Friday, 15 May 2015

Favourite hotels: food with a view on the French coast

Number 6 in an occasional series on special hotels

The price of the Menu du Saison was €39. The view alone would have been worth a fair chunk of that. With the tide in and a crimson sun dipping below the horizon to sit at a window table in La Liegeoise was almost like dining on a cruise ship.

The Hotel Atlantique, in Wimereux, a short hop from Boulogne, has long been a favourite. And it's even more firmly fixed in the calendar of regular treats now that its rooms have been refurbished. It's best to book a superior room overlooking the promenade and the English Channel. 

Many seaside hotels are separated from the beach by busy roads. Not the Atlantique. There's just the busy seafront in between, with its ranks of individually named beach huts (we weren't sure Titanic was such a great choice) and it's outside bar and restaurant tables where you are sheltered by glass windbreaks. From certain angles, when the tide is high, you might think the waves are lapping at the entrance steps.

The hotel has a spa and the usual extras you would expect from a four star property: towelling robes and slippers, for example,hair dryer, an adequate number of pillows, TV with UK channels (including the BBC), free wi fi, parking - and a breakfast buffet worth the £11 or so. 

But it's mostly for the location and the cooking of father and son team Alain and Benjamin Delpierre that we go. On occasion we have pushed the boat out and plumped for the superb €58 Promenade en Mer - four fish courses, cheeses and pudding. I had particularly strong memories of the hot oysters with spring onions and a light cheddar mousse and and intense lemon and chocolate soufflĂ©.  

This time, however, one of our dinner companions suffered a shellfish allergy, so we went for something which did't threaten to spoil his short break. Four courses, with a lovely main of red mullet, leek stuffed with finely chopped shoulder of beef, and a lemon confit.

The wine list is not cheap, though includes selection by the gloss or half bottle. We chose a white Cotes du Rhone Saint-Peray for €43. There's an extraordinary skeleton of Armagnacs.

If you wanted to cut costs you could exist the denotations of La Liegeoise on the first floor and eat instead in l'Aloze, the hotel's cheaper, bistro style restaurant on the ground floor, where two and three course menus are €19.50 and€24.50 respectively.

Total price for one night with breakfast, including dinner, wine and aperitifs worked out at a fraction under €366, or around £263 (we stayed for two nights and ate elsewhere on one of them). As usual, we left with the feeling that was pretty good value.

No comments: