In my previous 2 France blogs you could have read everything about our 10 day road trip to 3 of the most authentic regions of NorthWest France. We drove there from The Hague with a few stops in Normandy and Brittany, a city trip stay in Nantes, finalized by several nights stay in the Vendée region at 2 very stylish and unique hotels.
As promised I would still write about all of our favourite hotels of this trip, so here goes!
As you might know by now, from my previous blogs about the 80+ unique hotels we stayed at over the past years, we always look for luxurious, but also special hotels, with a unique story, design, history and heritage, and that's exactly what we found during this trip as well!
Besides the classy Le Donjon - Domaine Saint Clair castle hotel we stayed at in Étretat, about which you can read all in this blog. We also stayed at 4 really authentic, yet chic hotels during our last week in France, which I'm happy to share with you through many of my pics as always.
The first one is situated just outside Nantes in the historic resort on the Atlantic coast:
This place will transport you back to the early 20’s when casino business magnate François André decided to redesign La Baule by combining casinos, luxury hotels and sports facilities all on in one place, which made la Baule a fashionable seaside resort.
The chique shops, historic villa’s, quintessential casino and mondain atmosphere, but most importantly the nicest beach of the French west coast, the 9 km long Bay of La Baule with endless views and wide variety of activities, make La Baule the perfect holiday destination.
We stayed there in of the prestigious mansions by the sea:
Barrière Hotel Le Royal
This historic building is part of the Barrière Hotel group, with 16 different luxury hotels throughout France, of which no less than 3 located in La Baule, all of 4 or 5 star level.
We stayed in the 40 m2 Junior Sea View Suite with its own spacious balcony terrace overlooking the resort grounds, facing the sea. The spacious room with new interior design, stylish furniture, silky fabrics, white, beige and blue tones creates a unique ambiance. Along with its spacious bathroom, abundant amenities and balcony with convertible armchairs and umbrella, this room provided everything we needed to completely relax and feel pampered.
We really enjoyed the classy atmosphere of this historic hotel with a multitude of facilities and a hospitality and service level that is truly 5 star-worthy. With plenty of activities offered, 2 large pools, their renowned Thalasso & Spa, wellness and fitness centre, and several bars and restaurants, Le Royal La Baule certainly deserves a spot in the top 10 of hotels we stayed at so far!
Next to a lunch or dinner at their beachside seafood restaurant, dinner at their in-house restaurant with large terrace is certainly recommended as well, as you can see here:
Restaurant Le Fouquet’s
Serving regional specialties and healthy options, but also a casual Caesar Salad or fresh seafood in a classy, yet relaxed atmosphere.
Find out more on their own website and book directly for the best rates, however do note that this hotel will be closed from November 25th 2019 until February 28th 2020: HotelsBarriere-La- Baule-Le Royal.
A city trip to Nantes could not be missed during this trip, and is just a 1 hour drive away from the coast. You can read why this artistic city is a must in my previous blog. And if you go, a stay at this historic hotel in the center of Nantes is a good choice:
Oceania Hotel de France
This characteristic accommodation is one of the 26 hotels of the French Oceania Hotels group. A family hotel chain with strong Breton roots that tries to stay unique by designing tailor made spaces in each venue, and by avoiding the standards of hotel chains.
We found the Hotel de France in Nantes a reliable and decent city hotel and certainly worthy of its 4 star standard. Situated in a unique building, dating back to the 18th century, this former private mansion is ideally situated on the Place Graslin, right across from the renowned La Cigale restaurant, next to the Opera and just a few steps away from the stunning Passage Pommeraye.
The recent renovation ensured the modern comforts of this city hotel and its 72 rooms, all while maintaining the building’s historic character with Art Deco touches, its impressive entrance, stunning lobby and staircase, but also a lift, fitness room and stylish bar.
Find out more on their own website: Oceania-Hotel de France-Nantes
If you want to combine a city trip with the more quaint French countryside and villages, I would certainly recommend to drive on to the Vendée region, like we did. And also stay at these other 2 authentic, yet very chic hotels, of which the first is located in Montaigu, just 25 minutes from Nantes:
Le Celadon B&B
This stunning Vendéen mansion, built in 1874, is surrounded by a spacious garden park with ancient trees, a pond, Jacuzzi and wonderful private pool with spacious pool house. The charming guesthouse has been owned by a family of notaries for 4 generations and was carefully restored by the recent owners during the past years, while maintaining the historic details, transforming their home into a 4 star-worthy Bed & Breakfast with just 4 guestrooms.
