Les Hortensias: Lady of the Lake

Les Hortensias du Lac – an emblematic hotel in Hossegor in France’s coastal Landes département, has been completely renovated and just reopened, now exuding even more human, down-to-earth warmth and wonder.

Les Hortensias: Lady of the Lake

Les Hortensias du Lac – an emblematic hotel in Hossegor in France’s coastal Landes département, has been completely renovated and just reopened, now exuding even more human, down-to-earth warmth and wonder.

She’s a smartly turned-out grand dame, in stately retreat from the shore, sheltered from the wind and the hubbub of the world. At her feet, the marine lake, a modest beach; around her, the pines. The setting is timeless, or nearly so – it could be the Hamptons, or some other fashionable site where one has time to breathe, reflect, admire natural surroundings that are never quite the same, yet always dependably familiar. And, in fact, it is indeed the Hamptons – that peninsula northeast of New York, the coveted vacation destination frequented by the East Coast establishment – that are echoed in the rooms: white wood, balconies and terraces that let you make the most of the lake view. But this lady lives on a different coast, having landed in the Landes almost a century ago. The architectural style of Les Hortensias is her very own: basco-landais in all its splendor, the very aesthetic that brought Hossegor such renown.
 


Unsending serenity 


The hotel is, in fact, an essential element in the history of this seaside resort. It first opened in the 1930s and witnessed – and contributed to – the area’s expansion, particularly the upsurge in surfing, its emblematic sport. Aptly, this hobby of Hawaiian kings is given winks and nods within her walls in discreet, tasteful, but unmistakable touches. It even shaped the schedule and spirit of her renovation, which lasted eight months, ensuring the hotel reopened at the start of the summer season. It was, in many ways, a renaissance brought about by Frédéric Biousse and Guillaume Foucher, owners of the Les Domaines de Fontenille collection*. They took over Les Hortensias, eager to restore the property to her former glory, and placed their trust in their manager, Arnaud Séhébiade. The luxury surf lodge is at once chic and casual, with an Art Deco bent, an iconic style gracefully incorporated in the property’s heated pool, hovering, seemingly weightless, over the lake, and a 450-square-meter spa. A place to relax after some energizing leisure, like surfing, paddleboarding, windsurfing, woodland walks, beach runs. Les Hortensias is paradise for those who love to be both physical and peaceful.
 


Simplicity and freshness


A 50-seat restaurant completes the picture-postcard experience: Chef Philippe Moreno is at the helm, trained by three-Michelin-star Gérald Passedat, and local ingredients define his dishes, with special emphasis on seafood. The dining room is entirely glass-enclosed, with a splendid view of the lake and a terrace for soaking up the sun. It echoes the philosophy found throughout the premises; simplicity, freshness, authenticity. Because what truly matters is to be found in the waters lapping at the feet of the white lady, in the pines and ocean whispering around her, the lovely surrounding nature that this dignified dame renders comelier still. You come to enjoy yourself, spend time with family or friends, experience the present moment while lulled by the ambiance of an establishment stretched serenely, languidly, on the lakeshore.
 

* Les Domaines de Fontenille is a group of four hotels in Marseille, the Luberon, Menorca, and Hossegor, all Relais & Châteaux members and emblematic of their respective settings.

Photos: © Magali Maricot

 

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