Even if you've never heard of it before, the name Biarritz makes it sound upmarket. And it is in it's way. This town really took off as a glamorous seaside resort in the mid 19th Century and spent the Belle Epoque and Art Deco eras being lavished with attention and architecture. The best places to stay in Biarritz have evolved from simply offering large, grand seafront piles. You'll now find chic B&Bs and small boutique style hotels catering for a very discerning audience.
But the fact that Biarritz also has some of Europe's best waves means that today it's also on the to-do list of most surfers. So it's not just beautiful people who adorn these lovely beaches.
Being 15mins from the Spanish border means Spanish flavours have infiltrated the cuisine - and the culture. And this is a fascinating town for a mini break.
Biarritz hasn't lost all her gentility and you'll still find old fashioned elegance in her old spas offering their famous seawater treatments. Or in the graceful decor of many cafes, restaurants and hotels.
French spa and beauty experts highly recommend being pummelled, massaged and soaked into submission here; and some of the best places to stay in Biarritz have top notch spas open to visitors and day guests.
Famous for its coastline, Biarritz has a beach to suit everyone. The Grand Plage (main beach), is known for its long, hollow waves, but can get pretty crowded - which is perfect if you want to do some people watching!
One of the best surf beaches is a long stretch called Cote de Basque. At low tide it's excellent, but at high tide there's almost no sand at all. Camper vans full of Endless Summer types hang out here just waiting... Swimmers tend to prefer the beach by Esplanade du Port Vieux.
If you're interested in finding out more about this town's history visit the Musée Historique de Biarritz, in what was once a grand Anglican church. At the other end of town are the impressive domes of the Russian Orthodox Church. And in the middle is the Sainte-Eugenie church, which has an crypt which is also an excellent exhibition space.
If you're travelling with your kids you might like to spend an afternoon in the Cite de l'Ocean, a wave shaped marine museum, and its partner aquarium, Musée de la Mer.
They may also be impressed by a trip to the lighthouse at the the north-east end of town. It's called the Phare de Biarritz, and offers amazing views of the coastline.
At the other end of town is the Rocher de la Vierge, a tiny crop of rock surrounded by swirling seas, but linked dramatically to the mainland by a footbridge.
Our recommendations for the best places to stay in Biarritz offers a wide range with something for everyone; from five star luxury close to the beach to a cheap and cheerful countryhouse B&B just out of town.
Still not sure which is the hotel for you? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Biarritz, or feel free to call or email one of our gurus for advice. Alternatively widen your search and check out all our recommendations in the Basque Country.
Biarritz, The Basque Country
A large country house/B&B set in beautiful gardens. Large elegant rooms with private terraces onto the garden. Charming breakfast terrace, large swimming pool, and outdoor sauna. A great location for families and those on a budget.
A chic boutique restaurant with rooms owned by renowned restauranteurs the Ibarboure family. Undeniably brilliant cuisine. Trendy interiors with simple white-washed walls, exposed stonework and small balconies to take your gourmet breakfast on. Miles of sandy beaches nearby. French paradise.
A laid back hotel on the coast. Chic rooms are modern with hints of the rustic; exposed beams and white washed furniture. Charming gardens to enjoy a game of French bowls and outdoor pool. Excellent value, very relaxing, and plenty of coastal activities to get involved in. For the sporty.
A refined sea side hotel within walking distance of Biarritz's beaches. Just 7 bedrooms with white washed walls and wooden floorboards, some with private balconies. Elegant and poised - an intimate hotel with plenty of style.
A charming B&B right on the beach. Contemporary rooms are large, with sea views and splashes of colour. Shady terrace to enjoy the views, and the garden directly links to the beach. Laid back, chic and sunny.
Charming and oh-so-French address in the city centre. A 19th century mansion keeps its original interiors - wood panelling, wooden floors, and old mirrors - which compliment the rooms' elegant creams and whites. The breakfast terrace is the pièce de résistance. Relaxed and family-friendly.
Set in a large leafy estate stands a chateau, a hunting lodge and a villa - an ideal spot for foodies, families or groups touring the Basque country. A wonderful restaurant, beautiful period-inspired interiors and lovely garden. A really magnificent place to explore Biarritz.
Airy and contemporary addition to Biarritz’s hotels. A beautiful sandstone building with funky modern rooms and a lovely garden. A charming place to stay, nestled in the town's streets, with great restaurants and a daily market place close by.
A small boutique hotel with magazine worthy interior design. Chic contemporary rooms with floor to ceiling glass windows, private balconies and minimalist style. Equally stylish living areas bring the nature inside through the large windows. A heated pool and divine breakfasts. Absolute bliss.
A luxurious Five Star hotel close to the beach. Contemporary rooms in Baroque style have large marble bathrooms. An outdoor pool, library and excellent bar. Superb regional cuisine and plenty of intimate spaces to relax in. Dramatic, romantic and understated.
A grand hotel overlooking the Bay of Biscay. Opulent interiors throughout with chandeliers and heavy draped curtains and frescoes. The rooms are standardly large and impressive. An indulgent spa and indoor and outdoor pool. Steps from the beach. Multiple fine-dining restaurants. A spoiling stay.