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Love at first sight. It happens. Juliet and I are proof of that. Not that we fell head over heels for each other, you understand (though JK, if you’re reading this, I hold you in the highest regard), but for a hotel. And not just any hotel: Château La Thuilière in the Dordogne. Our love knows no bounds – we ♥ the rooms, the restaurant, the utterly charming owner (Jordi), Jordi’s dog (Patch), Jordi’s Spanish accent, the grounds, the hens in the grounds (you get my drift).

There’s nothing wrong with loving a hotel – the right match makes us happier than any mere mortal could: blissful nights, indulgent baths, candlelit dinners, crackling fires, lush grounds and luxurious extras. Château La Thuilière delivers all the above and more. We know because we stayed there for one magical night in September. Jordi was on hand throughout our stay; greeting us with chilled glasses of cava from his grandfather’s estate, guiding us around his beautiful hotel (and settling us into two sumptuous suites), mixing us devastatingly delicious G&Ts in the ruby red Drawing Room, and arranging a gourmet tasting menu for us, cooked by the hotel’s talented chef, Christian Borini.

Aaah, that menu, and that gorgeously Gothic, candlelit dining room, which Jordi kept secret until the chef had worked his magic. Our multi-course culinary extravaganza included mackerel served with tropical fruit, a zingy tomato salad with at least three varieties of the fruit, rich duck ravioli with truffle sauce, fragrant cheeses, and mascarpone mousse with mango ice-cream and saffron sirop. And oh, the joy of returning to our sleekly sophisticated suites, decked out in soothing cream and honey hues, with palatial beds and park views. Rest assured, we slept like queens that night.

Had we been lucky enough to have had time to kill the following day, we would have explored the local vineyards (the hotel is set in the Bordeaux winelands after all), or gone for an exhilarating canoe ride along the Dordogne. Instead, we lingered over breakfast in the modern basement kitchen, admired the stained glass window that lords it over the entrance hall, and chatted to Jordi about his days running a Barcelona design boutique. It’s quite possible we’d never have left, had we not had more hotel hunting to do (Chateau Rigaud – a beautiful self-catering property in Bordeaux – was another stylish souvenir from the trip).

If you needed further enticement, Château La Thuilière currently has two offers: a gourmand escape, and a romantic escape. And, talking of Gallic temptations, have you had a chance to check out our France book?

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