The Wordrobe

Hotel Review: La Réserve, Saint-Jean-de-Luz


Editor Sophie Ritchie heads to the clifftops of France to find out why La Réserve is perfect for a weekend spent ‘Basque’ing in the coastal sunshine


The Venue

A serene and scenic hideaway, La Réserve in France is a charmingly boutique coastal hotel set within seven-acres of flourishing gardens that overlook the Atlantic.

With just 41 graceful rooms, this petite property is perfect for those that prefer a little more privacy. Despite its tranquil atmosphere however, it’s a mere 10-minute stroll from the touristy bustle of Saint-Jean-de-Luz – whilst Biarritz is a 20-minute drive away.

As well as the views and the heated outdoor pool, people flock here for the food – this luxury bolthole comes complete with an elegant restaurant serving up sumptuous bites of the Basque Country.

The Room


For something spacious and self-catered, book a studio room to enjoy the best of both worlds. Aqua marine walls conjure immediate feelings of being by the sea – the light blue creating an airy, care-free feel that comes from strolling in the sand, wind whipping in your hair.

A long hallway filled with various doors leads to the bedroom itself – a large and welcoming abode painted in the same blue and white shades.

Colourful artwork with a matching nautical theme hangs on the walls – whilst there’s also a huge mirror, designed like a window that faces across from a little table and king-size bed. Huge doors overlook the grounds and nearby Atlantic ocean, bringing further light to the space.

Little details add to the airy ambience. A beautiful wooden chest-of-drawers with intricate handles is topped by a modern LG TV – perfect for late night movies after a day of coastal exploring.

Additional furnishings bring flamboyance to the space – a teeny little blue chair, colourful throws and turquoise cushions all create a relaxed, laid-back room.

The small but contemporary bathroom is kitted out with a shower and robe – although the shower gel/shampoo combo bottle isn’t always topped up properly (so pack your own to avoid unwanted frizz).

It’s the bright colours and fun decor that make La Réserve feel anything but reserved. Pretty tulips pop up across the garden, a landscaped spread of flowers, tropical plants and well-kept shrubbery.

Rooms also offer mini-terraces decked with white tables and chairs – and there’s also a sun-lounger that invites tanning sessions or simply a good place to get engrossed in a book.

Studios also come equipped with kitchens stocked with handy appliances, albeit most guests choose to dine in at the restaurant or head into a town for a taste of France’s impressive culinary action.


The Food


Head to the Ilura Restaurant, the lounge bar or Elaïa Lounge for a bite of the Basque Country. A friendly team of staff create a welcoming dining atmosphere whether you’re unbuttoning your jeans for a four-course feast or simple swilling cocktails.

Perfect for an authentic taste of the region, chef Pierre Boffo serves up a variety of tempting dishes at Ilura Restaurant.

Think sea bream carpaccio, line-caught hake and a melt-in-the-mouth Galician beef fillet. Save room for dessert – the gorgeous creations are not only presented beautifully, but divinely nectarous.

Breakfast is served continental style with very French and very sweet options. If you like pastries, there’s enough to gorge for hours. Boiled eggs, fruit and a mix of cereals are also available for those that prefer a non-sugary start to the day.


What to do


Pay a visit to the Basque Tourism Office 
From the best wineries to all the provincial must-sees, plan your Basque Country adventures with a pitstop at the local tourism office, located in the heart of Saint-Jean-de-Luz. tourism.euskadi.eus.

Seek an outdoor adventure
1
Coastal paths, beach strolls, cliff top walks and small roads galore – the Basque Country is a hiker’s dream, with impressive views up and down the coast from Biarritz to Spain.
2 Find your fins with the area’s abundance of water sport activities – surfing, sea kayaking, standup paddle and more awaits. Biarritz might be France’s surfing mecca, but you’re bound to avoid the crowds by taking on the waves in Saint-Jean-de-Luz instead.

Partake in pampering
Looking for some self-indulgence? Book a bespoke treatment by French brand Esthederm in the ‘Patio’, La Réserve’s on-site beauty centre. From prolonging a tan to regenerative facials, there’s plenty to try for a spot of signature rejuvenation.


The Wordrobe Verdict


With an airy yet elegant atmosphere, La Réserve is perfect for a weekend spent ‘Basque’ing in the coastal sunshine. With its dramatic clifftop location and fine dining charms, this stylish hotel is bound to whet a bon vivant’s appetite.

Start the adventure
Where: Pointe, 1 Rue Gaëtan de Bernoville, 64500 Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France
Wallet: Rooms from £116 per night, based on two people sharing.
How: Please phone +33 5 59 51 32 00 or click here to make a reservation.