TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON | PHOTOS © HÔTEL DE SILHOUETTE
The central, seaside hotel bringing history and relaxation to the bustle and heat of Biarritz.
In the heart of Biarritz, just 40 minutes’ drive from the Spanish border and two hours from Bordeaux, the Hôtel de Silhouette offers a tranquil oasis in the centre of this busy coastal town.
Housed in a 17th-century building, the heart of the hotel is the calm, leafy garden, which hosts a cocktail bar – the summertime favourite is the zesty classic, Aperol Spritz. Visitors can gather in the shade of the trees, as the south of France sun draws evening shadows on the grass.
“Our location is unique,” says general manager Sophie Zudaire. “We are in the middle of Biarritz, with all its activity, but here it is very calm.”
The hotel prides itself on its history and is named after an earlier owner, Étienne de Silhouette, finance minister for King Louis XV: and although the 21 bedrooms have been updated with modern, chic décor, there is still an air of its classically elegant charm throughout. This creative flair is key, and the hotel hosts regular exhibitions of local artists. “We change them every month,” explains Zudaire. “It adds to the boutique feel of our hotel, and also adds an interesting dynamic and inspiration for our guests.”
There is also a casual restaurant, open during the summer. A relaxed menu offers regional, seasonal options, and dishes are served outside, where live jazz is played by local musicians three nights a week. Likewise, there is a sizeable meeting and business area, which allows local businesses to hold seminars and workshops all year round.
While de Silhouette’s reign as finance minister may have been famously short-lived – indeed, the word ‘silhouette’ entered the French language as a nod to his ministry, which, like a shadow, lasted only a moment – this hotel’s peaceful appeal is without doubt far more enduring.