As the birthplace of novelist Jules Verne, Nantes reflects much of the artistry and innovation found in the author’s famous works. Explore the medieval Château des Ducs de Bretagne or visit the quirky Les Machines de l’Île de Nantes. Here’s our pick of the top hotels in Nantes.
Once France’s shipbuilding heartland, this city at the mouth of the Loire River has transformed its industrial prowess into a cultural hub that offers much for travellers who are into art, engineering and architecture. Oh, and let’s not forget Muscadet wine. Enjoy the best of Nantes’ fascinating history and visionary future from these top hotels.
Get the kids learning French with games of Monopoly and Guess Who, along with toys and comic books in a charming children’s play area. For adults, a fitness room includes a rowing machine and stepper. The rooms feature a compact kitchenette that crams in a microwave, sink, hob and kettle. For families, the sliding screen in the larger studios is a smart touch.
A 19th-century chapel converted into a four-star boutique hotel, Hotel Sozo takes the prize for Nantes’ most unique hotel. Its masterful design blends the church’s original features (such as vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows) with slick, modern decor and crisp, white sheets. The historic setting is counterbalanced with all the necessary mod-cons, and each room is equipped with a Nespresso coffee machine, phone dock and HD TV. Room service is also available 24/7.
One of seven Olivier Devys-designed OKKO hotels in France, the Hotel OKKO Nantes Château offers four-star luxury with a reasonable price tag. It is a few minutes’ walk from the Château des Ducs de Bretagne. Conceived as a relaxing space for travellers to unwind, the minimalist decor, generously sized rooms and Italian cotton bedspreads prioritise comfort. The attentive staff and meticulous service are what makes the hotel special, plus the public lounge area called Le Club serves free wine, beer and canapés in the evening.
Once a courthouse, this imposing Neoclassical building has been transformed inside by renowned French architect Jean-Philippe Nuel. There’s a grand piano setting the mood in the wide open À Partager restaurant, which allows you to admire the original architecture, including doric columns and high ornamental ceilings. You’ll also enjoy the sight on your plate, especially if you order pastry chef Emmanuel Lebreton’s signature îles flottantes (meringue floating on crème anglaise).
Right by Place Graslin, the Hotel Voltaire Opéra offers a central location without the noise of downtown, and it’s just a 15-minute walk to the Machines de l’Île. Dating back to the 19th century, the hotel has a long-standing reputation for service, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value hotel in such a convenient location. The 37 rooms feature large windows, plush bedding and free high-speed Wi-Fi.
Opposite the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, L’Hotel is a great value hotel in a convenient location for sightseeing on foot. With dark walls and atmospheric lighting, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into a bar, rather than a hotel. But inside, the rooms are bright and modern, albeit a little on the small side. Superior rooms are worth the upgrade for a view over the castle.
Perched on the banks of the Loire River, opposite the Île de Nantes, the Surprenantes – Jules Verne is a fitting complement to the neighbouring Machines de l’Île. Taking its inspiration from the wild creations and fantastical world of Jules Verne, the hotel is a series of one-bed apartments with eclectic themes like La Pêcherie Imaginaire (The Imaginary Fishery), La Cabane du Capitaine Nemo (Captain Nemo’s Cabin) and De la Terre à la Lune (From the Earth to the Moon). The repurposed warehouses have been transformed into urban design masterpieces, making use of recycled materials, antique furniture and unique structural elements. They have to be seen to be believed.
A boutique hotel with a creative side, Hotel Pommeraye is an elegant choice. Its colourful artworks and four “artist’s rooms” – each designed by a different local artist – are a fun touch. Better yet is the location, which is at the entrance to the Grand Passage Pommeraye, Nantes’ most beautiful shopping gallery, and at the centre of the lively Graslin Quarter. Enjoy the continental breakfast each morning for a surcharge.
Step inside the bar at the Oceania Hotel de France, and you’ll instantly know this is a hotel that likes to make a statement – think regal pink furnishings, zebra-print wallpaper and floor-to-ceiling mirrors. The rooms follow a more muted colour palette but are equally stylish, with parquet floors and plenty of natural light. Everything you’d expect from a four-star hotel is also available, including room service, a small gym and private parking.
Located in the heart of the city on the Île de Nantes, you are a five-minute cab ride away from Les Machines de L’Île amusement park. The innovation continues back at the hotel, where the lobby bar’s novel wine pouring machine is said to aerate the wine and put it in your glass at the optimal temperature. The wellness and relaxation area includes a jacuzzi and sauna and can be hired by the hour.
Alexis James contributed additional reporting to this article.
None of these take your fancy? Discover our guide to the best hotels in Nantes for every traveller and book now on Culture Trip.
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