This was our first visit to Les Vignes and we loved it. There are 20 apartment rooms, all quite close to each other in a sort of L shape - I don't think that any apartment is less than 70 metres from the pool. We stayed in apartment no. 9, which looks on to the small communal grass area, where the hammock is situated. Apartment 9 is a bit smaller than most of the other apartments (most of which were duplexes) but it suited us, our 3 year old son and 7 month old daughter absolutely fine. Despite the apartments being reasonably close to each other, the sound insulation was excellent and we couldnt hear any noise from the other apartments.
We were aware about the extra costs for unlocking the kitchen cupboards, so we took our own disposable cutlery and plates with us and we got along fine on that basis (the fridge (with small freezer compartment) and washing up facilities were all clean and sufficient for what we needed). The apartment was very celan throughout and it was cleaned daily.
We used the pool every day; it was a bit on the cold side, but once you were in you quickly got used to it (both of our children were ok with it). The pool has a useful shallow end for children to play in. There is a security fence surrounding the pool, which prevents kids wandering into the pool area without adult supervision, and this gave us good peace of mind. We didnt use the sauna - there was a sign saying that you had to advise reception 30 minutes beforehand if you wanted to use it, and we couldnt be bothered on that basis (most of the signs around the hotel were in french). Likewise, the jacuzzi was covered up on a couple of days, but the staff were more than happy to uncover it and start it up if anyone asked.
We had breakfast in the hotel once. The price was ok (13 euros per adult, 6.50 for our toddler) and the food was of good quality; there was also a reasonable selection (we would have done it more often, but it just didnt fit with our plans).
There were guests of all european nationalities at the hotel, which we liked. We also noticed from the guest book that a lot of the comments (mostly positive) were from repeat visitors, which tells its own story.
Location: Les Vignes is tucked away on the outskirts of Saint Marie. Thee is not much to do in Saint Marie; there is a small square with a couple of shops about 0.5 mile away, the supermarket is about 0.7 mile away and the centre of Saint Marie (a marignally bigger square with a few more shops etc.) is about 1.2 mile away. We visited La Flotte, Blois and Saint Martin whilst on the island and all of these places were better than Saint Marie.
La Flotte - very pretty, small port, excellent market. Too far from Saint Marie for most to walk (about 5-6km away), but good cycle routes and accessible car parking (car parking typically costs 2-4 euros for 3-4 hours). Cycling is definitely the preferred way of travelling around the island (the island is well geared up for it, with cycle lanes everywhere). We hired a bike from Les Vignes no problem - cost is 15 euros a day for an adult bike.
Saint Martin (6-7km from Sait Marie) - the main town on the island; similar to La Flotte, but bigger. Good market too. Definitely worth a visit, but we preferred La Flotte. We drove and parked in a car park for roughly the same price as in La Flotte.
Blois - not as good as the other two, but a lovely covered market (which is easy to miss). Great beaches here (but not much shade or refreshment places- most people took their own shade and picnics).
Finally, the staff at Les Vignes were all brilliant. Sarah, the french receptionist who welcomed us on arrival, was fantastic and deserves a special mention; her command of the english language was superb, she was friendly, proactive and happy to answer the 1001 questions that we had for her. She even managed to find us a baby bath at 10pm in the evening.
We will definitely return, maybe when the kids are a bit older (I would suggest that the optimum age for children is 6-9 years old, i.e. when they are old enough to be reasonably competent cyclists).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- On the edge of a nature reserve and with stunning views overlooking the grapevines, the sea and the Isles of Aix and Oleron, our hotel is the ideal place to relax and unwind. Alone, with your family, or with your friends we invite you to spend a weekend or your holiday with us. Your Lodge in the style of an apartment for 1 to 5 people has 1 or 2 bedrooms, a living room, a wooden terrace and a snack corner. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Les Vignes De La Chapelle Ile De Re/Sainte Marie De Re