Luxury in the Loire
Hotels with a touch of luxury
Luxury can mean different things to different people - we all have a different take on what it is to be pampered, indulged, immersed in sumptuous comfort.
For many, the Loire Valley is a good place to start since it ticks a lot of boxes: lavish heritage buildings, sumptuous cuisine, not so far from Paris (where, for some, luxury must have its HQ: think Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Yves St Laurent and the rest).
The lure of the Loire
Certainly the history of the Loire Valley has been interlinked with French (and other) royalty for centuries: most châteaux were associated with the Royal Court, being hunting lodges, gifts to aristocrats, secret hideaways, or just attempts by wannabe power brokers to keep up with the Joneses.
Those châteaux that have been converted into hotels automatically have a head start in the luxury stakes: who doesn’t like the sound of a turreted tower bedroom, a moat, 16th century gated grounds or swathes of rich, sumptuous fabrics?
For some, it’s the sensory experiences that are more important luxuries than the surroundings. Fortunately the Loire Valley hits the spot in this department too: the Garden of France is the source of some of France’s best produce – the vegetables, fish, game which are transformed into world-class cuisine in countless restaurants. These are not necessarily the grande-dame restaurants but modern, inventive eateries that really showcase the local ingredients with flair. Try the Auberge du Cheval Rouge in Chisseaux (great value prix-fixe), or Casse-Cailloux in Tours (wonderful steak in red wine sauce).
Where there’s food there’s wine. And the Loire wines come up trumps as offering something very special. Fantastic every day wines, for sure (red, white, rosé, sparkling, you name it), but also some superb world beaters. The Pouilly Fumé and Sancerre are among the best dry whites in the world, while Côteaux du Layon can produce class sweet dessert wine (especially in late harvest noble rot vintages, when grapes are individually selected one by one for the pressing). As for reds, the Bourgeuil, at its beefiest, can stand tall among big name wines from Chile or Bordeaux.
Many of our Belle France hotels have been selected for their touch of luxury – this should be a memorable experience as well as a pleasant holiday!
Luxury is always in the eye of the beholder, but see which one piques your interest.
The one set in a royal estate
Château de Chissay, Chissay-en-Touraine
If you ever fancy a night in a 13th century turreted fortress château, then this is the place. This is an ancient royal estate set in a 10 acres park with mature woodland. The luxurious traditional interiors are furnished in 19th century style, with bathroom mosaics reflecting the colourful history and characters who have been associated with this high end hotel over the centuries.
Find out more about Château de Chissay.
The one that’s like a dolls house
Château de Noizay, Noizay
An exquisitely proportioned château, not unlike a doll’s house in its symmetry, this 16th century pile is close to the Vouvray vineyards. From the elegant bedroom windows or the formal garden there are views looking out over the village towards the river. Ancient trees jostle for position in the grounds, the venerable stone wall and gates provide a real sense of seclusion, while the handsome polished staircase is magnificent and leads up to your irresistibly inviting bedrooms.
Find out more about Château de Noizay.
The one with the Michelin starred restaurant
Château de Pray, Amboise
This a real beauty: a turreted château dating from 1224, with pretty twin fortress towers and a Renaissance façade with attractive white shuttered windows, all set in the midst of a 12 acre park. It’s a romantic hideaway, with sumptuous fabrics, panelled drawing room with open fires and oil paintings. The bedrooms each have their own identity, furnished with 16th and 18th century furniture, and lavish use of dark wood and marble.
The Michelin starred restaurant always serves up a memorable evening, with produce fro the kitchen garden and plenty of top quality seafood transformed into exquisite dishes by Chef Brisset.
Find out more about Château de Pray.
The one for the hobbits
Hôtel Les Hautes Roches, Rochecorbon
Living like a hobbit never sounded so good. Here, an 18th century manor house nestles into the chalky cliffs high above the Loire. What makes things interesting is firstly the fact that 12 of the rooms are carved out of the limestone cliffs – essentially stone chambers – and secondly that these rooms are truly sumptuous: each room is unique but each is also interior designed to within an inch of its life. Think on-point colour palettes, stylish furniture and luxury fittings.
No surprise that this is regarded as France’s leading troglodyte luxury hotel.
Find out more about Hôtel Les Hautes Roches.
The one that's the manor house
Relais des Landes, Ouchamps
Tucked away in the rolling folds of idyllic countryside, this is a real gem but without the flamboyance of a Renaissance château. Dating from the 17th century it was originally a gentleman’s manor house, south of Blois, and is surrounded by extensive grounds, including a pleasant gravelled courtyard where you can choose to dine. It has warmth and charm, as well as plenty of original features.
Find out more about Relais des Landes.
The one for the stars
La Roseraie, Chenonceaux
A charming creeper-clad hotel in the village centre, it is just yards from the gates of Château Chenonceau. With a traditional French country décor, beamed ceilings and open fire, this is pinnacle of French country comfort. Over the years it has enjoyed a colourful history with some famous names in the guest book, including Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt and Rockefeller.
Find out more about La Roseraie.
The one with all the turrets
Château de Vallagon, Bourré
Set near Montrichard on the idyllic Loir-et-Cher, this elegant hotel is the epitome of a Loire château with its slate grey multi-turreted roof, gables, balconies and vast swathes of gravel and landscaped gardens. The kitchen garden and the 160 year old greenhouse provide the freshest of herbs and vegetables, while fruit and nuts also come from the estate.
Find out more about Château de Vallagon.
The one in the town
Le Pavillon des Lys, Amboise
This is a touch of luxury in the city. It’s small and boutiquey with just eight rooms and suites, and a light, elegant interior. Outside you arrive through the gates to be greeted by well tended gravel sweep and box topiary. It’s just a 5 minute walk to the Château d’Amboise and a little further to Château du Clos Lucé, home of Leonardo da Vinci.
Find out more about Le Pavillon des Lys.
Discover Luxury in the Loire
Loire Prestige à Pied
Enchanting châteaux and picturesque villages
Live like a king on this luxurious holiday, which takes you through scenic countryside to some of the Loire’s most prestigious châteaux. The easy walk follows pathways alongside the river and through vineyards, to luxury hotels...
Loire Prestige en Vélo
Tranquil rivers and regal architecture
Explore quiet back roads and visit the fascinating old towns of Amboise and Blois with time to discover the classic wines of the region. Visit world famous châteaux and stay in luxury accommodation each night.
Along the Leisurely Loire
Historic Blois to charming Saumur
A moderate cycle following the majestic River Loire from Blois to Saumur. Visit several of the grand châteaux via the bustling city of Tours with its enchanting old quarter. The hotels offer genuine French charm and wonderful regional fare.