Two on the Go…
Deauville | Hotel Normandy & Hotel Royal
Of France’s historic seaside resorts on the English Channel, Deauville has certainly
the blandest setting. But the lacking picturesque of its site is compensated by the uninterrupted glamour and prestige that the resort enjoys since it was first launched
by the Duke of Morny in the mid-19th century.
The ‘Queen of Norman beaches’ is famous its two world-renowned hippodromes, casino, ‘Les Planches’ boardwalk and annual American Film Festival, all of which continue to cast a continuous spell on socialites, wealthy families and day trippers alike.
Even though parallels are hard to draw, the manicured appeal of Deauville is in many ways similar to East Hampton, New York: a visually pleasing and secure haven with all the right ingredients for high-living and the added convenience of an easy two-hour train ride from Paris.
The layout of Deauville was inspired by Haussmann’s principles that still characterize Paris today (albeit on a much larger scale). Just like the gleaming Casino, two grand hotels are an essential part of Deauville’s social circuit and stand out as landmarks in the network of generous avenues that compose the resort.
Inaugurated in 1912, the Hotel Normandy is a very interesting building type and essentially a ‘grand hotel in disguise’. Though it occupies a large rectangular lot on the waterfront, its appearance rather recalls a Norman manor house than a luxury hotel – a characteristic that does not interfere with the preeminence of the neoclassical ‘Casino de Deauville’ next door. The traditional Norman vernacular trimmings of its exterior and the relatively low building height of only three stories create an architectural intimacy that is further enhanced by several courtyards of various sizes which break up the scale of its comparatively large footprint.
Opened only one year later in 1913, the Hotel Royal takes a decidedly different architectural approach. Loyal to the name that it bears, its appearance is a towering
u-shaped building of seven stories. Even today, it is a distinguishable silhouette from afar. The favorite haunt of visiting Hollywood movie stars during the film festival, the Royal is the typical French seaside palace hôtel with generous double height public rooms on the ground floor and the ubiquitous ‘rear’ door which opens onto a generous terrace facing the waterfront. Although the faux-timber ornamentation in the upper parts of its facade pays tribute to its Norman backdrop, the Royal displays many attributes which became the standard building type for luxury hotels in French resorts like La Baule, Biarritz and Cannes in the first half of the 20th century.
Hotel Normandy Barrière
38, Rue Jean-Mermoz
Hotel Royal Barrière