A former 19th century factory transformed into a hotel and restaurant
on the heights of Arcachon
Arcachon, Gironde Aquitaine FR

Property owners’ take the floor

Why did you settle in this region, in this place and not elsewhere ?

In the 1990s my husband, Oliver, managed two very successful restaurants in Cap Ferret before leaving them in 1998. Originally from the Perigord region, I was working as a lawyer in Bordeaux when I decided to quit my job and open a charming hotel with him in Sarlat-la-Canéda. After three years there, we sold it and moved to the Bay of Arcachon where my husband is from. When we presented our construction project to the municipality in 2004, the Mayor proposed an ideally located plot of land in the heart of the "Ville d'Hiver", on the heights of Arcachon with a building almost in ruin. We immediately saw its potential, captivated by the charm and character of this former factory's beautiful facade.

What can you offer people staying with you ?

Our hotel is located on the heights of Arcachon, in a protected area away from the hustle and bustle in the summer. Regulars come to our restaurant for the delicious food, attentive service and warm atmosphere. In our beauty salon we use organic and high quality German products from Dr. Hauschka. We regularly welcome artists and writers in residence and exhibit their work. We also organise many cultural events.

What specific architectural features does your building have ?

It is a former water-lifting factory that dates back to 1884. The facade underlined with red-brick echoes the industrial architecture of the 19th century. The swimming pool is installed in the factory's old reservoir which has retained some authentic details from its working days. We have also kept part of the factory's motor wheel and displayed it in reception as a reminder of the house's industrial past.

Places you would personally recommend

Close to our hotel is the historic district of Ville d'Hiver with Napoleon III-style seaside villas. A walk along the Pyla dune to glimpse the stunning view is not to be missed. If you cross the bay (which is very easy by water taxi) try exploring by bike, you can quickly reach the wild ocean beaches and enjoy oysters at one of the authentic oyster huts. "Chez Hortense", a restaurant at the tip of Cap Ferret, has become something of an institution - it has been run by the same family for four generations. I also like the relaxed atmosphere of "44", a Cap Ferret meeting point for the Bordeaux bobos. When dining in Arcachon, my favourite place is the Pereire Beach Club where you can enjoy the sunset and beach into the night. I would also recommend "Au délice glacier" in the popular neighbourhood of Moulleau, it is the best ice cream parlour in the area. Also in this neighbourhood is "Pia Pia", a pretty boutique for women, and the famous Librairie Générale d'Arcachon, a place of culture and meetings.

What is its history ?

This factory helped to develop tourism in the city of Arcachon. The water arrived from Lake Cazaux by sixteen kilometers of pipeline and was stored in two tanks. It was open for a century before a fire ravaged it in 1990, the building was quickly abandoned and used by squatters.

Our opinion

With a subtle blend of industrial architecture and the seaside atmosphere of the Belle Époque, the "Ville d'Hiver" hotel and restaurant is a perfect fit for the Arcachon landscape. It peacefully watches over the region whilst remaining close to the centre and the beaches of Bassin. Once a holiday resort frequented by the likes of Toulouse-Lautrec and Cocteau, it is now tucked away beneath the pines and opens its doors to artists and writers in residence. Those who love the beach need not worry about cars as they can stroll down to the bay in true Belle Époque style. A large Bartherotte beach hut is open on Péreire beach from April onwards. Carefree days drift into animated evenings as the regulars arrive at the gourmet restaurant.

Prices

between 140 € and 250 € / night

Breakfast is not included in the price

Réf 481480

Open from 1st January to 31st December

Accommodation capacity

36 18 18

The Villa d'Hiver hotel has eighteen rooms. Twelve of them are spread across three buildings and levels according to three price categories. Each room comes with a bath. In the Lilas Blanc annex, a small early 20th century building located sixty metres from the main building, we have created six blue rooms. They are all equipped with showers and spread over three levels and divided into three price categories. Rooms on the ground floor come with a small terrace in the garden and those on the top floor have a balcony.

Facilities and amenities
  • restaurant
  • spa bath
  • Satellite television
  • safe
  • Animals welcome
  • swimming pool
  • Wireless Internet connection
  • air-conditioning
  • Access for disabled persons

Languages spoken

English

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