Aquitaine, France


Rates from (inc tax)$142.53

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR140.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Daring design kaleidoscope


Coastal Basque hillside

Like many of the houses in this Pays Basque town, Arguibel hotel has a timbered façade more reminiscent of the Swiss Alps than its seaside French setting would suggest. But step inside and the alpine ditty becomes a veritable design rhapsody. Elegant claw-footed tubs, patterned mosaics and brightly coloured Louis-XV chairs will make your heart skip a beat.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A drink on the house (wine or champagne); a €30 discount when you book a treatment at the Loreamar Thalasso Spa at Grand Hôtel Saint-Jean-de-Luz; and tickets for the Basque Eco-Museum in Saint-Jean-de-Luz


Photos Arguibel hotel - Pays Basque - France

Need to know


Five, including two suites.


12pm (or later when possible). Earliest check-in, 11am.


Double rooms from $142.53 (€127), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next {dayrange} days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR140.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (€16).


The hotel can book you a yoga lesson or in-room massage.

At the hotel

Garden, free WiFi throughout, book, CD and DVD libraries; flatscreen TV, DVD player and CD player in the lounge; iPods in the lounge and bar. In room: Anne Sémonin goodies, minibar, free bottled water (TV by request).

Our favourite rooms

Suite Paul-Jean Toulet is a turquoise tour-de-force, with sleek high-design details in bedroom, sitting room and bathroom. Two sets of French doors open onto a balcony with a dining table for four. Of the rooms, No 30 Charlie Chaplin is the biggest, but No 63 Betry Daguerre wins our hearts with its angel-white decor, driftwood bedstead and pebble-shaped pouffe.

Packing tips

Quiksilver board shorts for him, Roxy play dresses for her, and Havaianas for everyone – you’re in surf country now…


The hotel has free parking or can arrange a taxi from Biarritz train station.


All ages welcome; cots are free, extra beds cost €25.

Food and Drink

Photos Arguibel hotel - Pays Basque - France

At the hotel

No restaurant. Breakfast – taken in the turquoise salon or on the deck – is a French farmers’ market in microcosm: fresh fruit, little pots of yoghurt, just-baked brioche, bread and pastries, and wonderful coffee.

At the bar

Cone chairs and low Verner Panton tables furnish the old-meets-new bar, which has a 1930s-style polished wooden counter and serves fruit juices, wine and champagne, 9am–1pm and 5pm–10pm. At other times, a help-yourself honesty bar operates.

Room service

There isn’t any, but you can ask the hotel about takeaway options, which vary according to season.


Photos Arguibel hotel - Pays Basque - France
1146, Chemin de Laharraga


Easyjet ( and Ryanair ( fly from London (Stansted or Gatwick) to Biarritz, a 20-minute drive from Arguibel.


From Gare Montparnasse in Paris, direct trains to Biarritz take just over five hours (


There are five car-hire desks at Biarritz Airport, including Avis (

Worth getting out of bed for

Play golf at one of the 12 courses within easy reach of Arguibel. Take a day trip to San Sebastián over the border, just 30 minutes’ drive away, where the La Concha beach is better suited to swimming than those local to Guéthary. If it’s the surf you’ve come for, book into surf school a five-day beginner course costs €170. 

Local restaurants

Don’t be fooled by the Spanish name, Le Madrid on Place PJ Toulet serves traditional French dishes such as côte de boeuf with béarnaise sauce and has a spacious terrace on the square ( Michelin-starred Les Frères Ibarboure on Chemin de Ttalianea in Bidart (+33 (0)5 59 54 81 64; serves dishes such as lamb sweetbreads and madeira-laced foie gras – opt for the 18th-century, lofty beam-ceilinged dining room by evening or the sunny terrace for lunch. Also in Bidart, on Rue de L’Ouhabia just 50 metres from the sea, is Restaurant La Cucaracha, where you can join the locals in enjoying prime beef cuts and super-fresh sea bream in the brightly painted restaurant, decked with guitars, old photos and rustic murals (+33 (0)5 59 54 92 89). Try the cod à l’espagnol or the veal stew with peppers at La Ferme Ostalapia on Chemin d’Ostalapia in Ahetze. Originally an old inn, the dining room is trad country in style with an enormous fireplace. The gingham-clothed tables on the terrace have mesmerizing mountain views (+33 (0)5 59 54 73 79; Indulge in a lazy lunch of freshly caught fish on the deck at Tantina de la Playa – set on a hill above the beach on Rue de la Plage du Centre in Bidart (+33 (0)5 59 26 53 56).

