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Regina Experimental, Biarritz

Overlooking the crashing surf of Biarritz, Experimental Regina is the traditional seaside hotel, reimagined.

The Grand Dame of Biarritz

Known for popping up in all the cool spots, Experimental is a French hotel group synonymous with stylish interiors, great food and cocktails, and an in-the-know clubhouse vibe.

Already established in Menorca, Ibiza, Paris and Venice among other destinations, Biarritz in southwest France is now home to its second Experimental hotel, an eye-catching and  grand dame hotel, the Regina.

The Lowdown

  • Who For:

    Couples who like to surf and appreciate great cocktails plus active families who enjoy good design and a stylish place to stay

  • How To Get There:

    There are direct flights from London to Biarritz, otherwise Bordeaux and Bilbao are within a two-hour drive.

  • Combine With:

    Biarritz to San Sebastian in northern Spain is an easy one-hour drive and makes for a perfect foodie and surf pairing; you could even continue on to arty Bilboa.

Housed in a glorious Belle-Epoque-era building on a cliffside, the hotel has been immaculately restored, emphasising its heritage features and classic 20th-century seaside architecture, overlaid with a characterful and stylish interior design. A soaring glass and metal atrium greets you on arrival, creating that wow-factor entry and everywhere you look are pockets of design: striped fabrics, maritime influence and nods to Art Deco. The bar, shaped to emulate an ocean liner, is the place to sip Experimental’s notorious cocktails; the hotel’s restaurant Frenchie serves Basque-inspired food, and the outdoor pool has more than a little of the Slim Aarons ambience about it.

Despite the arrival of this on-trend hotel, Biarritz itself has already has its own potent style, remaining resolutely low-key and authentic, with its promenade straddling the thrashing Atlantic Ocean on one side and fantastic French seafood restaurants lining the other.

The equally strong influence on the area is the pervading surf lifestyle – waves here are consistently good year-round, so Biarritz never has a down-at-heel off season like some French Riviera towns and surf culture keeps the atmosphere vibrant and thriving. And now with statement hotel Experimental Regina on the scene, Biarritz is the place to be.