Hotel review: Chateau La Thuilière, Dordogne, France
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The Tudor-style building stands proudly at the top of a small hill, as if it is on display. Flanked by beautiful pine trees and accessed by an impressive long driveway, you get just the right amount of time to ooh and aah about the beauty of the place.
What's to love?
Eduard and Jordi offered an effervescent greeting, and their obvious adoration of their own home was immediately apparent and instantly infectious. The huge stained glass window, featuring the apostle St Front, overlooks proceedings at check in. As we made our way up the dramatic staircase to your room, we Jordi chatted us through the history of chateau. Built in 1889 by a Mr Michel Petit as a gift for his fiancée Madame Claire Angeline Beguerie, the building was originally sat in the centre of a heart-shaped driveway (only half of which is now in use) which was a symbol of Petit's love for his wife-to-be.
Best room in the house
Creaky corridors decorated in an authentic shabby chic style lead into a modern new world in the form of the contemporary rooms. The renovations are extremely tasteful, with flat-screen TVs, enormous beds, glossy coffee table books and mags, and Gilchrist & Soames bathroom products. The Suite XL features a 19th century fireplace and views over the parkland, making it the one to choose if you're really looking to spoil yourself.
Where to eat
Dinner time is when this chateau really comes to life: the food is of the highest quality made with locally sourced ingredients. We enjoyed white asparagus in a vinaigrette, followed by salmon infused with a tasty slither of pork belly jelly, which was the most innovative - and great-tasting - piece of fish I can remember eating. After each course, Jordi talked us through exactly what we had just enjoyed, giving us a greater appreciation for the high level of craft that goes into each course.
Breakfast is served on the old monastery table in the cellar kitchen, where the chef bakes delicious croissant and cakes right in front of you. It's sociable, friendly, open - and a delightful way to start the day.
This place is perfect if you...
... are a real gourmand. It's the ideal romantic retreat for a foodie couple, or group of friends, who love nothing better than to appreciate top-class fare in an informal yet stunning setting.
Relax in front of the log fire in the stylish lounge, with classical music, fine wine, and friendly fellow guests for company. Jordi and Eduard have set up a fully stocked honesty bar in here, and you're left to happily while away the evening as if you were in your own (extremely sophisticated) home.
From: €150 a night (breakfast included)
Chateau La Thuilière, 24400 Saint Front de Pradoux, Dordogne, France. Visit sawdays.co.uk to book.