Château de Montcaud may have only entered the hotel game last year, but it’s got a whole lot of history. It lies in the heart of a five-hectare park and was built by silk trader Alexandre Eugène Collain in 1848. Set in the gorgeous Cèze Valley, off the beaten track in the French countryside, it’s the perfect hideaway.
Simplicity leads the way. Stroll around the park to see gorgeous flowers and plants, play tennis, swim – the outdoor pursuits are where it’s at. One day, we cycle around on complimentary bikes, getting blissfully lost. It is a family-run property and feels truly personal – Rolf Bertschi, the owner, really went above and beyond to make us feel welcome. He creates wonderful experiences for guests – from fragrance creation and wine tasting to walking tours, nothing is too much trouble in order to give an unforgettable stay.
It’s worth renting a car for this trip, in order to explore the surrounding areas. While there is little to note nearby on foot, a car gives access to small local art galleries, Avignon and the Palais des Papes or the Pont du Gard, two of the many UNESCO Heritage Sites in the area.
Back at the hotel, food is exemplary. There are two restaurants to choose from, fine dining and a casual bistro. The former is located in what used to be the stables and there, we enjoyed the very best of French cuisine – the chef even kindly removed all dairy for me, without compromising on taste or indulgence. The sommelier matched local wines to each dish, exposing us to some wonderful varieties, and when possible, ingredients are sourced from the immediate vicinity – think plenty of fresh fish and shellfish alongside top-quality meat from local butchers.
The menu dégustation changes regularly, or you can go a la carte. The Bistro is perfect for a light lunch under the sycamore trees, with menu highlights including duck confit salad, moules et frites and an artisanal ice cream cup. It’s also worth timing your stay around the Sunday jazz brunch. It is a sumptuous buffet, served under chestnut trees to the sound of local musicians – it runs until September, and is not to be missed.
There are just 29 bedrooms and suites at Chateau de Montcaud and ours feels like a relaxing sanctuary, complete with high ceilings and gorgeous garden views. The hotel has worked with local interior architect Sophie Petit, so rooms feel utterly homogenous with the landscape. Soft colours and plenty of natural light lead the way, with a decorative silk panel above the bed paying homage to the hotel’s origins. Bathrooms comes with mod cons such as rain showers, and for some lucky guests, beautiful chandeliers.
In a nutshell…
Come to Chateau de Montcaud for total privacy and fine dining, and to experience a wonderful old chateau, with modern twists. You’ll never want to leave.
Nightly rates at Château De Montcaud start from £147 based on two people sharing a room on a B&B basis.
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