For centuries, Nantes was the capital of Brittany – and, until the 19th century, one of the most important cities in France. Today, it’s the administrative centre of the Pays de la Loire and has plenty to offer visitors, from a historic medieval Old Town to the mechanical wonders of the Galerie des Machines. From self-catering apartments to boutique hotels, these are the best hotels for every traveller visiting Nantes.
Want to combine the best aspects of a self-catering apartment and a hotel? Book into this apart-hotel in the centre of Nantes. The modern, fully equipped studios are ideal for couples or families, plus business travellers looking for longer-term accommodation. There’s a heated indoor swimming pool, sauna and gym, as well as a business centre, conference rooms and even a laundromat. Help yourself to snacks at the self-service bar or enjoy a hearty breakfast or dinner in the bar-restaurant.
Set in an 18th-century former private mansion near Passage Pommeraye, this four-star hotel has been renovated to both celebrate its historic heritage and create a quirky, contemporary experience for guests – think herds of zebra on wallpaper, tasselled chandeliers and wildly patterned pink carpets. In keeping with this approach, the 72 rooms have different styles, ranging from Art Deco to sleek minimalism. For a truly special experience, book the penthouse suite, which has an expansive private terrace overlooking the city’s rooftops.
This four-star hotel has been designed with business travellers in mind. There’s a business corner, lounges for quiet worktime and a library. The rooms – which boast a fun, futuristic design that packs plenty of functionality into a small space – are equally well equipped, with spacious desks for in-room work, lounge areas, iPhone docks, wifi access and Nespresso machines for that all-important caffeine boost. Relax after work with a complimentary Greek or Italian aperitif, which the hotel offers to guests between 6.30pm and 8.00pm.
Bed down in a piece of Nantes history at this boutique hotel, located in a 19th-century chapel. The lobby is in the old choir – beneath a vaulted ceiling and colourful stained glass windows – meanwhile, there are 24 individually designed rooms and suites, inspired by the Japanese concept of sōzō, which translates to “creation” or “to imagine”. There’s also a tranquil spa with a sauna, a hammam, an ice room and a sensory shower. Indulge in a Sōzō Spa treatment, which includes a 60-minute deep tissue massage, or if you’re feeling more active, book a personal training session.
This four-star hotel in the centre of Nantes is affiliated with the Maisons du Monde furniture and home decor brand, which has over 250 stores around Europe – so it’s no surprise that the interior design celebrates the same understated flamboyance as the store’s wares. Each room is individually decorated around a different theme, ranging from textured neutrals to boldly patterned green and black. The hotel is centrally located near the Graslin Theatre and the Place Royale, making it ideal for both leisure and business travellers. The reception can even help organise business meetings in partnership with neighbouring restaurants.
La Rivière House isn’t your average hotel – it’s a 250sqm (2,700sqft) river barge floating on the Erdre River in Nantes, transformed into a hotel by friendly owners Yannick and Rémi. The upper deck has a terrace, living room and open kitchen, while the lower deck has five bedrooms with private bathrooms, including one suitable for families. It’s surprisingly spacious and decorated with fun nautical touches, such as oars and rope knots. Guests can choose to book an individual room or take over the entire barge if travelling as a group.
In search of a romantic green escape still within easy reach of the city? This architect-designed hotel, owned by interior designer Charlotte and her husband Eric, is just 20 minutes from the city centre of Nantes yet nestled within 4,000sqm (43,000sqft) of landscaped grounds. There are four rooms and one suite, while all rooms on the ground floor have private terraces with sun loungers and umbrellas. There are also two heated pools, one indoor and one outdoor. Celebrating a special occasion? Let the owners know in advance, and they can organise chocolates, flowers and champagne for the room.
This charming three-star boutique hotel, in the historic centre of Nantes, is perfectly placed to explore the city: Opéra de Nantes, Place Graslin, the Natural History Museum, Place Royale and Passage Pommeraye are within easy walking distance. Each of the 37 rooms has been designed as a cabinet of curiosities celebrating the themes of travel and art. Fun touches, such as framed posters, pay tribute to science fiction author Jules Verne, who was born in Nantes.
Planning a visit to the Galerie des Machines Nantes, a steampunk wonderland where a life-size mechanical elephant roams? This hotel, on the banks of the Loire, is just minutes from this renowned attraction, as well as the Place du Commerce in the centre of the city. It’s been a favourite with backpackers since it opened in 1993 thanks to its affordable prices and simple yet comfortable double and triple rooms, which have private bathrooms and televisions. Cots are available if you reserve them in advance, making is suitable for families with young children, and there is also on-site bicycle storage.