Lake Loft

Hossegor, Gascony, France Book from

Intimate designer B&B with decked pool and concierge-level service, tucked between Atlantic dunes, oyster lake and pine forests
The Landes region of southwest France contain some of Europe's largest pine and cork forests, its highest sand dunes, and world-class surf breaks. It also welcomes 1/4 million visitors - mostly French regulars and German surfers - in summer. You can enjoy all the former, without being disturbed by the latter, at the gorgeous Lake Loft.

Tucked on a cul-de-sac overlooking protected forests, a stroll from Hossegor's oyster-farming lake and a short drive from those Atlantic breakers, this 4-room designer B&B is a real hidden gem. It's run by a Franco-German couple Olivier and Christina, who after a decade of summers here, decided in 2014 to make it their home. Together they welcome you with the sincere pleasure and personalised advice of born hosts - plying you with homemade fig jam and the region's best bellota ham for breakfast; arranging surf lessons, electric bike hire or superb massages for daytime détente; ordering sushi for al fresco dinners on their poolside deck. It's one of the classiest chambres d'hôtes we've seen, and will undoubtedly go from strength to strength. Get in there quick.

Highs

  • Faultless service: Olivier and Christina magically bring what you need when you need it, then slip away so the house feels yours
  • Wonderful designer touches in the bedrooms, from vintage surfboards to Le Corbusier chaise longues
  • We loved lazing on outsize cushions by the heated pool
  • Endless sandy beaches and shady forests ensure you'll blow the cobwebs of office life away
  • If you need a drop of culture, Biarritz is 30 mins' drive away, San Sebastian an hour

Lows

  • Room prices are higher than you'd expect from what is essentially a B&B - but once you get here, you'll see why
  • Big waves make sea swimming tricky
  • Not ideal for young children, due to the sharp-edged design and tranquil atmosphere
  • Despite the sylvan setting, there's still a slight hum from the minor road nearby
  • No twin-bedded rooms

Best time to go

June and September are our favourite months - warm but not uncomfortably so, with most of the restaurants and bars open yet uncrowded. Hossegor can feel ghostly in May or October; surprisingly busy in July-August. Book early for the last week of August and the first of October, when Hossegor hosts its Latino and Quiksilver festivals respectively.

Our top tips

  • Rent a fat-tyred electric bicycle and cruise along forest trails to the dunes - a real hoot, and speed-limited to 25 km/h to avoid the need for a driver's licence (though expect to pay the same as for a small hire car)
  • For a more sheltered swim at Biarritz, try Port Vieux beach: the waves are tamed by rocks around the Rocher de la Vierge promontory
  • Great for...

    Beach
    Eco
    Family
    Great Outdoors
    Honeymoon
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique B&B
    • 4
    • Breakfast; other meals can be delivered
    • All ages welcome
    • Closed: 1 Nov 2015 - 30 Apr 2016...
    • Heated Pool
    • Spa Treatments
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Concierge Service
    • Bicycles Available
    Room:

    Rooms

    There are just 4 gorgeous bedrooms, 2 on the ground floor and 2 under the eaves. The lower rooms get sail-screened terraces; #440's is large enough for al fresco breakfasts. Upstairs, #420 is a sweet couples' hideaway, while #450 is significantly larger, with a Le Corbusier chaise-longue and huge bathroom (eggshell tub, walk-in shower). Both have small balconies overlooking pool deck and forest.

    Decor is beachside-industrial chic: sun-bleached kilims on polished cement floors, brilliant Plümacher prints on white walls, and an alaia (early surfboard) to remind you where you are. In #430 a giant wooden mill screw serves as a phone stand; #420 has a hanging purple wardrobe. Olivier loves his gadgets, so expect bluetooth Bose speakers, blue pinprick nightlights, magnetic door catches, electric blinds.

    Queensize beds are blissful, dressed in artfully crumpled organic linen. There are no twins, but 3 rooms can take a BoConcept child's bed ("very comfy", says our son Oscar). You also get minibar, satellite TV, branded pool towels, cool canvas beach bags, and superb (if patronising) toiletries.

    Features include:

    • Air conditioning
    • Bathrobes
    • Bose bluetooth speakers
    • Central heating
    • Cots Available
    • Extra beds
    • Hairdryer
    • Ipod dock
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Phone
    • Safe box
    • Satellite tv
    • Terrace
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • WiFi
    • Wifi internet

    Eating

    Olivier and Christina choose all their favourite things for the breakfast spread: wonderful acorn-fed bellota ham, delicious sheep milk yoghurt in dinky ceramic pots, a trio of jams (including their own fig), plus fresh pains au chocolat, hand-squeezed orange juice and more. It's served on the pool terrace, or inside at a lovely communal table during cooler mornings; or you can have it brought to your balcony at any time until noon.

    For dinner, ask for their latest recommendations, from fresh oysters 5 mins' walk away at the lake, to upmarket seafood by the dunes at Jean des Sables. Or stay in and pick from excellent sushi, pizza or pasta menus, which Olivier collects and presents on wooden platters, along with a glass of Sancerre, champagne or fruity Woll beer from his short but excellent drinks menu. You can also pre-order a generous tapas platter, piled with more of those irresistible cheeses and cold cuts.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Breakfast
    • Dinner by arrangement
    • Lunch by arrangement
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Room service
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • The Côte d'Argent has over 200km of sandy beaches, pounded by Atlantic breakers and backed by dunes and pine forests - ideal for surfing and long meditative walks, not so great for swimming (but you've the heated pool for that)
    • Olivier can fix you up with a great English-speaking surf instructor, Xav, who will collect you from the door, fit you with board and wetsuit, and take you to the best breaks
    • Stroll round Hossegor's millpond-still lake, past oyster farms to the fishing harbour, then back via the wonderful Patisserie du Golf for macaroons and café au lait
    • Try out SUP (stand-up paddle), finless alaias or any number of surf crazes; Estagnots, 1.6km away, has reliable waves and few crowds
    • Recover with a massage in the garden, at the hands of Cécile Page; UK-trained, she's the pro-surfers' favourite
    • Escape to Biarritz (30 mins' drive) for Belle Epoque beach bling; or cross the border to San Sebastian (1 hour) for Michelin-starred pintxos

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Cycling
    • Golf
    • Hiking
    • Horse-riding
    • Mountain biking
    • Surfing
    • Well being

    Kids

    Lake Loft is aimed more at couples than families, but with the heated pool, the sandy beach nearby and the super-welcoming owners, families with older kids will also have a great time here.

    Best for:

    Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    #440 and #450 can fit an extra bed or baby cot, while larger families can take either the upstairs pair of rooms (can sleep 2 + 3), or the downstairs pair (can sleep 2+2, with direct access to terraces) - but bear in mind that all beds are queensize rather than twins.

    Baby equipment:

    • High chair

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Families Should Know:

    Interiors are not great for toddlers: sharp edges, heavy metal doors, adult-oriented furnishings such as a hot glass wood-burner, a sliding coffee table (made from an old brick factory wagon), or a vintage (and purely decorative) pillarbox-red ham cutter. The pool terrace does have railings, but also lots of steps; the shallow end is around 1m.

    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    10/
    Rooms
    10/
    Food
    10/
    Service
    9/
    Value
    10/
    Overall

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