. The giant pieces of machinery have all but gone but the space is now occupied by a grand reception and smart restaurant. The building still maintains its character (something in between an Italian villa and the mosque in Cordoba) from that period and there is very much a sense of history sitting happily alongside modernity with a nod to well-thought-out design.
The hotel offers a small spa with treatment rooms and a hammam. The swimming pool has been sliced out of the original underground water reservoir and still retains many of its features, including the funnel-shaped Victorian water pipes. Guests can enjoy numerous outdoor activities and water sports nearby and the hotel operates its own beach club.
The rooms are distinctly modern, casting a design net far and wide which takes in not only bespoke products made by craftsmen in nearby Bordeaux but also Denmark and Sweden. Room facilities include a king size bed, flat screen TV, air conditioning, a bathand and a large balcony with a rocking-chair and blanket - a vital accessory for nights spent looking up at the starry sky.
The hotel’s bistro styled restaurant is very well known in the area and offers a selection of regional and seasonal dishes. A pre or post dinner drink can be enjoyed by the fire in the hotel bar or on the terrace.
Open year round.
• 12 rooms
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