An extraordinary chateau, designed for a Victorian mineral water magnate by a crazy but stylish Bavarian architect. Built at the top of the hill with a long drive wandering down through the forest to the spa town of Val des Bains, via suitably spooky iron gates straight out a film set...
The building was decaying in the hands of IBM before being sold to its amazing owners - Marie-Antionette, an incredibly friendly, efficient and charming women who will welcome you like a long lost friend and Eric - an uber-accomplished chef, formerly part of Michel Roux's team in London, with an eye for fine local wines (don't miss the evening meal - offered by arrangement). Together they have restored the building in all its glory with subtle modern twists, in keeping with the original, including a delicious pool from which to admire the architect's daring.
The atmosphere is intimate, something akin to a weekend house party, in which guests mingle and conversation flows easily. The homely atmosphere is accentuated by your hosts children, which is another secret of this place - it is somewhere where children (well behaved of course) are welcomed and parents can enjoy a level of style, comfort and indulgence usually denied by such establishments.
Plenty to do in the area, including "canyoning" 15 mins away for the ultimate thrill (search You Tube for "canyoning Ardeche" for a taste). We stayed 4 nights in August and will be back for more. I signed up to Tripadviser to leave a review as I was so impressed. Please don't book all the rooms !
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