Grand Hotel des Bains

Locquirec, Brittany, France Book from Book from £89 per night

A sumptuous spa hotel on Brittany’s craggy Finistere coast that combines New England designer style with utter relaxation
Some hotels have location, some have style, this has both in bucketfuls. Its position overlooking the turquoise Baie de Locquirec, in Brittany’s westerly province of Finistere, is breathtaking, and either side of the rocky point you have no fewer than 9 sandy beaches to choose from. French film-buffs might recognise the large, turn-of-last-century hotel: it was the setting for a 1970's Carry On-style film, before becoming a rather crusty spa resort.

It was taken over by the dynamic Dominique van Lier, editor of Belgian interiors magazine Eventail, who stamped the place with his impeccable New England-meets-Swedish-Gustavian style. Bedroom walls were panelled and painted in soothing moss and fern greens, floral fabrics were replaced with stylish checks, and the austere refectory transformed into an oasis of apricot and white. The atmosphere is peaceful and relaxed, both inside the hotel and its marine spa, and in its seafront gardens, which include an exquisite lime-tree alley. A great place to recharge the batteries for families and couples alike.

Highs

  • The garden is picturebook perfect, full of climbing rose bushes and hidden spots to curl up and take in the panoramic view of the coast
  • The 18-metre indoor swimming pool offers stunning sea views
  • Great massages, hydrotherapy and beauty treatments in the marine spa, plus a sauna and a hammam
  • There’s no road between the hotel and the sea, ensuring total tranquillity
  • The luminosity of the light, especially outside summer, draws artists, photographers and writers

Lows

  • Despite Dominique’s artistic touch, the corridors still feel a bit institutional and some of the bathrooms are a little dated
  • Some of the bedrooms are a bit on the small side and lack sea views (and are thus cheaper)
  • Younger, more dynamic types should note the emphasis is on peace, and the clientele can be older
  • Light sleepers should avoid the church-facing rooms because of the bells
  • It's a little pricey; you're paying for the hotel's heritage and the peaceful location
World Favourite Family Hideaway

    Best rooms for families

    All rooms can fit an extra bed for a child and a baby cot. For families with two children a few rooms can be closed off with a connecting door to create a suite of rooms (sea view and church view combinations include 109 & 110, 209 & 210, 309 & 310, while 101 & 102, 201 & 202, 301 & 302 are sea view combinations so a bit more expensive).

    Parents should know...

    The beach is at the end of the garden but there's a fence and gate which prevents small ones escaping without supervision; the property is gated. The swimming pool has specific hours (11.30am and 4.30pm) during which children are permitted to swim, and there is a separate - but still beautiful - dining room for families
  • Baby cots
  • Baby monitors
  • Dressing gowns

Some equipment may need to be requested in advance

Local babysitters available on request

Separate dining room annexe for families in the hotel, dishes can be adapted and simple pasta meals can be cooked to order. There are children's menus at the Brasserie de la Plage, which is 2 minutes away in the village

  • Indoor heated pool - kids hours are 1130-1630, and children must be accompanied
  • Buckets and spades, fishing nets
  • Beaches
  • Sailing school in Locquirec (and kids club here too in August)
  • Surf and paddleboard school in the village
  • Windsurfing and kitesurfing locally
  • Fishing
  • Riding schools nearby
  • Boat trips
  • Aquarium in Brest (45 minutes away)
  • Golf courses

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
Romantic
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 36
  • Restaurant + bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Indoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Babysitting
  • Creche / Kids Club
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Of the 36 rooms, 27 have sea views and the remaining 9 have views over the village church. Van Lier’s genius has been to provide a sensation of space, both inside and out. "The key," he says, "is to provide lots of place perdue (unused space). This is what gives a house charm." First-floor sea-view rooms have huge terraces, and we loved our second-floor corner room which boasted 3 balconies and gave us a luxurious feeling of space. Rooms to avoid are Church View #112, 212 and 312 which are smaller (about 20 sq.m. excluding bathroom).

Décor throughout is simple but stylish, with a successful combination of crisp linen pillows and sheets, sleek white bed covers and sumptuous cushions. Colour-wise, soothing moss greens dominate, but some rooms are decorated in gentle blues, greys or reds. Bathrooms are unpretentiously simple (you go to the spa if you want pampering), but indulged with gorgeous products.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Phone
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

The hotel’s buffet breakfast is a highlight, and was the best we tasted in northern France. Beautifully presented, it had everything imaginable, from pastries made by the hotel’s patissier to freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit salad, stewed prunes, cheeses and hams.

