Boom in Biarritz


It seems a fairy tale… in these tough days of a moderate hotel occupancy even in posh places like Sardegna Costa Smeralda, there seems no sign of crisis in Biarritz of a downturn. Things are different on the french Basque coast.

General manager Jean-Louis Leimbacher of 5-star Hotel Du Palais in Biarritz, claims they have had their best year ever, with the hotel running nearly at 100 percent occupancy.

Even the critical last year, the summer season of 2009, was better than everywhere else, and 2010 is going to top it all.

It still exists here what was once the core business of all the established and the legendary hotels – it is the amount of repeating guests -a specimen that is dying out everywhere.

At the Hotel du Palais, the percentage of repeaters is still extremely high – especially during July and August, when over 70 percent of the guests are repeaters! Among them are some big families staying nearly up to 3 months, settling a hotel bill of 500,000 euros at the end of their stay.

Even the poolside restaurant with lunch buffett lets many restaurant owners and hoteliers dream. There is a waiting list for the lunch bufett and sometimes there will be even two seatings – especially on weekends, 250 (average), up to 480 meals on wekends are served by a 23-waiter brigade.

But why is that so??

The former summer residence of emperor Napoleon Bonaparte III and Eugène – (from 1857), which style is synonymous with an Epoch, the Second Empire and
The Imperial Couple would never miss a season in Biarritz for 16 years, and the world aristocracy followed.

It was than that it established the reputation of “the queen of resorts and resorts of kings.“ Actually there is nothing to add and little changes have been made.

Turned into a Casino lateron and than transformed to become the Hotel du Palais in 1883 – the fète continued.

The five-star property with its 154 rooms including 30 suites, belongs now to the city of Biarritz.

Americans are coming back, said Jean-Louis Laimbacher, and bookings for the winter season are already keep coming in. Thanks to the 12 Mio. Euro new Guerlain Spa, the hotel will stay open during the winter months.

Leimbacher sees more problems with flight connections than hotel occupancy.
Since Easy Jet was allowed to land in Biarritz, Air France has stopped its direct flights from CDG Airport, and travelers are now forced to change airports in Paris, as Air France flights to Biarritz will only depart from ORLY. Far better is the connection via Lyon and avoiding all the luggage hassle.