Fab 40: Hôtel Ville d'Hiver, Arcachon
Transforming a 19th-cenutry water factory into a luxurious boutique hotel is no easy feat, but seasoned hoteliers Olivier and Nathlaene Arnoux have made it look effortless with their Arcachon-based bolthole in southwestern France.
Opting to ‘do it themselves’ rather than fork out for costly interior designers, the recession-savvy couple sourced many of the hotel’s materials in Europe, including the French stone used on the exterior and the Spanish ceramic found underfoot in the lobby. The result is a spectacular conversion that certainly tickles our French fancy, with twelve well-appointed bedrooms boasting sleek, contemporary interiors, an on-site restaurant serving exquisite French classics and an in-house spa offering steamy sessions in the Moroccan hammam.
British touches are evident throughout, with luscious licks of Farrow & Ball paint, fabulous fabric by Mary Fox Linton, and occasional tweed, too, making something of a comeback. Built in 1884, the property hasn’t lost any of its original charm, either; authentic features have been kept, painstakingly restored and then recycled, such as the water tank, now flanked by crisp blue-and-white seating and used as a gorgeous al fresco swimming pool.