The Marine Cures in Trouville
The Renaissance of a Belle Époque Classic
In 1912, the two rival cities of Trouville and Deauville on the Normandy coast were all the rage as holiday destinations for French, British and Russian aristocrats who came here to ‘take the waters’. Trouville had a competitive edge over Deauville, firstly because of its magnificent location on the ‘Queen of Beaches’, and secondly because of its casino. Although this was built in a record-breaking 14 months by architect Alexandre Durville, the exquisite neo-classical casino could boast with justification of being the most sumptuous casino in the whole of France.
However, the First World War and Russian Revolution halted all holiday-making, and the Trouville casino fell into decline. As the years advanced, such was the damage caused by neglect and the extremes of the coastal weather that the estimated costs and extent of repair work to restore the 6,500 square metre colossus to its former glory seemed insurmountable.
MGallery of the Sofitel Group, together with the French Monuments Historiques association, came to the rescue.
More than a century after its creation, the Trouville-sur-Mer Marine Cures has finally reopened for business, in a magnificent restoration by architect Jean-Philippe Nuel. The architect has many famous historical renovations in his portfolio, including among others the Hotel-Dieu in Marseille and the Molitor Hotel and swimming pool in Paris.
The original decoration had been inspired by the fashion of the maritime villas of the French and English aristocracy at the turn of last century.
Nuel maintained the luxurious comfort and atmosphere of this seaside resort while adding a contemporary appeal. The selection of a grey, blue and white colour palette was self-evident, Nuel explained.
‘It expresses all the elegance of the seaside resort, both modern and timeless. The original decor was based on the fashions of the era. Moreover, its neoclassical facade was badly yellowed by time. Now, it resumes its original identity in a brilliant white enhanced by pearly grey, lending it the effect of a peninsula cast adrift between the port and the sea.’
The 5-star Cures Marines hotel, with 103 bedrooms and 7 suites, is housed in the right wing of the casino. Some vestiges of the past were integrally preserved, such as the vertiginous exposed brick wall of the bar, and the original frescoes discovered in some of the bedrooms, which were meticulously restored.
Thankfully, the redesigned thalassotherapy has no connotations of the cure-seekers of the past, single-file queues of bathing-cap wearers, shuffling towards an icy pool reeking of chlorine ! Here, all is designed for rest and relaxation. Two pools with a cozy atmosphere are separated by a wall covered with a large format photo of the sea baths of the past. The broad navy and white stripes seen everywhere are a nod to the canvas beach huts of the 1920s.
Trouville-sur-Mer Cures Marines favours personalized treatments, inviting spa
guests to disconnect and focus on themselves. Thirty-two individual treatment rooms and four suites are spread over two levels, and equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.
Here, the therapeutic virtues of seawater are combined with innovative techniques of well-being such as Cures Marines Trouville’s flagship programme, ‘Elixir de Jouvence’ which combines oxygenation through sports, sessions of respiration (yes, it can be relearned!), regeneration of the body through treatments based on Filorga’s high-tech Skin Perfusion protocols, and then, of course, a detoxification and anti-oxidant diet programme.
During our stay, the cuisine was orchestrated by David Drans, a former pupil of Alain Ducasse. While being nutritionally correct, it is no less delicious for that! Here, the detox diet remains faithful to gastronomic codes. The Chef’s cuisine, based mainly on local products, was astonishing inventive and light. (This is Normandy, the home of cream, cheese and butter!). Meanwhile, a new chef has arrived. Johan Thiriot seems ready to continue the style of the restaurant. We look forward to discovering his interpretations.
In terms of skincare products, there are two ranges; the exclusive Aquascience range, Thalassa Sea & Spa, whose principle component is sea water, acts on the essential functions of the skin metabolism, which are elasticity and firmness.
The Cures Marines de Trouville also offer treatments based on gems and precious stones! Gemology delivers the pure and powerful benefits of trace elements from the heart of the minerals, protected from any pollution. Ruby, sapphire, quartz, pearl, diamond or hematite, each stone distills its benefits onto the skin.
Two and a half years of intensive work and a budget of 40 million euros were necessary for the rebirth of this seaside legend, which resurrects the Marine Cures of the Belle Époque in a magnificent contemporary version.