From disappointment to wonder

How an abandoned building becomes an extremely charming place

We’ve been in south west France during the Easter Holidays. At home, we all love this area of the atlantic coast with its long beaches, tasty local food and large pine woods you can easily get lost in.

Front view of Haitza’s four story building with colourful stained glass windows

As frequent travelers to South France, we have been staying in quite a number of hotels in the region. Haitza (basque for rock) is one of them. This classy resort, housed in a big, basque-style building, was closed years ago. I had planned to make a trip there and haunt some images of this abandoned location full of history -some call it urban exploration.

Renovated basque-style architecture

At first I was disappointed to find out that Haitza Hotel (built in 1930) was no more a ghost place in which to take a bunch of creepy pictures, but a renovated house full of guests looking for some holiday relax.

Customers coming in and out Haitza Hotel and the cafeteria on the opposite sidewalk

Soon my disappointment became wonder as I discovered that the new hotel, renamed Ha(a)ïtza and revamped by star designer Philippe Starck is (once again) a stylish place with a respect for the architecture and local tradition in all the public spaces, from the Grand Salon -a large room full of trophies- to the reception area resembling a modern art gallery.

Welcome back, Haitza!