For some reason, we always overlooked Chateau de Courcelles for a quick breakaway out of town (Paris). Probably seemed a little remote or lost, with not much to see around, despite decent price tags for a Relais & Chateaux member.
We are sorry we just did that for well over 20 years, as we had an exquisite time ! OK, there is just a little room for improvement, but it seems that the new GM is taking charge. At a certain level, value is in details. Each detail counts.
For our party of four, we had booked 2 packages 'Amour de Champagne', at a cost of 670 euros per package, inclusive of Junior SUite accommodation, flowers to take away, welcome amenity, one bottle of Champagne, and 6-course taster menu with wines. Seemes like good value. ANd proced out to be good value.
RESERVATION : easy process, that we did over the phone, with an extremely amicable attendant. We could choose the rooms we wanted. They even called back, to ask if we wanted to improve, within the same class.
LOCATION : admittedly in the middle of nowhere. Understand very quiet. Yet anything is within a short and easy drive. Plenty to see, visit, and keep you busy for some days : Reims, Soissons, Laon, WW1 sites. The chateau sits close to the main road, which you can't see nor hear. And it is about a 90-minute drive from Paris, on a road that won't be stuck on a sunday night, unlike A4 or A13.
CHECK-IN : the drive through the grounds take you to the back courtyard. We stopped, reversed, parked, stopped, stepped out, unloaded the car. Still no one to help us. We dragged our bags to a smallish check-in counter. That's only there that someone acknowledged our luggage, adking if you could use some help. Well, at that point, we were done. While bellman carries our stuff to the rooms, we were given a tour of the chateau and grounds.
ROOM 18 & 19 : those 2 Junior Suites, on the upper floor of the stables, would easily qualify as suites in their own rights in many, many place I have experienced. they both feature a separate living room, a bed room, decent if not huge bathroom, ample closet space. And full beams on the ceiling. Opulent style of decoration, matching the chateau's architecture. Certainly nowhere close to modern, but why would anyone seek for contemporary designer's style in that kind of building is beyond my grasp. Everything worked perfectly. I could have used a stronger, and problably newer matress, through. Separate shower stall in the bathroom, rare enough to be mentionned in that kind of hotel. Molton Brown amenities.
GROUNDS : enjoying a glorious weather, as we did, vastly contributed to making this week-end a hit. Enjoying the grounds is part of the fun. Large, shaded body of water to walk. Nice infinity pool to lounge by. Lovely gardens.
DINNER : we had a lovely table in the newer addition. As we enjoyed a lengthy glass of Champagne (or 4) al fesco before dinner, we were last to sit for dinner and the 6-course set menu with wine pairings. I particularly dislike long dinners. That one was quick enough, but we never felt rushed. Food was delicious, with especially fine langoustines and a fabulous John Dory, with a spectacular mint + anchovy dressing. Food was plentiful, and we left the table stuffed.
BREAKFAST : buffet, with side orders of egg dishes included. ALthough that was included in our package, we found the 20 euro face value a bargain. Food is fresh, delicious, replenished. Come on guys, 10 euros buy you coffee a croissant and juice on a TGV train !
SERVICE : good overall, with the odd glitches. The lack of bellman upon check-in was one. An order of water before dinner never came. No towels at the pool. No pool service as such. On the other hand, some special requests were met quickly and gracefully : a shoe horn, a fan to be set up in one of the rooms getting warm, ... Some of the staff seem a little uncomfortable with guests in a high end hotel. Relax, guys ! Side note : I would feel uncomfortable myself, dealing with anyone, if I had to wear the ridiculous, generally oversized, and bordering humiliating uniform, that has been forced upon them. Mr. Potdevin, please do something, whatever that might be, to ease that burden ... !
OVERALL EXPERIENCE : reading some of the reviews, I feared that Chateau de Courcelles might be faded or worn. This is an old place, of which modern amenities should not be expected. But the the upkeep is generally good, and certainly improving. Some details, like old shades on chandeliers, that I pointed to the GM when we came to talk, were already in the process of being fixed. This new GM, very recently hired, seems to be an asset to the place, aware of the value (details, details, details) that should be delivered to provide an awesome experience.
Thanks for a lovely time, and keep up !
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This elegant 17th-century chateau, set amongst manicured gardens, offers guests fine dining and an outdoor swimming pool. It is located in the village of Courcelles-sur-Vesle, in the heart of the Picardy region, a 30-minute drive from Reims.With high ceilings and ornate furnishings, guest rooms offer views of the surrounding gardens. Each room is equipped with a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi access and complimentary toiletries in the en suite bathroom.A French fine dining experience can be enjoyed in the historic dining room with wooden beams, or in the conservatory with views of the gardens. Chateau de Courcelles boasts a wine cellar with 1000 wine references, as well as 250 types of champagne.In addition to relaxing in the sauna. There is also a tennis court on site and an option of 3 jogging routes within the chateau's gardens. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chateau De Courcelles Hotel Courcelles-Sur-Vesle
- Chateau De Courcelles Sur Vesles