Having discovered this gem on our last trip 2 years ago, then subsequently outdone by our daughter in the room stakes this was a "must try again" on our Tour De France. It is a bit off the beaten path but is connected to a spa so there is always the potential for justifying the trip on the needs of ones health. We were greeted at reception and despite turning up early our room was made available immediately. It was on the second floor but there is a lift to get you onto that level...it just wasn't big enough for us, our suitcase and the receptionist so she used the stairs. No fuss!
The room was simply huge with an immense bed with a small canopy over. The furniture was all appropriate to the room (see photo), and great big ceiling beams. There was a large cupboard for hanging our cloths, a chest of drawers, a separate writing table, a circular table in the centre of the room for all your bits and pieces. Two french windows with Juliet balconies overlook the square at the front of the hotel. The loo was at one end of the room and the shower room at the opposite end with a sink and bidet. Toiletries were of a good standard, towels a little skimpy. There was however a large towel drying affair on the wall rather like an industrial hairdryer, but very practical for those being drenched in the spa nextdoor (spraying you with hoses seems the local sport.) Wifi is good but you need to get the access code from reception.
On the same (2nd Floor) level is a small gym; just looking at the exercise machines seemed like enough effort to us. Also on this level is the sun terrace where there is also a "heated" pool. Really a plunge pool and "heated" may be true in the strictly scientific sense in so far as they seem to have extracted the heat. Bracing I think might descibe it best but very refreshing.
The terrace is set above a beautiful courtyard garden (see photo) that makes some suggestions that it may once have been part of a religious community with a shrine for those seeking devine intervention to assist their problems with fertility. The Tilla Mint tree is said to date from 1529.
Dinner is served in a lovely room. The carefully crafted fabric covers disguise some plastic (and surprisingly comfortable) garden chairs maintaining the overall style. There are just the two staff both of whom we have met on our previous visit and both of significant seniority. They are both excellent and could show up many half their age and provide (as we experienced previously) prompt and excellent service. I do hope they are training up some younger folk to be at least half as good as them for the sake of the continued good service this place provides or maybe I am unestimating the positive benefits of the health spa nextdoor.
Kirs are accompanied by nice smoked salmon toasties. The amuse bouche is a salmon mousse with parley and chives. Mrs L enjoys a hot seafood mousse with langoustine sauce for starters while I tuck into a mussel soup with celery, leek, carrot, onion, croutons and gruyere cheese; delicious.The coq-au-vin my good lady has is hearty and though very tasty, very dense and impossible to finish. I try a piece and agree. Half the amount would have been prefect but generosity is not bad quality. I have the beef in a wine and mushroom sauce. These are accompanied with beans and tempura potatoes, which are light and lovely. The cheese board selection is good and we sample a Countess of Bourgogne (soft and creamy), a chevre (light and delicate) a campagnia (robust and flavoursome) and a St Nectaire (just what you'd expect). For dessert Mrs L has a Red Fruit with a Fromage Frait while I enjoy a iced soulfe with Gran Marnier and Kumquots (I think). Delicious. This was all washed down by a St Pourcain Secret de Jaligny 2009 (a local wine).
A great night's sleep was followed by a good breakfast. The breakfast room is a pleasant little affair overlooking the courtyard garden. The croissants were large and fairly fresh (good for a Monday). Coffee came from a machine that was easy to operate. Orange juice came from another dispenser. The preserves were all in large pots from which you could help yourself. Fresh fruit was also available.
Overall a very satisfactory and pleasant stay but our daughter still crows about her even larger room overlooking the courtyard. We will have to try again and defeat her.
Don't go for the cheapest option unless your budget is tight.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC