About Time: You Escaped to Crillon Le Brave, ProvenceBy Angelica Malin
Sometimes, a hotel just steals your heart. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Crillon le Brave – a magical, serene boutique hotel tucked away in the heart of Provence. It’s possibly the most charming, romantic hotel I’ve ever visited; there’s something about the energy of the place, you can’t help but feel calm, centred and relaxed at the hotel. I popped along for their special truffle weekend and honestly, never wanted to leave. Here’s everything you need to know about this Provincial gem:
This is no regular hotel. Oh, no. This village hotel is so rich in history, you’ll feel transported back in time the second you step inside. The hotel is made up of many historical buildings, which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, even with traces to the Roman era. Each building has it own past and story to tell, housing various professionals and families over the years. There are eight main buildings which make up the hotel, which play homage to their past whilst bringing a modern, contemporary design element. The beautiful Provençal village of the hotel gives it a unique feel and flavour – both modern and traditional at once – and you could spent hours wandering around the grounds of the hotel.
For me, the hotel’s design is what makes it truly magical. Boutique in size, the hotel has 28 double bedrooms, in three categories, which all feature incredibly comfortable beds, crisp Italian linens by Frette, luxurious bathrooms and free WIFI (not that you’ll need it, there’s wine to be drunk). The hotel’s decor is so delicate and feminine, with marble-top bathrooms, local art work and hand-picked furniture in nude shades. Each of the rooms has a bright, clean and airy feel, which really suits the mood of the hotel generally.
If you feel like splashing out, they have 7 suites, which are incredibly spacious, some with feature terraces. We totally loved the suite for its amazing views of the French countryside; the room couldn’t be more spacious, with its own living room, a bathroom bigger than my London flat and all the high-tech gadgets you could need, including Bose speakers and flat-screen TV. Luckily all the hotel’s room rates include breakfast, so you can experience some of the best flaky pastries and homemade jam of your life.
If you’re a foodie, you’re going to absolutely love Crillon le Brave. Their main hot-spot Restaurant Jérôme Blanchet is so beautiful, housed in a former stable, with all the original brick work and old arches creating a wonderful time-gone-by feel. Here you can expect gastronomic delights, including special tasting menus, seasonal feasts and set-menus for a true gourmet experience. Start your evening with a glass of bubbly at The Grange Bar, or one of their lovely terraces overlooking the vineyards and olive groves of Provence. Dreamy.
In the summer months, the hotel opens their second restaurant Bistrot 40K – a rustic celebration of food and wine produced within 40 kilometres of Crillon le Brave. Here, it’s all about seasonal and local produce, using the produce from exceptional farmers, vignerons and artisans from Provence. The food is really a highlight at Crillon le Brave – you can taste the creativity, ingenuity and quality in every dish at their restaurant. As I was there for the truffle hunting weekend, we got to experience the real, quality truffles of Provence at their restaurant, with a special 7-course truffle menu and one-off cookery demonstration by their chef. Truffle Camembert? The stuff of dreams.
One of the more recent additions to the hotel, in 2013, the hotel acquired a beautiful house next to the church. Maison Decor, named after the family who owned it for nearly two centuries, now accommodates their boutique Spa des Ecuries. Here, you can expect three sumptuous treatment rooms and an amazing double cabin set under the arching stone ceiling creates an enchanting, romantic atmosphere for couples. Expect only quality here; they use Bamford products for massages and facials, and OPI for manicures, which we love.
There’s so much to do and see in the area, you’ll be totally spoilt for choice. Provence is a wine and food lovers dream, with hundreds of vineyards and wineries nearby for tastings. Try wine tastings at Domaine du Tix for local Ventoux wines or head out further by car to La Nerthe in Châteauneuf du Pape. For shopping, take the pretty drive to l’Isle sur la Sorgue for great antiques or Aix en Provence for art and paintings. There’s also lots of markets in the area; Bedoin’s Monday market is one of our favourites, and there’s Vaison-la-Romaine on Tuesdays and Carpentras on Fridays are good alternatives.
If you’re an active holiday-maker, there’s lots of nice walks in the area – enjoy a leisurely stroll around the village or venture a little further with one of their walking maps. My personal favourite is a walk to nearby Bedoin and back via the quarries and forested lanes and paths. You can also go for a spin on one of their new Trek bikes – one great route is to explore the surrounding vineyards and villages of the Ventoux. Of course, there’s lots of great facilities at the hotel, including a heated swimming pool, massages and treatments in the Spa des Ecuries, authentic boules court and tennis court.
This hotel totally stole my heart. I wanted to stay forever, it’s just so peaceful and lovely. There’s plenty to do in the area, if you fancy, but equally just spending a leisurely afternoon at the hotel, relaxing and reading, is heavenly. For a break from the hustle and bustle of London, for the food, for the design, for the time-gone-by feel, this is one hotel you simply cannot miss.
Rooms from 340 euros per night based, on two people sharing a classic room – prices include breakfast. For more information and to book, see here.