When seeking the ideal hotel for a short break or holiday, certain components must align perfectly to earn my highest seal of approval. During a recent three-night stay in Biarritz, I discovered what I believe to be the epitome of a luxury boutique city hotel. Allow me to introduce you to the 4-star Hotel De Silhouette in Biarritz, France.
This haven of understated luxury, tradition, and tranquillity offers modern comforts seamlessly blended with historic charm, and complemented by a central location and an impeccable first-class service.
Let’s discover more about the charm of this hidden treasure nestled in the picturesque corner of South West Basque France;
Direct flights from the UK to Aeroport Biarritz Pays Basque are few and far between so as alternatives, there are flights to Bordeaux, Bilbao or even San Sebastian. Any of those destinations would make for a lovely multi-centre holiday with Biarritz. Hiring a car is simple from the airport and the Hotel de Silhouette has a car park so it’s all pretty straightforward.
If you don’t fancy a self-drive then the local bus services are frequent and cost-effective. I travelled to Biarritz by bus from Bilbao (2 hours) via San Sebastian and was dropped off at Biarritz Airport. From there I took a short 20-minute taxi transfer costing 20 euros to the hotel.
Biarritz also boasts a well-connected railway station, making it convenient for European train adventurers to visit.
History of the Hotel De Silhouette
The origins of Hotel de Silhouette trace back to around 1600, making it one of Biarritz’s oldest establishments. Legend has it that in the mid-18th century, French finance minister Etienne de Silhouette introduced unpopular taxes targeting the wealthy, and from that day forward he was not the most popular of characters – with a name like Silhouette, some may even say he was a little shady!
The hotel, formerly Silhouette’s residence in Biarritz, still proudly displays his Coat of Arms engraved on the main entrance, embodying a piece of a rather intriguing and mysterious history.
At First Glance
As the taxi slowed on the approach to the hotel we passed patisseries, art studios, brasseries, cafes, and fashion stores. This is the trendy Quartier Des Halles and is a great place to be based – although maybe not for my waistline! We drove through the imposing iron gates and onto the cobblestone drive of the Hotel de Silhouette and immediately a gentleman emerged from the glass doors to assist with my luggage.
I felt at home as soon as I stepped inside the softly lit, modern, chic reception which was beautifully and elegantly decorated in tobacco browns, and burnt reds. A well-used hotel comments book had seen many a glowing recommendation, while incense sticks smouldered, and easy-listening music added to a feeling of calm and tranquillity.
With some brief administration formalities complete, I was soon in the lift to the first of just two floors, where I was to excitedly walk to the end of the corridor past stylish artworks and paintings. I felt at home!
Rooms & Views
The hotel has just 21 rooms in total. There are seven standard rooms overlooking the city, and there are five deluxe rooms with views of the garden and ocean beyond. Seven rooms are superior while two junior suites cater for larger groups or families. The hotel is also able to cater for those with any special mobility needs.
I was delighted to be staying in a Superior room during my stay. This spacious corner room overlooked the garden area and had a little balcony with seating and another French balcony. Facilities included a very comfortable bed, a flat-screen TV, air-conditioning, coffee machine, kettle, telephone, safe and minibar. A rather cool stylish radio, which I know tends to be a little old-fashioned these days, added a little, how do I put it, “je ne sais quoi”, well I am in France after all! The bathroom was superb with twin basins, a shower, a bath, his and hers robes and toiletries from Ortigia, Sicily. There was a separate toilet.
These days another test of a hotel is the WI-FI and the Hotel De Silhouette passed with flying colours, as throughout there is a strong signal ideal for hooking up your phone or for business.
Bar & Restaurant
The Grand Salon or restaurant and adjoining bar are very special. Beautifully appointed throughout, the walls are decorated in that same burnt orange and tobacco brown colour scheme, while art adorns the walls from a range of local contemporary artists. As someone who has been in the travel industry for more years than I care to mention the travel theme was particularly welcome.
