Nowhere does chic and stylish quite like France, and nothing is more relaxing than a seaside holiday. Whether you choose a hotel in a sleepy village by the sea, on the dramatic coastline or on the glamorous Riviera, The Good Hotel Guide has a great recommendation. Here are their top picks from their collection of the best beach hotels in France.
1. Grand Hotel Des Bains, Brittany
Gloriously positioned on a peninsula in a fishing port on the north Brittany coast, Grand Hotel des Bains is a handsome white 1900s hotel with polished floorboards, grey and honey panelled walls, wicker chairs, and colourful modern fabrics. Most of the bedrooms face south-east across the bay. The garden, with an alley of lime trees, leads down to the sea, and there is a large indoor saltwater swimming pool and a spa. As well as a gourmet restaurant, you can also eat at the hotel's bistro at the port, a short walk away.
2. Hotel Baie Doree, Cap d'Antibes
The rooms at Hotel Baie Doree are simply furnished, but all of them have terraces with dazzling sea views. In addition, there's a swimming pool and a 'private beach' - which equates to a platform with sea access down a ladder. Beach bar service, parasols and sun loungers are included, though, and there's a sandy beach only a few minutes' away. A restaurant has tables overlooking the sea as well, and there's a spa.
3. Ti Al Lannec, Brittany
A handsome, white 19th-century mansion, Ti Al Lannec stands in a large flowery garden high above the beach, on arguably the loveliest stretch of north Brittany. Rooms are classic in style, and some have balconies with views of the coast. The restaurant has a terrace with panoramic views. Breakfast, a generous buffet, comes with a bulletin giving times of tides, local markets and events. The spa offers beauty treatments. An indoor swimming pool overlooks the sea, and steps lead down to the big public beach.
4. Miramar Boutique Hotel, Corsica
In an area popular with tourists attracted by the fine beaches, Miramar Boutique Hotel is a small luxury hotel standing high above the sea, in sumptuous gardens with superb views across the Gulf of Valinco. All bedrooms are soundproofed and have a sea-facing balcony or terrace. Suites and an apartment (with private sauna) are in the park. Gourmet meals are served by the good-sized swimming pool, and public rooms are spacious and elegant. An excellent beach lies below the hotel.
5. Fleur de Sel, Vendée
The island of Noirmoutier, north-west of La Rochelle, was a monastic settlement in the seventh century; it is still a peaceful place which has been spared the high-rise developments of other holiday coastal resorts. One the edge of its main town is Fleur de Sel, decorated in chic marine style with light and airy rooms, a restaurant, attractive gardens and a good-sized swimming pool.
6. Hotel de la Plage, Brittany
The upmarket Hotel de la Plage, part of the Relais & Châteaux hotel group, stands beside a huge, secluded sandy beach. There's an excellent restaurant in a spectacular tiered conservatory dining room that specializes in seafood, and the spacious bar has sea views. The classically furnished, elegant rooms offer sea or garden views. The swimming pool is useful at low tide when the sea goes far out.
7. La Marine, Normandy
On a tidal estuary in a small fishing port/summer resort, La Marine is near superb beaches and a marina. Chef Laurent Cesne has a Michelin star for his inventive cuisine, and the lounge, terrace and restaurant all face the water. Bedrooms facing the estuary are spacious and well-equipped; the best ones have a balcony.
8. Le Richelieu, Île de Ré
Connected to the mainland at La Rochelle by a bridge, the Île de Ré has sandy beaches, oyster beds and, out of season, an air of tranquillity. On its north side, Hotel Richelieu, set across the road from the beach, is a modern, white hotel with beautifully decorated rooms. Some have balconies offering sea views; others are in bungalows. The panoramic dining room specializes in seafood, and there are lovely gardens, a swimming pool and a thalassotherapy centre.
9. Hotel Restaurant L'Ocean, Île de Ré
Also on the popular island of Île de Ré, offshore from La Rochelle, Hotel Restaurant L'Ocean is a charming hotel set 500 m from a prime stretch of sand, in a pretty, sleepy village. The public rooms are attractive in a hip-seaside way: muted colours, wood panelling, and paintings by local artists. The bedrooms have curved doors, gingham curtains and beach hut-style wardrobes; some overlook the garden. There's also a restaurant, a bar, and a heated swimming pool in the garden.
10. Hotel Restaurant Les Tourelles, Picardy
Hotel-Restaurant Les Tourelles is a fin-de-siècle villa in the former home of the parfumier Pierre Guerlain. It is set on the north side of the Somme estuary (excellent for birdwatching) and has a chic Nordic feel. The dark red exterior of the hotel is crowned by two blue pointed turrets, and the interiors have wooden floors, sculptures made from driftwood, wooden boats, and the odd rococo antique and chandelier. The restaurant serves good-value, well-cooked meals with an emphasis on seafood.
This selection is taken from the Good Hotel Guide's Best Hotels in France.