The Royal Barrière is a very similar product to its seafront sister the Normandy: a comparable décor (possibly a tad more old worldy), matching grandeur and the same standards of service and amenities and an equally enviable location. The difference is mainly in the clientele, with the hotel being geared more towards foreigners and couples than Parisians and families (though of course both are very welcome). But the Royal does have one up on its sister properties in the accommodation and restaurant categories with substantially larger rooms and the only Michelin-starred eatery in Deauville. All types of traveller will find their calling here.
The Royal Barrière is situated on Boulevard Eugène Cornuche, close to the seafront. It is in the heart of the town and is surrounded by many shops, restaurants and bars while the Barrière casino is just next door. The train station, Trouville-Deauville, is a 10-minute walk away while the airport of Deauville-St. Gatien is 15 minutes away by road.
The Royal was opened just a year after the Normandy just next door, in 1913 and was part of the early development of Deauville as a destination for Parisian holiday-makers. The property closes its doors every year between the months of November and February during which time it carries out necessary renovations which explains the excellent condition of the hotel. Although the company has its roots in Normandy, it is possibly best known for owning the Georges V hotel on Paris's Champs Elysées, which is considered by many to be one of the finest hotels in the world. Guests at the Normandy are entitled to a reduction on the green fees at the golf course at Golf Barrière.
There are two entrances to the Royal, but as with the Normandy, to fully appreciate the typical Anglo-Normand architecture, an arrival at the main entrance is advised. The exterior of the building is painted cream with hints of terracotta in the form of squares of brickwork and false beams higher up the building. The grandiose lobby features a marble floor and peach-coloured columns supporting a high ceiling from which are suspended chandeliers. Punctuating the space are various flower and plant arrangements (some of which rise out of circular banquettes) as well as classical Greek-style statues on plinths. The bulk of the central space is filled with gaudy yet comfortable armchairs and sofas, each cluster of seating with a table. As is the case at the other Barrières, the merchandising displays and advertisements for events at the hotel are an eyesore.
One of the biggest attractions of this hotel (and one that is shared with the other Barrière properties) is the famous Casino Barrière de Deauville. Situated just next door, this huge complex comprises every type of gaming table, slot machines, poker rooms as well as a selection of restaurants, bars and a nightclub. Every month there is a special show in addition to off-events such as bridge tournaments and jazz concerts.
Also shared with the Normandy are the wellness facilities which comprise a sauna, hammam and massage rooms. You'll receive a complimentary drink upon entering the centre and can also take advantage of the well-equipped fitness room and smart changing rooms. There is a relaxation room where you can unwind before and after your treatment as well as a room where guests can top up on their tan with UV rays. Those wanting to look their best for a special dinner can head to the Jacques Dessange hairdressing salon. On the second floor of the hotel is a solarium with a view where drinks are also served (but no food).
The hotel boasts a heated (28°C all year round) outdoor swimming pool surrounded by sun loungers and tables and chairs. The pool is of a decent size and there is plenty of space for guests to laze around and relax with a drink. When the weather permits, a buffet is held at lunchtimes during July and August and a bar is set up too serving refreshments.
Over at the neighbouring Normandy, young guests have access to the Club Diwi & Co. Here the little ones (ages 4-12) can spend the whole day getting creative with art, writing, costume design, gardening, cooking and lots more (open during Parisian school holidays and the weekend). For those under the age of four there is a dedicated animator who will occupy the kids during the same period as the Club Diwi & Co and who can also babysit upon request. All of these services come at an extra charge. Kids may also be interested in the weekend horse-drawn carriage tours of Deauville, although these are by no means limited to the youngest clients.
The vast public spaces are all in impeccable condition and getting to your room is simple (if not a little lengthly sometimes). There are several lifts servicing all floors and you'll find on some of the landings sideboards with Chinese lamps, armchairs and silk covered walls. The members of staff we came across were all extremely courteous and of course bilingual. For those guests needing to get onto the internet, there is wifi throughout the hotel (10? for 24h) as well as a business centre.
The 252 Jacques Garcia-designed guest rooms and suites are extremely spacious and well-appointed with various views over the pool, the sea and inland to Cabourg and Trouville. The style of the rooms, despite having been renovated by the well-known designer, remain classic and may not be to everyone's taste, the décor being made up largely of floral motifs and pastel colours.
The standard room (or classic as it's called at the Royal) has a well-dressed queen bed with plaid and short headboard. Either side is a simple bedside table with telephone. To one corner you'll find a dressing table while other furniture in the room includes a desk with dial up internet point, a small cupboard containing the minibar and snacks and a large wardrobe in which you'll find a safe, shoe kit and bathrobes and slippers. Other amenities include a flatscreen television and, in some cases, a balcony with loungers and a table and chairs. The bathroom boasts a bathtub with monsoon shower (although no shower curtain), make-up mirror, hairdryer and personalised toiletries. The guestrooms in the higher categories are slightly larger but have essentially the same amenities only with slightly different décor. Differences include the size of the bed and the presence of a few extra pieces of furniture or a double vanity in the bathroom.
There are five different suites available each with a dedicated living area (separate in most cases) and of course a larger surface area. Some of these suites enjoy a balcony and sea views while the presidential and royal suites boast dressing rooms with the latter also having a dining room.
Côté Royal is the hotel's impressive dining room, complete with chandeliers, drapes and exquisitely laid tables and their comfortable armchairs. The traditional style in the décor is mirrored in the cuisine with a typical French menu offered on Friday to Sunday (lunch at the weekend, dinner Frida y and Saturday or every night during the summer). Guests have the option of choosing à la carte or the Royal Menu priced at 48.50? which includes three courses.
The real pull though on the food front is L'Etrier, the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Deauville. Open for lunch at the weekends and for dinner every night, the restaurant offers a more refined, seasonal cuisine with the talented Eric Provost at the helm. Again, guests can choose to dine either à la carte or to take one of the fixed menus with or without drinks. L'Etrier boasts a fine terrace and outdoor dining area on the perfect lawn just outside the huge picture windows and its intimate bar specialises in champagnes. In the summer, a pianist comes to entertain guests at weekends.
La Fermette (located over at the Normandy) is a special restaurant just for children. Set up in one of the hotel's meeting rooms at the weekend and during the Parisian school holidays, it offers a special menu just for kids and there is a dedicated waiter to serve them too!
For those preferring to dine 'al fresco' there are two options in the form of the Bar de la Mer and the Bar du Soleil both on the seafront, just seconds from the hotel, and both serving traditional breakfasts and lunches. Open every day of the week.
Hotel reviews based on comfort, location and price ratings of its categories
Hotel reviews based on its services and facilities.
Mark out of 10 for geographical location