Sophie Denis, the super friendly owner, wonderful host and lady of the house, has lovingly decorated each room of the house with many unique details, antique furniture, souvenirs and treasures found during their own travels the past decades, which immediately impresses upon arrival.
The 1st and 2nd floors offer 4 charming double bedrooms, and a large private living room for the use of Celadon’s guests. Although the rooms are all uniquely decorated in a typical French style, with lovely atmosphere, mostly garden views and a private bathroom, do note that there is just 1 toilet per floor for the rooms to share, and there’s no lift.
Get a small impression of the unique décor and design of the rooms to understand why this guesthouse was granted a 5 star review by the prestigious Le Figaro magazine:
We truly enjoyed the tranquil moments by the modern pool house and the wonderful spacious garden with several terraces. All perfect to enjoy those stunning sunsets here and the delicious French-style breakfasts, served every morning on the outdoor terrace will be hard to forget.
Le Celadon is very quiet, yet ideally located in the historical Montaigu town center, just a 5 minute walk from the ancient town’s ramparts.
They offer bicycles for their guests to explore the surroundings, as the accommodation is very centrally located in the Vendée Valley, near other quaint towns and historical sites, like the Logis de la Chabotterie, about which you can read more in my previous blog.
But also just 35 kms from the historical theme park Le Puy de Fou, elected Best Park in the World several times, making this the perfect place to stay for both families and couples. Or tourists that just want to see more of this authentic region and stay in comfort and tranquility in a stylish, yet welcoming French guesthouse with character.
Find out more on their own website and book directly for the best rates: Le Celadon.
From here we drove 30 minutes on to the east for a few nights stay at the only 5 star hotel in Vendée:
Château Boisniard in Chambretaud
This castle hotel has 27 rooms, all very different and fully equipped with everything you might need and can expect from a 5 star hotel. Offering a multitude of facilities; a tennis court, heated outdoor pool, indoor swimming pool with steam room, Jacuzzi, gym and beauty center.
The castle, dating back to 1407, combines the luxury of a 5 star hotel well with the charm of the Vendéen countryside. And is also an official partner of the Puy de Fou theme park, located just 6 kms from the hotel. You can even book a room at Château Boisniard with breakfast including tickets for the Grand Parc with Emotion Pass + tickets for Cinescenie with VIP seats and VIP parking.
Instead of staying in one of the château rooms we chose 'the Houses in the Woods', wooden houses on stilts, spread out over the spacious castle grounds, literally in the woods! We slept in the ‘in the Mood for Love’, a Junior Wood Suite with entrance on the ground level and a private parking space.
The house is individually located facing the forest park with a spacious private balcony, to ensure that you can fully relax and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings, providing a direct look into the wildlife of the château’s grounds.
Our room had a unique oriental décor fully made out of natural chestnut wood with a Chinese inspired woven bamboo design, romantic oval bathtub and spacious bathroom with comfortable hydro massage shower. Get an impression through this gallery:
The grounds include an extensive bird sanctuary with big variety of birds, wallabies, emus and other unique animals spread out over the premises, following in the footsteps of the previous owners’ passion for animals.
The castle holds a turbulent history of over 600 years, being owned by many noble families in the past centuries. In 2005 the current owners have renovated and restored the Château du Boisniard to its original noble state, and turned it into a hotel, while adding the 10 ‘Houses in the Woods‘ just 14 years ago.
At the same time ‘La Table du Boisniard‘ was also added with the goal to make this hotel a leader in the art of French living, providing everything you need to stay in luxury, class and comfort. We really enjoyed our stay and dinner at this gastronomic restaurant, and can therefore highly recommend it:
Restaurant la Table du Boisniard
The rising star at this fine-dining restaurant is the relatively young chef Valentin Morice, known for his divine flavor combinations and visually pleasing dishes, making dinner a real treat as you can see in this gallery:
It’s no wonder that they were granted 3 forks in the Michelin Guide of 2019 and are listed in the French ‘Tables et Auberges’ guide.
A refined gastronomic experience with local products, and pairing of organic wines, selected by their very hospitable sommelier, should not be missed, whether you're staying overnight or not. Find out more on their own website: ChateauBoisniard
If you’re looking for more tips and inspiration for your own visit or road trip through France you can also check the website of: France Tourism.
I hope I was able to inspire your visit to Europe, France and these unique regions, but feel free to ask me for more tips here or on my social media accounts, via the buttons below.