Brittany, France


Rates from (inc tax)$171.62

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 (EUR189.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.


The good life aquatic


Wind in your sails

Luxury coastal hotel Castelbrac in Brittany is a Belle Époque folly built as a vacation home for the aristocratic Faber family and spent a brief stint as a marine-research centre (the aquarium-turned-bar is rich in Jules Verne-esque charm). Its towers and terraces cling to a cliff face, so each retro-styled room has views of boats gently bobbing on Prieuré Bay; seafood is excellent and days end with glorious sunrises and cider-spiked mojitos on the terrace. 

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A welcome drink on the Aquarium Terrace and a special gift in your room on arrival


Photos St Moritz – Cornwall – United Kingdom

Need to know


25, including two suites.


Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.


Double rooms from $171.62 (€158), excluding tax at 20 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €1.50 per person per night on check-out.

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 (EUR189.00), via, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates do not include breakfast (€18 for a Continental buffet, €24 for full English).


As a place to rest and recharge, the hotel has a small chapel (with texts for all denominations) where guests can sit and reflect at any time. Decorated with fishing net-draped icons, there’s a wishing tree set behind the pews. For views and some alone time, seek out the hidden terrace above the swimming pool, or head to the belvedere roof, where a reclaimed antique statue of Eve stands.

At the hotel

Yacht, spa and solarium, Aquarium terrace, chapel, laundry, parking, free WiFi. In rooms: Samsung flatscreen TV with a Bluetooth connection, iPod dock and radio, Nespresso coffee machine, kettle and courtesy tray, minibar, free bottled water and Thémaé bath products. DVD players are available, on request.

Our favourite rooms

Some Prestige Suites have a wraparound terrace, for heavenly sunrises, sunsets and plentiful yacht-cleaved river scenes in between; after dark, it’s just you and the bobbing boats in the moonlight. The Prestige Suite in the belvedere, makes up for its lack of terrace with waves of romance; the bed and a freestanding bath tub have panoramic views from four bay-facing windows.


The heated, narrow stone pool (best suited for lazy laps) is exclusively for guests’ use. It’s cleverly worked into the hotel’s higgledy-piggledy structure, reached by a secluded staircase, and positioned for beautiful bay views and surveying the Claire de Lune promenade. To one side, there’s a little solarium with loungers for post-swim sunbathing.


The spa is set in the hotel’s peaceful, hortensia-clad interior courtyard. There’s just one art deco-inspired treatment room, so advance bookings are essential, but it’s elegantly styled, light and spacious, with a small shower room to one side. Treatments use natural, tea-based Thémaé products for massages, body scrubs, facials, and a range of pampering packages for men, and mums- and brides-to-be. Light refreshments are offered, or chase your spa session with a dainty afternoon tea.

Packing tips

Pack a headscarf to stay glam and perfectly coiffed while on the hotel’s yacht, and pick up a few French phrases; staff are hired locally, and while they speak English, a little conversing <i>en Français</i> is a welcome courtesy.


The hotel layout is refreshingly unproblematic for wheelchair users, with two elevators and two specially adapted Superior rooms.


The hotel’s stairs and serene ambience are better suited to juniors, tweens and teens. Two rooms interconnect via a corridor to make an apartment, The chef can heat milk, tweak portions or whip up purées, and babysitting is available for €12 an hour.

Best for

Juniors, tweens and teens.

Recommended rooms

One of the Superior Rooms connects with the Prestige Suite in the belvedere to form a family apartment.


Buy buckets and spades for pottering about on the beach; older kids can learn how to sail, kayak or surf. Dinard Horse-Riding School is a 10-minute drive fom the hotel for lessons, and Club Mickey on the Plage de l’Ecluse arranges sporting activites and cinema nights for children aged 3–18. Or book a family day out on the hotel yacht. 


