Ever fancied yourself as lord or lady of the manor? As soon as you cross the drawbridge over the moat at aristocratic Château de Bagnols hotel in Beaujolais, you’ll feel as though your palace-dwelling dreams have come true…
Style Five-star aristocrat
Setting Cultivated Beaujolais
Why this week? Once spring sunshine arrives, the French countryside’s ripe for idyllic bike rides and picnic lunches, so borrow the hotel’s bikes and head out to explore the vineyards and villages nearby (head up to the top of Mount Brouilly for the best views). And, Smith members can enjoy a three-night stay for the price of two with our exclusive offer.
Our favourite bits The star attraction here is the food: indulge in a gastronomic feast (from modern French cuisine to traditional spit-roasted meats and game) in the hotel’s La Salle des Gardes restaurant, washed down with an excellent selection of wines.When it’s time to retire for the night, we love the arched ceiling, 17th-century frescoes and gilded four-poster in junior suite Gaspard Dugué – the room was once part of the chapel where its namesake wed in 1609.
Mr & Mrs Smith say… ‘The interior of the château does not disappoint. It is the brainchild of a truly cultured woman, Lady Helen Hamlyn, who also owns the house by architects Mendelsohn and Chermayeff in Old Church Street, London – one of England’s first modernist houses. The rooms in both the original 13th-century castle and the ‘new’ (ie: 15th-century) block are beautiful. Our bed was as sublime as I had hoped, decorated with fragile antique textiles and made up with tactile Swiss bedlinen (which you can buy, too). Next to the bed, the water tumblers were made of silver, giving us a visceral introduction to what it must have been to be a French aristocrat. The bathroom was grand, too, with an antique marble bath and local products including a really, really strong lavender bath foam – the type that works against typhoid and tigers. We also had a huge sitting room, filled with bleeding-heart-coloured sofas, and another tiny room covered with early frescoes. It blows your mind.’