Architect and designer Jean-Philippe Nuel has completed the new Hotel Villa Koegui and its onsite restaurant, Le Carré, in the heart of historic Bayonne in the French Basque countryside. Designed in collaboration with architect Bernard Signoret, the new 43-room retreat honors local heritage while also gazing toward the future. Nuel and Signoret drew upon the tradition of Peñas, which promotes gathering and the exchange of shared passions.

“The ambition was to give the Peñas a contemporary interpretation, accessible to all through the cherished themes of Basque culture: music, gastronomy, art, and sports,” Nuel says. “A contemporary hotel must voluntarily be part of its local environment—a guest may discover it as a stranger but, on arriving, they are entirely immersed in the surrounding city. The Villa Koegui and the Carré bear witness to this encounter between modernity and an open path to the past.”

The hotel’s contemporary façade greets visitors with a nod to the city’s half-timbered buildings, which echo the architectural traditions of the shipbuilding industry. Bayonnaise-style parquet floors line the interior to showcase local craftsmanship as well.

Public spaces instill a striking sense of place with more than 600 artworks, from both past and present, that allude to the region. Curated by Villa Koegui owner and vintage book purveyor, the hotel library on the first floor adds a personalized touch to the property, while the central bar is detailed with multicolored garland to infuse a joyful conviviality.

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