Local cafés

Bag a deckchair on the grass at fishing net- and buoy-draped Cenitz Ostatua on the Plage de Cenitz in Guéthary and let the lapping waves serenade your aperitifs. There’s also a small restaurant here, serving Basque speciality garlic-roasted squid (chipirons) but you’ll need to book one of their picnic-style tables (+ 33 (0)5 59 26 59 16; Browse the board shorts in 2ndsky on the Chemin du Port, then head upstairs to the café for snacks and paninis (+33 (0)05 59 54 72 56).

Local bars

Scarlet-awninged Bar Basque enjoys a corner spot on the main square, Place PJ Toulet, flanked with adjacent terraces. Linger over beers, graze on peanuts, charcuterie and cheeses. There’s often live music here, too (+33 (0)5 59 26 55 00).


Photos Arguibel hotel - Pays Basque - France

Anonymous review

By Kate Pettifer, Miss Adventure

This review is taken from our guidebook, Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection: France.

A tanned choux bun of a buttock is peeping above a balcony rail, as a damp Enrique Iglesias-alike surfer peels off his wetsuit on the apartment terrace above a Gue?thary street. Mr Smith and I haven’t even made it to the beach yet but, as views go, it’s an encouraging start.

Gue?thary, between Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz on the Atlantic coast, is a hilly village sloping down to the waves, its quiet streets lined with the typical timbered white and red Basque houses that you see throughout the region. One such property is Arguibel, our maroon and white home for the weekend, which looks as though it’s just stepped off an Austrian Alp. On the inland side of the village, towards Ahetze, this boutique B&B is separated from Gue?thary-on-sea by the main north-south road.
We are greeted by Franc?ois, a wiry, square-spectacled man with a quiet charm, who co-owns the property with his wife, Mariannick. On closer inspection, Arguibel turns out to be a newbuild, its exterior in keeping with Basque tradition, its setting a carpet of sloping lawn that tapers towards pea-green pastures beyond.

Inside is revealed a rainbow gallery of modern design, with a big teal-painted lounge at its heart. Bokja chairs covered in a kaleidoscopic patchwork of vintage fabrics catch my eye, as do Frida Kahlo-esque collages and sparkly, palette-exhausting paintings by Wilma, a British-born artist who lives in Gue?thary.

Arguibel’s five rooms, peeling off the lounge and first-floor landing, are flamboyantly themed creations, each a tribute to a character with local ties. Mr Smith’s first choice had been the Charlie Chaplin room, an homage in masculine monochrome to the Hollywood star, who holidayed in Gue?thary. But Mr Smith didn’t make the booking. And I preferred the sound of feathery lamps and currant-coloured silk headboards in chocolate-lime L’Infante on the ground floor, named for the Spanish princess who met Louis XV in the Basque country.

Mr Smith plays cursory attention to the decor, so it’s left to me to coo over the details. Light switches. Upholstered switches, no less, in the same praline and gooseberry swirly fabric as the curtains – a real pedant-pleaser. I can tell by the way Mr Smith huffs and puffs around the iPod dock, assuming the manly role of DJ, that he’s feeling a tad emasculated by our feminine, frou-frou surrounds. But, as Franc?ois arrives with glasses of champagne and peanuts for us to enjoy on our private terrace, Mr Smith is soon soothed into holiday mode.

‘There’s a farm... I found it online... I think it’s away from the coast?’ These are Mr Smith’s vague, stilted clues to Franc?ois about where we’d thought of heading for dinner. ‘La Ferme Ostalapia,’ deciphers Franc?ois, without a flicker of confusion. With equal ease, he secures us ‘the last table for tonight’ (‘I bet he says that to everyone,’ speculates Mr Smith ungratefully). The smiley waitress, all confidence and twinkly eyes, brings a mini Kilner jar of rillettes de porc and some baguette toasts with the menus. We’re in the white-timbered annexe of the rustic restaurant, packed out with animated locals enjoying Saturday night out. Mr Smith orders cochon de lait ro?ti – a slab of roast piglet served with moreish fri?tes de maison. I work my way through Rossini de canard, served with a tower of ceps and garlicky saute? potatoes. We somehow find room for an almondy, coulis-drizzled tarte aux abricots.

