Hotel Amiral: Creativity, culture and community in Nantes
Text: Hannah Jane Thompson | Photos: Hotel Amiral Nantes
In today’s world of room rental platforms such as Airbnb, successful hotels must work ever harder to offer guests that ‘home away from home’ feeling. – Luckily for Hotel Amiral, in the heart of the French city of Nantes (Pays de la Loire), this is what it does best.
For all its city convenience, the 49-bedroom hotel is cosy, and run with care by respectful staff with deep local knowledge. General manager Nadine Witczak has been here since the hotel opened in 1988, and much of the team has worked here for almost as long, making them perfectly-placed to help guests personally.
And there is much to see – all within walking distance. Formerly overlooked as an industrial port, Nantes is now an international tourism destination, with a thriving arts and culture scene, and a major low-cost airline hub. Highlights include the majestic Château des Ducs de Bretagne; the articulated Jules Verne-esque Machines de l’Ile de Nantes; the Arbre aux Hérons project coming in 2022; the Passage Pommeraye; the gothic Cathedral; the romantic Bateaux Nantais; and historic monument and brasserie La Cigale.
The hotel itself is also just one of six to have a ‘Chambre d’Artiste’ bedroom, created with tourist office Voyage à Nantes (VAN). Designed by Japanese artist and Nantes resident Makiko Furuichi, the room symbolises the city’s creativity and international appeal. “We wanted to put artwork in the street, to reach the greatest number of people,” says Witczak. “Nantes is waking up to how much it has to offer.” And not a year goes by without the hotel considering its future.
For example, it is now proud to serve a breakfast with 90 per cent organic and local products, and is committed to being as eco-friendly and modern as possible. “Last year was about culture. It was fabulous,” explains Witczak. ”I expect next year to be just as rich.”
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