Les Échasses — Saubion, France
When Thomas Le Thierry, the highflying global president of media agency Vizeum, decided to open his first hotel, there was only one place to do it – a secluded spot at the foot of the Pyrenees between Bordeaux and Biarritz where his beloved grandparents had a house.
Architect Patrick Arotcharen has built Les Echasses’s eight spacious origami-like suites out of local wood and glass, and lifted them on stilts over the edge of a bijou lake – a stylistic nod to the stilted platforms that herders in the region use to guard their sheep. To encourage bare feet, the interiors by JLI Design have been kept raw with wood, wool and tiles.
Between sunset drinks on private decks and meals anchored by duck, fish, wild rabbit, and forest mushrooms, there are plenty of natural temptations in every direction, not least the white sandy beaches of Landes, ski resorts, golf ranges, leisurely drives through Chalosse, and absurdly good Basque feasts.