Ask the chef for your child’s preferred dish and there’s a high chance you’ll get it. The kitchen staff are approachable and flexible and sensitive to the needs of parents. Children are allowed in the restaurant, but if you take your family meal on the terrace, the kids can get up and play between courses and any noisiness will be less of an issue. 


Babysitting can be booked for €12 an hour (must be booked 24 hours in advance).

No need to pack

Bring any treasured toys: there aren’t many distractions on site. Beach towels, bags, sunhats and swimwear and any easily packed inflatables will all come in handy.


The hotel has a range of children’s DVDs if the weather turns grey.


You’ll be ferried about in sleek, whisper-quiet, electric Tesla cars (or borrow one of the hotel’s eBikes); those with eco-friendly motors can use the charging points too. Restaurant ingredients are sourced close by, and the kitchen uses environmentally sound gadgetry (an auto-recycling dishwasher, Nordaq water filter). A Lynx Energy system monitors usage in rooms, natural products are used where possible and lights and air-con turn off automatically when not in use.

Food and Drink

Photos Castelbrac – Brittany – France

Top Table

The little terrace in the upstairs dining room has fewer tables than the Aquarium Terrace, and it’s a prime sunset-admiring spot; in cooler weather, you can spy them from the round table by the windows.

Dress Code

Breton-striped belle.

Hotel restaurant

The hotel owner’s worked with Ducasse and Gagnaire, so standards are high; however, cosy conviviality is valued over shooting for Michelin stardom. In winter the Pourquoi Pas restaurant opens (named after Arctic explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot’s ship), decked out in sea blues, greens and first-light yellows. Ingredients are sourced within 25km of the hotel, and the chef’s on first-name terms with local fisherman, farmers and bakers. Tasting and lobster menus give a glimpse of Brittany’s delicacies, and desserts are sweetly inventive. In summer light seafood and salad dishes are served on the Aquarium Terrace, one floor below. 

Hotel bar

The dress circle of booths in the Aquarium Bar once housed glass tanks filled with specimens from Dinard Bay and beyond. Portholes – and the ornate ironwork doors – remain, but the fish have swum away. The signature Breizh Mojito has both of Brittany’s famed libations – calvados and cider – muddled with mint, lime and cane sugar. The champagne concoctions are fizzily fun too. 

Last orders

Breakfast is 7am to 11am, lunch from noon to 2pm, and dinner from 7.30pm to 9pm. Meals are served on the terrace from noon to 6pm, and the tide of drinks ebbs around 11.30pm.

Room service

In-room dining is available around the clock – the night menu is a little reduced, but staff are happy to oblige if you have specific needs.


Photos Castelbrac – Brittany – France
17 Avenue George V


Arrive at Dinard Airport within an hour from the UK; Ryanair flies direct from Stansted, Aurigny from Gatwick or London City. The airport is a 15-minute drive from the hotel, and for a €30 one-way trip, staff will zip you to the hotel in a Tesla. There are no direct flights from the US or major destinations in Asia and Australia, so the best option is to stopover in London.


There are direct trains to the SNCF Station in Saint-Malo from Paris Gare de Lyon or Montparnasse (around a three-hour trip); if arriving direct from St Pancras International on the Eurostar, the trip is just over six hours. From there, you can request a Tesla transfer along the scenic route (€30 for a 20-minute, one-way trip), or add a dash of Venetian-style drama to your trip and zoom across the bay on the hotel’s yacht.


The drive from London, via the ferry over the Channel, is a feasible seven-and-a-half hours; however, it’s easier to hire a car at the airport. Dinard is easily explored on foot, but a set of wheels allows you to see more of the coast. Valet parking is €24 a day.

