Firstly, the location. As a beach resort La Tranche Sur Mer is to be recommended with a modernised centre and a good range of shops, bars and restaurants aimed at the holiday / tourist trade. The jewel in the crown is wonderful flat and wide beach with soft golden sand running all round the bay to La Griere.
The hotel is prominently located in La Griere Plage which is no more than a 5 minute drive from La Tranche centre and a gentle walk of perhaps 10 minutes onto the excellent beach. Local shops, including a small supermarket, are near to hand and able to supply most holiday requirements.
Hotel de la Mer is a substantial independent property and very much geared to the summer holiday season. There are a number of inviting terraced area's for dining or just relaxing and these are complimented by a covered pool (too small during peak season I suspect) a spa (which she who must be obeyed tells me was good) and a fitness facility which I cannot comment on. There are two car parks (one on each end of the property) and while I understood these to be secure I don't think I ever saw the gates closed. The staff were excellent, friendly and welcoming.
The accommodation I found rather disappointing. There appeared to be no unifying décor or style. While this can sometimes be excused as quaint I'm afraid I thought it something of a tired and dated hotch potch. Furnishings (cupboards, vanitory units and robes) seemed to be MDF flat pack units although, in fairness, they did provide for ample storage.
On registering we were offered to upgrade to a superior room which we did. The room was of reasonably generous size but filled with too much uncoordinated furniture. The en-suite was fitted with a double bowl vanity unit and full width mirror. A shower cubicle was fitted into a dark corner but with an excellent power shower. There was an hair dryer provided but curiously there was not a hook in the place! A separate w.c. was provides as were a small safe and a fridge. There was no in room tea or coffee. One needed the art of the locksmith to open the door to the room which usually delayed me for several minutes and almost defeated one of the cleaning staff. The bed was comfortable, the room clean but the linen a little grey.
I found there was nothing in the rather limited menu to set the juices flowing and I suspect this reflected a kitchen more used to serving high throughput during the season. I'm afraid to say that the breakfast, at 10 euro, was simply inadequate and a very poor affair compared with my usual experience in France. That said the coffee was excellent.
Our three night and two breakfast stay came to 322 euro (two spa treatments an extra 112 euro and dinners at cost) and for late September I do not regard this as good value at all. Perhaps things are better at the start of the season but I'm afraid it won't be me to find out.
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