Urtubie is old, very old: built in 1341 with permission from Edward III. The keep is still intact, though the roof was changed in 1654 to resemble Versailles. Your host Laurent, generous, charming, passionate about the place, is a direct descendant of Martin de Tartas who built it. Inside, all is elegant and inviting, and that includes the bedrooms, reached by a stair (or discreet lift). The first-floor ‘prestige’ rooms are light, airy, classical, imposing, and the ‘charm’ bedrooms on the second-floor are smaller. All are air-conditioned and are beautifully maintained, while bathrooms stock the family’s new range of soaps and creams made from shea butter and verbena. On the outskirts of this pretty little Basque town, a hop from the motorway (you barely hear it) and five minutes from the beach, Urtubie is a sweet retreat in fine gardens with an elegantly decked pool. Don’t imagine it’s stuffy: Laurent couldn’t be easier or more welcoming. Just walk 500m to the farm next door to eat at its Michelin-approved restaurant with views.