The present owner of Parc Victoria, a gleaming white 19thC villa in St-Jean-de-Luz, rescued it from demolition and spent four years restoring the house and garden to their former glory. The place is now immaculate: the predominant feeling is of space, light and colour, both inside and out. The park that gives the house its name has neat lawns, formal flower beds and magnificent mature cedar, pines and other specimen trees.
  M. Larralde scoured antique shops to find furnishings and fittings to make his dream come true and the hotel is filled with charming pieces. The elegant salon of the main house is in the Napoléon III style, complete with chandeliers. Alongside the generous terrace of the swimming pool stands a veranda-style dining room and relaxation area with sunbeds and exercise equipment. Bedrooms are furnished with antiques, with contemporary marble bathrooms. Two magnificent new suites, clearly designed for the rich and famous, have recently been added. The hotel is perhaps too grand for our purposes, but it does its job very well, with exacting standards and an ambience of lightness and calm. Dining in the Ivy Garden restaurant is a delightful experience, and the food and wine are delicious.