“Chabadabada, chabadabada…” The unforgettable theme music of “A Man and a Woman” is the soundtrack of Deauville, the French seaside resort where the director Claude Lelouch set his iconic 1966 film about the love story between a widow and widower, played out in soulful scenes on the windswept beach. Purpose-built in the late 1800s as a playground for Parisians in need of salt air and sleep, and still a favorite vacation spot for the French, Deauville has evolved into much more: an international center for equestrian sports and golf, the home of the annual Festival of American Film, and a mecca for racers and collectors of high-performance automobiles.
Hôtel Barrière Le Royal Deauville enjoys the best location in town—and makes the most of it. The 1913 Belle Epoque building rises imperially above its own private garden facing a pristine stretch of sandy beach, just steps from Deauville’s meeting venues and luxury-shopping streets but in a quiet neighborhood of classic Norman half-timbered villas. The hotel’s relative height allows guests to enjoy unobstructed views of a spectacular swath of the Normandy coastline from Le Havre in the east to Ouistreham in the west. The show goes on in the hotel’s grand public rooms, decorated with photos of the movie stars, polo champions and other international figures who have made Le Royal their headquarters hotel for generations.
The headquarters hotel for movie stars, polo champions and other international figures for generations.
Guests of the Hôtel Barrière Le Royal Deauville are encouraged to feel that they have entered another era—one where it would not feel out of place to have packed a velvet smoking jacket or a silk peignoir. Public areas and guest quarters are decorated with unabashed old-world glamour: extravagant drapery, crystal chandeliers, rich color schemes. For those who wish to take the fantasy one step further, the hotel has two themed suites. The Elizabeth Taylor suite is decorated in homage to the violet-eyed actress who was a personal friend of Martha Barrière, of the French hospitality family that owns the hotel. The “Amicalement Vôtre” suite (English title: “The Persuaders”), with a 1970s bachelor-pad décor inspired by the television show starring Roger Moore and Tony Curtis, lets guests pretend that they are gentleman crooks swindling their way across Europe.
While proud of its historic ties to the entertainment industry and the world of sports, Hôtel Barrière Le Royal Deauville is equally proud of how it has staked out new territory in hospitality, adding yoga by the hip French firm Le Tigre to its offerings at the Diane Barrière spa and retooling the menu in its classic restaurant, Côté Royal, to focus on lighter fare. The hotel’s concierge staff can arrange for guests to try their hands at traditional Deauville activities like horseback riding on the beach, as well as privileged entrée to the resort’s busy program of cultural events. For a romantic walk along the beach, though, guests are on their own. Chabadabada.