Perched on the highest point of a hill, Crillon Le Brave is a boutique hotel and ancient Provençal French village. Travel writer Georgie Bentley-Buckle checked in to the family-owned property with far reaching views of the Ventoux mountains – here’s what she thought.
Hotel Review: Crillon Le Brave
Soundtracked by swallows’ song in a labyrinth of 18th century buildings, Crillon Le Brave is a property where you check-in to avoid being ‘checked out’ by others. An architectural ensemble of the village’s blond Crillon stone and hypnotic views of the mountains and rural landscape guarantee a captivating first impression.
This romantic hideaway is in the prettiest part of Provence, blending its exceptional setting with five-star service and family values. Part of the Maisons Pariente group – a portfolio of family-owned properties – the hotel embodies a luxurious taste of Provençal life among a network of sandstone buildings. Each of the unique 16 rooms and 18 suites remain in their original layout according to the architecture of the building, featuring antique furniture, soft linens, old red floor tiles and exceptional mountain views.
Charles Zana – who also worked on the hotel’s sister property, Lou Pinet in Saint-Tropez – has maintained the delicate character and identity of the village, whilst adding a stylish touch to the communal spaces. Each room maintains the original character of the 12th century village, framed with wooden beams, ancient furniture and wrought iron details. This includes: the 40 square metre Prestige Ventoux Room, finished with natural materials and a charming view of the Mont Ventoux Valley; the romantic 50 square metre Junior Suite of Provençal tones; and the 80 square metre Prestige Suite and its twin roll top bath setting, regularly captured on Instagram.
Past the kitchen’s herb garden and along the myriad of stone pathways is the intimate pool – exclusively reserved for residents to stretch out in the sunshine with a glass of the region’s famous pale rosé wine.
For spa and wellness, the Spa des Écuries is located under the scenic arches of the 18th century stone-vaulted stables. There are three treatment cabins with products from American brand Tata Harper, championing natural remedies to reflect the rural setting. A few twists and turns beyond (and found in none other than an old chapel), is the small but functional fitness centre.
Beyond the village and all it has to offer, Crillon Le Brave’s newly-appointed concierge encourages guests to peel back the pages of Provence, from tours of local vineyards (notably, the famous winery of Châteauneuf-du-Pape nearby) to family friendly visits to local villages. Choose also from hiking, cycling, kayaking, and hot air balloon rides – or, for those who want to roam the rural roads in style, there are vintage car outings.
At the hotel’s two restaurants, La Madeleine and La Table du Ventoux, Crillon Le Brave’s head chef Adrien Burnet recreates the flavours of Provence with some curious twists. Each menu pays tribute to the region with an ingredient-led concept, and recipes enhance the quality of the produce sourced. Burnet ensures sustainable farm to table dining by working with farmers and fishermen nearby.
Seated under the swallows is Crillon Le Brave’s fine-dining restaurant, La Madeleine. With a small collection of round, white-clothed tables overlooking the far-reaching view, Burnet’s emotive tasting menu comes with optional wine pairings from the hotel’s sommelier. Rewarded last year with a Plate in the Michelin Guide, interesting texture and flavour combinations are geared toward adventurous diners, with dishes blending oyster broth or pigeon paired with lavender and Ventoux cherries.
For slow-paced breakfasts and lazy lunches, try La Table du Ventoux – a bistro-style restaurant with Mediterranean and Provençal foods. With handpicked herbs from the garden and daily specials, regular dishes include: artichoke salad with a soft-boiled egg and an almond condiment; the catch of the day with a fresh cheese ravioli and basil broth; and tender grilled octopus with baba ghanoush and local olives. Our favourite was the ‘boeuf fumé confit’, tender smoked beef with pickles, coriander and a wonderfully rich but light potato mousse.
Nightly rates at Crillon Le Brave start from £296 on a bed & breakfast basis. crillonlebrave.com
Images courtesy of Mr Tripper.