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Hotel Sozo Hotel Hotel 4 star
Easyexperts
16 rue Frédéric Cailliaud - Nantes Nantes, France -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

Nantes' latest hotel is in a category of its own. In a converted 19th century chapel, the Sozo Hotel is a place where the unusual does not take away from the comfort. With its bold design, we recommend trying this hotel at least once, if only out of curiosity.

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    • Hotel Sozo Hotel

      Sozo Hotel   -   © Carlos Rodrigues / EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel Sozo Hotel

      Sozo Hotel   -   © Carlos Rodrigues / EASYVOYAGE

       
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    Location 6.32 /10

    The Sozo Hotel stands 250m from the northern entrance of the railway station, facing the botanical garden (which shouldn't be missed if you have time during the day; have a drink and a bite to eat at the 'Café de l'Orangerie', in front of the greenhouses).
    The cathedral is 700m away, the castle is 800m away and the Bouffay district and Nantes' city centre are just before you. The closest airport shuttle stop is at the 'gare sud' (south train station), 500m from the hotel passing underneath the station.

    Accommodation 8.50 /10

    The 28 guest rooms are divided into 3 categories spread over 4 storeys. The standard rooms are called 'experience'. Measuring 18 to 22m², they correspond to a French 4-star hotel with, for amenities, room service available 24/7, an iPod dock/alarm/radio/lamp, large flat-screen TV with cable channels, tea and coffee-making facilities, a hair dryer and a safe, etc. The intermediate category, the 'temptation' rooms, only measure 16 to 19m² but have a partly vaulted ceiling. Finally, the 'seduction' rooms (24 to 26m²) offer a few little extras (bathrobes, separate toilets, a stocked mini-bar, etc.) and especially a fabulous location in this atypical hotel with arches and stained glass: permanent reminders that this building was indeed once a chapel.
    Indeed, this is what is most interesting about the hotel. The 'experience' rooms, albeit very comfortable, have nothing left to remind you of this fact, while the 'temptation' rooms, with their exposed arches and the allure of their stained glass windows, won't let you forget it until you check out.
    Throughout, though, the omnipresent white and carefully chosen furniture consisting of great design classics (Philippe Stark and Ron Arad armchairs, Ingo Maurer chandeliers, etc.) work with the original design to create a voluntary neutrality. The building's strong character led Benoit Boiteau to create a refined style. There is a touch of fun, nevertheless, with the few black and white pictures on the walls that show the evolution of the hotel's construction. A splendid idea.
    Finally, to top it all of, although the chapel may have lost its spiritual purpose, the Sozo Hotel has remained a real haven of peace.

    Overview 7.70 /10

    It all began in 2009 with a strange real estate listing: 19th century chapel for sale. Searching for somewhere to create their own hotel at the time, Benoit Boiteau and Adeline Louvel jumped into the adventure: transforming a religious building into a design hotel. One of France's listed buildings and classified as Nantes Heritage, the chapel belonged to the religious congregation of the Filles de la Sagesse ('Girls of Wisdom') and was sold at the same time as the adjoining school (which was demolished and replaced by a residence). All of the difficulty laid in creating a hotel inside without changing anything on the outside. The goal was to preserve the beautiful volume of the interior space while integrating 28 rooms, a lift and a stairwell. After 3 years of designing and a year and a half of construction, the inauguration in April 2012 went off without a hitch. The Sozo still looks like any other chapel from the outside. However, as soon as you enter, it is a visual shock. You enter the hotel through the back of the chapel and the lobby is located in the apse. The most impressive room in the Sozo, it is the only one in which you can really see just high how the building is from inside. The effect is reinforced by a façade of mirrors that reflect the stained glass windows facing it. A series of four large format photographs by Chinese artist Wang Yang and the colourful armchairs by Peter Paulin complete this very original and stylish reception/bar.

    From the reception, take one step to the side and you're in the breakfast room. A room that stretches out lengthwise and that is totally neutral despite its Charles Eames chairs, it is half-sunken, just like the guest rooms that are located on the ground floor. There is absolutely no feeling of being in a chapel.

    Food and drink

    Breakfast is served buffet-style in the room adjacent to the reception (which is also a licensed bar reserved for hotel guests). Cheese, eggs and dairy products by the famous Beillevère cheese producer, smoked salmon, bacon, ham, pastries, fresh seasonal fruit, three types of bread? in short, a splendid menu. Unfortunately, the price of the meal does reflect the quality and quantity: £11.

    To know

    The Sozo Hotel is a member of the French hotel group 'Hôtels & Préférence'.

    Wi-Fi access is free throughout the hotel.

    There is free private parking on-site.

    Equipment

    • Shuttle bus
    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Animals allowed
    • Meeting room

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10