Where vintage cars were once serviced, you’ll now find Hôtel Le Garage – all terrazzo tiles and hand woven Ghanese lights in a former auto repair shop just steps from the beach in Biarritz. Colombian-made furniture and art deco trimmings add dashes of colour to steel-wrought rooms, and striking arched windows create a grandeur that bids adieu to its automotive past. Where once stood a gas pump, there’s now a pool in manicured gardens, with alfresco dining spaces and a decked-out summer DJ spot.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £170.04 (€198), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.64 per person per night on check-out.
Rates don’t include breakfast, but a buffet breakfast can be purchased at Le-Neo Bistrot for €20 a person.
During the early 1930s, the building that now houses Hôtel Le Garage was a private garage for the neighbouring Régina Hotel’s high-end guests, designed by Robert Barenne. Not long after, the building was abandoned until street artists occupied its walls in 2018; a few months later it was lovingly restored into this boutique bolthole.
The hotel’s partner spa at Regina Biarritz is currently closed for renovations, but should be up and running again soon.
At the hotel
Alfresco dining spaces, outdoor swimming pool, panoramic ocean views, public beach nearby, car park, WiFi. In rooms: Flatscreen TV, Roberts radio, minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, bathrobes and organic Océopin bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The Grande Suite Panorama takes the win for us; vaulted crittall doors invite natural light and a gentle sea breeze into this modern suite. Restored parquet flooring and neutral-hues are warmed by hand-woven Ghanese lights and teal-toned fabrics. Sip on a sauvignon on your private rooftop terrace, or take a moment away from any accompanying little Smiths with a candlelit soak in the copper roll top tub. If you’re travelling as a duo, the Cosy Ocean Terrace rooms are an intimate alternative.
The outdoor pool – open from May to October – is in the hotel’s manicured palm-shaded gardens, where the signature restored garage wall and its accompanying arched windows act as a welcome backdrop. Bright handcrafted sunloungers bring the hotel’s colourful ethos outside, and during the summer evenings cocktails are served to the beat of a resident DJ.
Not as such, but the hotel’s sister property – the Régina – is just steps away and you’re welcome to utilise its extensive list of body wraps, facials and massages. If you’d rather stay on site, masseurs can be organised for in-room treatments.
Bring surfshorts and an empty stomach (you’ll need both on separate occasions).
Rooms 111 (Cosy) and 1 (Cosy Garden) have been adapted for guests with reduced mobility.
Welcome; cots (free for under-twos) and extra beds (€40 a night) are available in most rooms, on request and subject to availability. Babysitting can be arranged for an additional fee.
Hôtel Le Garage has a zero-plastic policy, uses eco-friendly and reusable bath products and amenities and also cleans all rooms with steamers to avoid harmful waste. The food served at the restaurant is sourced locally and responsibly – even the coffee pods are eco-friendly.
Dine in the hotel’s gardens or around the pool for sun-soaked spots. If you’re staying in the Grand Suite Panorama then order to your door for private on-terrace tapenade.
Bring your best linens and coolest kaftans.
You’ll find Neo Bistro just beyond the hotel’s front lobby, flanked by restored crittall-arched doors and dashed with art deco design. Sample caramelised octopus, truffled white ham linguine, or a foie gras and Basque cheese board. During summer, dine alfresco on the terrace or by the pool. In the mornings, breakfast is self-served from the breakfast bar in the lobby or in-room and during the day fresh pastries and drinks are on offer around the hotel.
Just ask reception, and cocktails will be delivered straight to your sunlounger. Or, drinks are available throughout the day in the lobby.
Breakfast can be delivered to your door each morning, and brunch is available at the restaurant on Sundays from 12pm to 3pm. Lunch is served daily from 12pm to 2pm; dinner is available between 7.30pm to 10pm.
You’ll find Hôtel Le Garage along southwest France’s Basque Country coast in Biarritz.
Most international flights will land in Biarritz-Parme Airport; a 20-minute drive away from the hotel. The hotel can organise transfers from €55, or you can hop in a taxi for €25.
Biarritz train station is a 15-minute drive from the hotel, where highspeed, long distance, and night trains connect the city with other major European cities. Again, transfers can be arranged by the hotel.
Rentals are available from the airport and the hotel has on-site parking (a must given their past) for €30 a night; be sure to book in advance.
If you’re based in the UK and fancy a lengthy yet picturesque route, there’s a ferry from Portsmouth and/or Plymouth to Bilbao in northern Spain; where you can then take a final ferry north to Biarritz.
Worth getting out of bed for
Foodies will thrive at Hôtel Le Garage, head into town for a traditional Basque cooking class (with wine) or roam the region’s farmers market, where fresh produce awaits. If you’re here for the waves, take a surfing lesson at Miramar Beach, or those not quite ready for the big leagues may be happier bodyboarding and paddleboarding. If you’re travelling with little Smiths, Plage Port Vieux is a sheltered bay beach with calmer waters. Landlubbers may prefer to stick to the belle époque ambiance of Biarritz’s city centre and visit the neo-Gothic Eglise Sainte-Eugénie, or take a private two-hour walking tour of the region’s top spots. If you can handle the height, Le Phare lighthouse has sweeping views over the bay’s glistening waters.
If you have a hankering for homemade tapas and sangria by the jug, head to Le Bar Jean (5 Rue des Halles), a popular local hangout for its famed fresh seafood and Biarritzian buzz. Guilt-free dining can be found at Michelin-star L’Impertinent (5 Rue d’Alsace), where all meat is sourced sustainably from local farms and fish is freshly caught in line with eco-friendly practices – they also have an extensive wine list for parfait pairings. For a classic French bistro (you are in Biarritz after all) book a table at Le Pim’Pi Bistrot (14 Av. de Verdun) and feast on rib steaks, lemon-infused cod croquettes, and a traditional Basque charcuterie board.
Stop past the local patisserie – Maison Adam – for freshly made macarons, traditional Gateaux Basques cakes, and handcrafted chocolates.
Beach bars are in no short supply here, and Etxola Bar is locally loved for its golden sunset Côte-des-Basques views and refreshing custom cocktails. Another prime beachside spot is La Petite Plage, where grand straw-woven lights hang over sea-facing tables. Be sure to head out to the oval terrace at sunset with an aperol in hand.
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 avant-garde hotel in Biarritz and unpacked their Basque linens and boardshorts, a full account of their Bay of Biscay break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hôtel Le Garage in Biarritz…
Choosing just one defining feature of this restored hideaway is certainly no easy feat; surfers and beach-basque(ers) alike will tell you it’s the blue-breaking waves and golden sands of Marimar Beach just a few moments from the hotel’s iconic entrance that give it its flair. While design-fiends favour its speckled terrazzo tiles, brightly-hued handmade furnishings and art deco-ed dashes, history-buffs likely find joy in its preserved restoration. Or, perhaps the more relaxed among us will appreciate the staff’s scaled-down ‘beach-chic’ dress code and familial feel throughout. But that’s not all: a little beyond the hotel’s steel-arched windows and gaze-worthy views, a gourmand’s heaven awaits. Wine-accompanied oysters and jam-topped pintxos feature on almost every local menu and freshly-baked torrijas fill farmers markets.