Dinners, too, are delicate and delicious; there’s even a 'Menu Minceur' if you want to avoid putting on extra pounds. Cooking is strictly French, with an emphasis on locally caught fish and seafood including lobster, scallops and sea bass; heavy cream sauces are avoided in favour of delicately steamed vegetables. Smoked salmon and foie gras are specialities, and both are made on the premises. Vegetarian dishes can be prepared on request.

If you fancy a break from the hotel but don’t want to get in the car, the co-owned Brasserie de la Plage is 2 minutes’ walk into the village, and gets rave reviews. The décor makes ample use of beautiful wood flooring and those familiar muted green colours. Food is fresh, again with an emphasis on local seafood, and you can book your table at hotel reception.

If you want high gastronomy and Michelin stardom, head to Chez Jeffroy at the Hotel de Carantec in the eponymously named town; or to the Manoir de Lan Kerellec at Trebeurden.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Locquirec is a hiker's paradise: you can walk around the point in 15 minutes, passing a series of tiny coves, and on along the well-marked 'Sentier des Douaniers' fringing Brittany’s dramatic coastline; or branch inland if you want a change
  • Watersports, including swimming, diving and kite-surfing, are all available in the village between June and September, and sailing all year round (the Ecole de Voile Francaise is right opposite the hotel). There are diving schools at Carantec and Plougasnou, and the Baie de Locquirec has decent surfing on an exposed beach break, though summer tends to be flat
  • Festivals and markets are an important feature of Breton life. A small market is held in Locquirec on Wednesdays, there’s a market in Morlaix on Saturdays and a larger one in Lannion on Thursdays. Virtually every village holds its own Fest Noz (an evening festival that usually involves music and booze) or Pardon (religious local pilgrimage) in the summer. In October an organ festival of baroque music is held at Lanvellec
  • You won’t find much wine in Brittany (although the hotel has a good wine list), but its cider is remarkably good. If you want to see how it’s made and indulge in a bit of a dégustation, there are cidreries in the villages of Plouegat-Guerrand and Guimaec (ask hotel staff for directions)

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Golf
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse riding
    • Kayaking
    • Kitesurfing
    • Sailing
    • Scuba diving
    • Shopping / markets
    • Surfing
    • Swimming
    • Well being
    • Yoga

Best Time to go

Northern Brittany is beautiful year round but obviously it gets busier in the peak months of July and August, though it’s never noisy. For spa treatments, blustery coastal walks, wine in front of the fire and total silence, winter is perfect. Swimming and watersports are generally possible from mid June to mid September, and there’s a surf beach a 2-minute walk from the hotel.

Our Top Tips

If ancient churches are your thing, besides Locquirec’s own Eglise de St Jacques, there's the magnificent cathedral of Treguier (1 hour away), with its soaring steeple and tomb of St. Yves, the patron saint of lawyers, who flock here in May to attend the annual Pardon (pilgrimage). Closer to home is the church of Saint-Jean-du-Doigt, which owes its name and fame to the finger of St John the Baptist, housed here since the 15th century and still a magnet for pilgrims during its June Pardon.
Kid Friendly:

Location

Grand Hotel des Bains is in Locquirec on the north coast of Britanny, in the westerly department of Finistere.

By Air:
The nearest airport is Brest (45 km). Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving this airport.

From the Airport:
Brest is a 45-minute drive from the hotel: you could get a taxi or hire a car (see 'By Car').

By Ferry from the UK:
It's easy to reach Brittany from southwest England, using the Plymouth - Roscoff crossing (Roscoff is just 40 km away). Otherwise you can sail to St. Malo (176 km/2 hours away) from Poole or Weymouth.

By Train:
If you'd prefer to travel on land, take the Eurostar from London to Paris, then the TGV from Paris to Morlaix (20 minutes away).

By Car:
Locquirec is about 2 hours from St. Malo and 5 hours from Paris. If you want to hire a car, see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to France and getting around

Airports:

  • Brest 45.0 km BES

Other:

  • Beach 0.0 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
8/10
Food
8/10
Service
9/10
Value
8/10
Overall

Superb, everything superb!

10/10,

A perfect hotel in a wonderful location!

10/10,

The service in the bar was very poor - you had to ask at reception whenever you required a drink and then wait ages to be served (we gave up in the end). The general feeling of the hotel was tired. The food was overpriced, very limited menu and particularly small portions. I would not go back.

3/10,

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