Worth getting out of bed for

Brittany is cooler than France’s sultry south, so sunbathing hours can be limited, but the Emerald Coast’s beauty is still striking on overcast days. Pack your beach bags for plage d’Ecluse (painted by Picasso in Baigneuses sur la Plage) and shelter in the smattering of traditional blue-and-white-striped tents on the shore, if there’s a sudden chill. The large municipal pool, set on a platform above the sands, has impressive coastal views. To the west, Saint-Enogat Beach is sheltered and secluded, dotted with the palms that thrive in Brittany’s microclimate. Dinard – once home to Lawrence of Arabia, and Winston Churchill’s favourite holiday spot – is dinky but filled with surprises; its grand, Belle Époque villas with turrets and high-vaulted roofs look like a Harry Potter set; a cache of galleries, casinos and souvenir shops line its hortensia-adorned streets and a gloriously Gallic market is held four days a week, along Rue Paul-Valéry with stalls selling cheeses, meats, calvados and antique maritime tomes, all set to accordion music. Director Alfred Hitchcock allegedly modelled the iconic Psycho house on one of Dinard’s villas (the resemblance is striking); his bird-swarmed statue stands in a square by the beach, and the annual Dinard British Film Festival is held in his honour, through September and October. Book an excursion on the hotel’s beautiful hand-built yacht to drop anchor by some of the wartime-occupied Channel Islands – the remarkably peaceful fishing areas were once the site of World War II’s most vicious bombardments; for a historic day trip, Omaha Beach and the D-Day landing points are a two-hour drive north. Back at the hotel, there’s little to do but swim, book a spa treatment or sit and sip a cocktail on the terrace, but loved-up twosomes can link arms and take a twilight stroll along the Clair de Lune promenade. In winter, the belvedere roof becomes an ice rink, and mulled wine and warm pastries are sold.

Local restaurants

Waterfront Hotel Printania (+33 (0)2 99 46 13 07), just a five-minute walk from Castelbrac, has a grand dining room with original Chinoiserie wood panelling and a terrace overlooking the estuary. The seafood is especially satisfying. L'Escale à Corto (+33 (0)2 99 46 78 57), is an unassuming nautical-themed spot with seaside tchotchkes, and freshly flambéed langoustines. L’Abri de Flots (+33 (0)2 99 16 99 48) is clean and modern, with industrial lighting and a tempting wall of chilled wines. However, its high-quality fare; just-caught lobsters, ballotines, perfectly pink slices of duck breast, is classic and simply chic. 

Local cafés

Dinard is renowned for its galettes (savoury crêpes), washed down with a glass of local cider. Modern Crêperie Hautecloque (+33 (0)2 99 48 31 35) and traditional Crêperie du Roy (+33 (0)2 99 46 10 57) are considered among the town’s best.

Local bars

Dinard’s late-night scene revolves around its waterside restaurants, but there are places to stop for a nightcap. La Fonda (+33 (0)2 99 46 10 23) is cosy and convivial, with red-brick walls and wooden beams.


Photos Castelbrac – Brittany – France

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this luxury hotel by the Emerald Coast and unpacked their bottles of cidre and original nautical artwork, a full account of their coastal break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, let’s set sail for Castelbrac in Brittany…

When wealthy Brit William Faber built Castelbrac hotel as a vacation home in the early 1900s, it was dubbed Villa Bric-à-Brac; a fitting name, for a cliff-clinging pile with a crenellated keep, Belle Époque townhouse and belvedere styled like a cosier Colosseum. Since then, it’s served as a humble home to a Crimean war hero and then a marine research centre and aquarium under Commander Jean Baptiste Charcot, gaining some elegant art-deco detailing along the way. Castelbrac’s hotch-potch history is celebrated today; portholes remain in the Aquarium Bar, fish-scale motifs are worked into decor and original tiling and hand-carved signs are hidden throughout. It revels in its Breton heritage, too: there are chairs by native designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and boat-shaped knives (adapted from fisherman’s knives) crafted by a local smith, in the restaurant, the seaweed baked into moreish savoury scones is gathered by hand in St Lunaire, and a baker in Saint-Malo created a bespoke bread for the hotel. Along with the friendliest of staff and its restful blue views, the hotel’s history is written within its walls.

The Guestbook

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