London - What’s a grand hotel without a majestic pavilion? The Independent lists five of the top hotels with pavilions made for opulence.
The Ritz, Paris
One of the world's most legendary hotels reopened its doors in June following an eye-wateringly expensive renovation - the biggest since it first opened in 1898.
The Ritz can no longer be accused of lagging in the style stakes behind the glut of new luxury arrivals in the French capital. A superior yet sympathetic vision of its former self, the hotel's reborn interior glistens with crystal chandeliers and gilt. The 142 guest rooms and suites are a veritable box of macaron-inspired hues, redolent in a refined Empire style and named after some of its illustrious former guests including Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway. There is also a new Chanel spa, a pretty, internal Jardin Français and celebrated bartender, Colin Field, is back behind the Hemingway Bar.
The Ritz Paris, 15 Place Vendôme, Paris 75001 (00 33 1 43 16 30 30; ritzparis.com). Doubles from €1 000 (about R16 000) per night, room only.
Sofitel Quiberon Thalassa Sea & Spa, Brittany
The French have long taken the health-giving mineral-rich waters of the Atlantic ocean in high regard. In the 1960s, champion French cyclist, Louison Bobet, established a thalassotherapy centre in Quiberon that now forms part of the Sofitel hotel. One of the most respected places to take the waters, it has a vast range of therapies, pools and short and longer programmes overseen by medically trained staff.
Sofitel Quiberon Thalassa Sea & Spa, Boulevard Louison Bobet, Quiberon, Brittany (00 33 2 97 50 20 00; sofitel.com). Doubles from €135 per night, room only.
Hôtel du Palais, Biarritz
With its elegant architecture, bordered by a broad, sandy beach and crashing Atlantic waves, Biarritz is one of France's quintessential beach retreats. Built in 1855 as a seaside escape for the wife of Napoleon III - the Spanish born, Eugénie - the Hôtel du Palais quickly put this seaside town on the map and it became one of the most fashionable places to summer in France. It''s now one of France's 16 designated “palace” hotels, its rooms and suites done in classic French style, many with views of the ocean.
Hôtel du Palais, 1 avenue de l'Impératrice, Biarritz, Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes (00 33 5 59 41 64 00; hotel-du-palais.com). Doubles from €340 per night, room only.
La Colombe d'Or, Provence
The owners of La Colombe d'Or, which opened as a café bar in the 1920s, struck a unique deal with many of the renowned artists that used to frequent it. Unable to settle their bills, masters including Picasso and Matisse would pay for their meals with their work. This unique legacy has resulted in an unrivalled art collection with works by some of the art world's biggest names scattered among its 25 rooms and suites, restaurant, bar and picturesque gardens.
La Colombe d'Or, Place du Gaulle, St-Paul-de-Vence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d''Azur (00 33 4 93 32 80 02; lacolombe-dor.com). Doubles from €250 per night, b&b.
Château de Bagnols Hotel and Spa, Beaujolais
Built in the 13th century by the Lords of Oingt, the Château de Bagnols is an imposing affair with its own moat, a sprawling park and sweeping views of the Beaujolais countryside. Restored in the 1980s by Paul and Lady Hamlyn, more recently the 27-suite hotel has been taken over by a local, French hotelier. Suites in the main castle retain their weighty history with terracotta floors and wall murals dating from the 12th to 17th centuries with more suites set in the sensitively converted outbuildings. Six new suites have been imaginatively carved out of the château's ancient cellars and have a more contemporary tilt. There's also a new spa, indoor and outdoor pools and the riches of wine country to explore on its doorstep.
Château des Bagnols Hotel & Spa, Bagnols, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (00 33 4 74 71 40 00; chateaudebagnols.fr). Doubles from €200 room only.