|Project Name||Regina Experimental Biarritz||Posted in||Hotels, Design, Interior Design||Location||
52 Avenue de l'Impératrice
|Telephone||+33 (0)5 59 41 33 00||[email protected]||Rooms||72|
Once a coastal haven for royalty, today, Biarritz is a surfer’s paradise offering sandy beaches and rolling waves in addition to heritage-listed architecture. Design-led hospitality brand Experimental Group has tapped into Biarritz’s Belle Époque charm and playful contrasts with the opening of Regina Experimental Biarritz, a five-star hotel housed in a historic property overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Prominently located atop a cliff, the century-old Neo-Basque landmark has been boldly renovated by the Group’s interior designer Dorothée Meilichzon who artfully reimagined the building’s Art Deco heritage through a lens of Postmodernist playfulness and coastal allure. Featuring a creative brasserie rooted in the beautiful Basque’s culinary culture, a vast orangery and a spa with an outdoor swimming pool, the 72-room hotel takes full advantage of the panoramic views of the sea, the Biarritz lighthouse and the Basque coast to celebrate the art of seaside living with gusto.
An emblematic example of Belle Epoque architecture on the Basque coast, the Regina Hotel & Spa, as the property was originally named, was built in 1907 by architect and landscape designer Henry Martinet in the Neo-Basque style with plenty of Art Deco touches animating the interiors, most impressively in the monumental 15-metre-high atrium. Topped with a glass roof designed in the style of the Eiffel Tower, the grand, light-filled space is where the hotel’s heart beats, now serving as a foyer and bar.
Thoughtfully configured by Meilichzon into numerous intimate sitting areas, the expansive space is populated with voluptuous sofas inspired by the Itsasoan footbridge that architect Henri Godbarge built in the 1920s in Guéthary, a charming village a few kilometres away. The sofas are swathed in brick-red, dark green and Prussian blue hues, a nod to the typical colour palette of the Neo-Basque architecture style. Low-hanging paper lanterns by Ingo Maurer and Anthony Dickens, and straw totems provide a more human sense of scale, while natural materials like sandstone, ceramics, and natural fibres complement the space’s Art Deco glamour with a vernacular charm. Serving a selection of classics and signature Experimental cocktails accompanied by live piano music and DJ sets, the long bar counter at the back of the space pays homage to modernist architect Eileen Gray.
The foyer’s Neo-Basque-inspired colour palette continues in the corridors that wrap around the atrium as well as inside the 72 rooms and suites where they are softened by pastels like mint, teal and latte. With views of either the ocean or the iconic Biarritz golf course, the rooms are designed to evoke 1920s ocean liners mixing curved forms with long horizontal lines and marine stripes. Straw and Japanese rope, plaster seashells, and carpets with aquatic motifs further underscore the marine theme.
The hotel’s restaurant is home to Frenchie Biarritz, a creative brasserie where Chef Gregory Marchand takes inspiration from local cuisine and the richness of Basque products. His third collaboration with the Experimental Group after Frenchie Pigalle at Grand Pigalle Hotel in Paris and Frenchie Verbier at the Experimental Chalet in Verbier, Marchard has combined his bistronomic ethos and fusion cuisine with the region’s culinary traditions and delicacies. Centred on a large, light-filled dining room, the restaurant’s biggest asset is undoubtedly the ocean-front terrace. Playfully furnished with lacquered red tables and chairs and sky-blue banquette seating, the terrace makes the most of the scenic location offering guests glorious lunch dates and memorable sunset dinners.