A handsome 19th century building on a minor road out of Montrichard; charming comfortable bedrooms with clean and modern en suite facilities; plenty of cupboard space; traditional furnishings; not much in the way of flat screen TVs etc. Outside: well groomed lawns and a modestly sized pool (which we did not use, but which seemed to be popular with children and teenagers).
The clientele: some Dutch, some French, some English; very much a hotel for families. Charming, friendly and informal management, always willing to help with taxis, hairdryers etc. The ("gastronomic") restaurant not cheap but good, with a mildly unexpected Asian influence. The estate's own wine a very acceptable and reasonably priced option.
Three possible areas for improvement:
First, sound insulation is somewhat lacking: not a problem at night, so much as in the morning when children clatter up and down the stairs, being "shushed" rather ineffectually by their parents. On the other hand, one wouldn't want to lose the nice wooden floors and the great advantage of other people's children in the morning is that one doesn't have to deal with them personally...
Secondly, the 10.00am check-out is rather a challenge (especially after a late night): wouldn't 11.00am be possible?
Thirdly (and most urgently), the hotel's buffet breakfast needs attention: the hot milk ran out; the hot water was no longer hot enough to make tea; the coffee machine needed refilling; the croissants were good, but one had to stand in the kitchen door waving the empty basket pathetically. All these problems could be and were remedied, but made breakfast rather a wearying experience and could have been avoided altogether with a bit more care and supervision from the staff. Perhaps it would be better to bring guests their tea/coffee/chocolate, rather than leaving them to fend for themselves.
But overall we had a very enjoyable stay.
The donjon (castle keep) in Montrichard is worth a visit: nice views of the River Cher and an enjoyably traditional museum with a wonderfully random assortment of objects in glass cases with manuscript descriptions on white cards. Also a skeleton or two.
Montrichard itself (as in Montrachet, the 't' in the middle of Montrichard is apparently not silent) is an attractive small town, with several mediaeval buildings in the centre, and a sandy "beach" on the river bank with a demarcated swimming area.
Only slightly further afield, Chanonceaux is a top grade Loire chateau: royal history, famous furnishings, Van Dycks, Murillos etc, very good audio-visual ipod tour, huge crowds.
In the other direction, Pontlevoy is also attractive, with a mediaeval abbey and well-devised information boards to guide one's walk around town.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Once, the Vallagon property was part of the Chenonceau estate and was then called “Les Drageonnieres”.The building of the castle took place in the 16th century as a little castle for two “fires” (residence for the family).In the 19th century a rich Bourgeois, Mr. Rance, would like to settle here and built the recent house in 1851 with stones of Bourré, surrounded by forest and vineyards.He has installed a wine press in the barn, dating from 1814 and 1825 and has completed the ensemble by building stables in 1864, a barn in 1866 and a little house called “Vendangeuse” in 1867.All buildings were made out of stone of Bourré, her gates marked with pink stone creates an ensemble of architectural harmony.During the 1st world war the property was prepared as a recovery place for evacuated American soldiers. ... more less
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