The next morning, from my prone position, I lie looking at the hills – not the green bucolic ones visible through the arched French doors, but my and Mr Smith’s bulging bellies. Not that this holds us back at breakfast. A trolley is wheeled to our table, bearing a choice of steaming, syrupy coffee or loose-leaf tea, brewed in Asian-style clay pots, as well as a basket of pastries and just-baked baguettes, sheep’s milk yoghurt, fresh tangerines, apples and redcurrants.

We decide to tour the inland villages by car, through Ahetze to Saint-Pe?e-sur-Nivelle, where a scan of the main drag delivers the three Bs of the Basque village: bar, bakery, boules. We drive on. Ainhoa, at the top of the Col de Pinodieta, is an emotional and literal high point, the village centred around a high street of shuttered stone houses and cobbled parking bays. We live the French cafe? cliche?, sipping grands cre?mes and scribbling postcards, only sorry the epicerie opposite isn’t open to sell us a string of dried red peppers, as emblematic of Basque identity as the berets and chalets.

The return of the sun lures us to Biarritz the next day, where good weather, bracing beach views and tempting shops are in plentiful supply. Mr Smith is in patient form, only occasionally muttering ‘Ryanair’ under his breath as I bulk out the luggage allowance with local linens and nuggets of Basque silver jewellery. An evening flight means we have time to catch the sunset at Bidart, Gue?thary’s beachy neighbour. It’s like walking onto the set of Point Break, only with fewer masked bank robbers. Surfers dot the sea like croutons in soup, rollers flop onto the raffia-coloured shore, and the amber sun is as big as a boule as it drops over the horizon. Not that it’s easy to keep focusing out to sea. Left and right, we are flanked by rippling surfer bods, performing feats of modesty with small towels or zipping up neoprene shorties. As with the light switches, it’s left to me to admire the detail. Now, where did my Enrique-alike get to?

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Arguibel’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Looking out over fields at the back, fine breakfasts with cheery staff and a very handy location for day trips in the area. Briketania restaurant was great gourmet food, Beach Bahia was good food in a fabulous location, book both at least 3 days ahead.

Don’t expect

Calming magnolia decor, with tastefully restrained artworks!


Stayed on 8 Aug 2016

We loved

The room, the living rooms and the breakfast. It's great if you like being left in peace.

Don’t expect

Too much personal service. We were often alone in the hotel without access the management. 


Stayed on 25 Jun 2016

We loved

The peace, quiet and lovely country views from our huge private well furnished balcony only a few minutes from the crazy busy coast road. The quirkyness of the hotel is a lovely change from so many bland hotels, all the rooms are very different, but all look lovely - we enjoyed the PJ Toulon suite with its huge bathroom and balcony. Had a fantastic dinner at Ferme Ostalapia and a lovely shared platter for lunch at Le Madrid, both recommended on Mr & Mrs Smith's site, and would thoroughly endorse those recommendations. Nice to visit St Jean de Luz (10 mins), Biarritz (20 mins) and San Sebastien (30 mins) for the day but all are super busy, so very glad we stayed in peaceful Arguibel for our overnight stays. We will definitely return. 10/10

Don’t expect

Room service. Although the breakfast service on the lovely outdoor terrace is delightful and well worth trying. You are encouraged to help yourself to complimentary tea and coffee from the bar at any time, nice to take a cup of tea back to bed in the morning (super fluffy robes provided).


Stayed on 20 May 2016

We loved

We were only there for two nights, but were well looked after by Francois. We had a very comfortable room and excellent breakfast. It was ideal for visiting Biarritz and St-John-De-Luz.

Don’t expect

A lift.


Stayed on 3 Nov 2015

We loved

Eclectic decor, relaxed and informal atmosphere

Don’t expect

Dinner, but the breakfast is great!


Stayed on 11 Sep 2015

We loved

The fascinatingly beautiful house full of quirky interesting furniture and decoration. The luxury accommodation, super breakfasts and warm hospitality. It was like staying in someone's lovely home

Don’t expect

Lots to do.


Stayed on 26 Jul 2015

We loved

I loved the original funky design, very nice and helpful owner and staff, perfect breakfast – all super.

Don’t expect

I found it a little hard to find this place but it's worth it.


Stayed on 24 Sep 2014

We loved

Peaceful setting. Comfortable room. Eclectic decor.

Don’t expect

I would've liked more communication on the options for breakfast – indoors or outdoors. It took us until day three to realize that we could eat inside, despite it being very chilly and even a bit rainy one morning.


Stayed on 22 Sep 2014

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