I was up early every day keen to head out into the city. Breakfast is served from 7:30 am and is in tune with the rest of the hotel. The restaurant provides a calm space with background music and attentive but not overpowering staff who are on hand to serve coffee and teas leaving you to choose from a lovely buffet selection of fresh bread, pastries, jams, cereals, yoghurts, fruits and juices.
Lunch is served every day while in the summer months of July and August, you can enjoy Jazz in the garden while enjoying fresh seasonal regional produce on the sunlit terrace. Dishes include salads and steak and you can even pre-order seafood from Les Halles de Biarritz, the fabulous covered market across the road from the hotel.
The hotel bar is a show-stopper. Pull up a comfortable bar stool and study the excellent wine list, as well as a selection of cocktails, beers and spirits. Having studied the list, you can savour your drink in the most stylish and cool hotel bars.
Hotel De Silhouette Gardens
I visited out of season so I needed a little imagination to visualise those Summer nights relaxing with a cocktail whilst listening to a spot of Jazz.
The main terrace is the heartbeat of the garden however there is plenty of seating dotted around should you like to be alone with your thoughts while relaxing under an ancient tree.
Meetings & Events
The Hotel has a 55m² meeting room that is ideal for gatherings of up to 50 people. The room comes with state-of-the-art technology in terms of the sound system, a video projector, Bluetooth connection, and Wi-Fi plus staff are on hand to supply refreshments and snacks as and when required.
This would be a great little hotel for a small conference given its service, comfort and location right in the heart of the city, not to mention just a short flight from the UK.
There is no boutique as such, but there is a small display cabinet in reception where you can purchase a few gifts from your stay such as branded bags, perfumes, key fobs, towels, and scents.
I took a shine for the unusual but very clever coffee mugs that sit within a cork base. There will be no more coffee marks on my table as I decided to purchase a couple of them for my morning brew, where I can dream of being on that terrace with my face in the morning sun.
Sport & Activities
While there is no swimming pool this is a hotel that frankly does not need one! Just 300 metres away and a 5-minute walk are the legendary beaches of the Côte de Basque and La Grande Plage where you can swim, surf, and sunbathe to your heart’s content!
Also down on the beaches, the hotel can direct you to a range of activities including yoga, surfing lessons, sailing and diving.
If you are a golfer then one of the top courses in France is located up near the lighthouse (Le Phare de Biarritz) at the northern end of the city. The Golf De Biarritz Le Phare is a prestigious and challenging course, with adult prices starting from 78 euros for 18 holes.
The French also love their tennis and there are public courts available plus if you are a spectator then the city is home to the Biarritz Tennis Club which hosts professional tennis competitions.
Cyclists can discover the Basque coast by e-bike and again the hotel can advise the best rental companies in the vicinity.
Another popular sport in this part of France is Rugby with the local side Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque, a professional side in the top division of French Rugby.
In The Vicinity
I have written a separate blog about Biarritz featuring some of the top attractions and things to do in the city plus highlighted some of the villages, towns, and cities in both the French and Spanish Basque Country.
Perhaps the most popular cities within two hours are Bordeaux, San Sebastian and Bilbao while closer to home are some delightful French towns or villages including Guéthary, Ainhoa, Espelette, Saint Jean Pied de Port and Bayonne.
Whatever your plans rest assured the elegant Hotel de Silhouette is ideally positioned to discover every corner of the town and with a car you are in a great location to explore!
Final Thoughts – Hotel de Silhouette
My stay in Biarritz exceeded all expectations. The three nights at the charming Hotel De Silhouette were the epitome of perfection, from its understated elegance to impeccable service, delightful restaurant, cosy rooms, enchanting gardens, and ideal location.
Choosing the Hotel de Silhouette in Biarritz guarantees satisfaction—it exudes class effortlessly, thus mirroring the city’s sophisticated charm.
I have stayed in many hotels all over the world – the little Hotel De Silhouette delivered exactly what I would look for in a city break or holiday hotel, nothing but good memories!
To book visit the Hotel De Silhouette website or contact your local travel agent or specialist tour operator. For further information you can also contact the Office de Tourisme de Biarritz.
Hotel De Silhouette
30, rue Gambetta 64200
Telephone (+33) 05 59 24 93 82