Whether they include chimneys, artist’s rooms, restaurants or belong to major hotel chains, in Nantes they are plenty of options when it comes to the land of nod.
www.nantes-tourisme.com \ €95 a €115€
Tatzu Nishi’s Ville Cheminée only has one bedroom, however, this intervention is unique, and pretty much sums up the Estuaire philosophy. It put down roots in the middle of nowhere, in a vast and protected ornithological paradise which has rubbed shoulders since the 1970s with a huge power plant that occupies at least 100 hectares. Tatzu Nishi decided to focus on the paradox and built a 15-metre-high concrete, mimicking the plant chimneys but with a 1970s-style country house perched on top (with the abovementioned room). Some say that its inspiration comes from Jules Verne (surrealist fantasy and a visual shock), whatever the origin, this is a unique place that makes you dream, even with your eyes open.
Château du Pé
www.chateaudupe.fr \ €80 a €120
Château du Pé’s artist rooms also have an element of fantasy, albeit an unconscious one. Housed in a private 18th-century castle, on a small hill overlooking a lake and set in seven hectares of woodland. It was bought and restored by the Saint-Jean-De-Boiseau community, which requested intervention from the Estuaire project, taking into account its partial conversion into a hotel. Five bedrooms and one suite were created, each one designed by a pair of artists. They are all very different, surprising and a little disturbing. From one room populated by embalmed insects to an empty writers’ room, which contains just one chair but many cupboard doors to open, not forgetting a wooden fireplace and a love nest with walls decorated with figures in bas-relief.
La Mare Aux Oiseaux, Ilha de Fédrun
www.mareauxoiseaux.fr \ From €160
The Michelin guide mentions poetry and freedom when talking about the positively inventive cuisine of Eric Guerin. Obviously, the basis of his creations are local produce (Guerin is really becoming an ambassador for the region, regularly appearing in the French media), but what makes his food so special is the unexpected fusions, particularly with oriental flavours. The hotel has grown in stature alongside the restaurant and maintains a similar regional philosophy. If the exterior style of the hotel is in keeping with the local architecture (thatched roof included), then the interior boasts more exotic contents, which may be from Louisiana or Vietnam.
Hotel de Sozo, Nantes
http://sozohotel.fr \ From €109
Located next to the romantic Jardin des Plantes, in the heart of Nantes’ historic centre, there’s a 19th-century chapel that has been meticulously restored to its former glory to house a luxury boutique hotel. This combination of historical architecture and hotel design has produced a 17-metre high lobby that respects the chapel cloisters and retains its stained-glass windows while decorated with designer objects (Arad, Eames, Panton, Stark). On the upper floor there are stainless steel features that create a remarkable mirror effect that contrasts the different styles, which can be seen in the modern bedrooms that boast ancient details.
Radisson Blu, Nantes
www.radissonblu.com \ From €119
Similar in concept to the Hotel Sozo, but in a large family and business hotel version, the Radisson Blu occupies the Palais de Justice, which began operating in 1851 and was closed in 2000. Now it offers a futuristic version of palatial luxury. The conversion returned the Neo-classical façade’s previous splendour, but this time with the ultra-modern interior design of Jean-Philippe Novel, which last year won a European Hospitality Award.
Relais Thalasso, Baie de la Baule
www.thalasso-tourelles.com \ From €152
A seaside resort on the southern tip of Baie de la Baule, Pornichet became popular when bathing was suddenly de rigueur in Paris at the start of the 19th century. From those glorious days, over 60 picturesque houses remain, the majority an eclectic mix that includes the Château des Tourelles, a holiday destination for the French capital’s 12 ème arrondissement. Eventually abandoned and run-down, it was bought by the Phélippeau family, who converted it into a luxury hotel with glazed annexes in 2012. Sea water treatments are this sophisticated hotel’s main calling card, however it also offers organic décor in common areas, healthy and tasty cuisine, as well as large balconies overlooking the sea.
La Demeure, Saint Fiacre
www.lademeure.fr \ €122
Thomas Alperstedt left East Germany soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He spent five years in the Dominican Republic before ending up in the demarcated winegrowing region south of Nantes, in the village of Saint Fiacre sur Maine, where he renovated a country house in stone. It’s here he lives and where he rents three bedrooms decorated with objects he has collected on his travels; from the naïf Brazilian pictures to the beaded South African key rings, not forgetting Korean mirrors with TinTin covers.
by Luís Maio
web design & development 262media.com