Style A corker of a château
Setting St-Emilion wine country
A mediaeval château with a chef, cinema and spa – you’d be forgiven for thinking this eight-bedroom holiday house was a five-star hotel. Instead you and yours have Château Rigaud all to yourself – apart from visits from your can-do hosts and discreet housekeeping staff. Rich paints (hand-picked by Farrow & Ball in person), sumptuous fabrics and a dedicated concierge service add up to a bubble of luxury. Each boutique bedroom is individually decorated, with cosy sitting rooms and sunny and shaded terraces outside. This is a land of four-poster beds, 400-thread-count linen and iPod docks, where chickens roam the organic vegetable garden and everything that lands on your table is homemade. St-Emilion and the best of Bordeaux's vineyards are on your lap too – expect to spend plenty of time holding the stem of a wine glass.
Need to know
- Rates information The house is available from €2,200 a night; includes breakfast, daily housekeeping and a fully stocked bar on arrival. Stay for a week or more and five nights’ chef service will be included.
- Ideal for As suited to lavish special celebrations as low-key-luxe family holidays; the perfect base for wine and cookery enthusiasts.
- Sleeps 24: 16 adults and up to eight children.
- Property style A mediaeval château with a 13th-century tower and a more recent extension. The château, which is thought to have monastic heritage, witnessed the whole of the Hundred Years’ War – locals insist upon the existence of an underground escape tunnel.
- Grounds Set in 12-acre gardens amid rolling Bordeaux countryside, with a heated swimming pool tucked away from the main house.
- Minimum hire Three-night breaks preferred as a minimum.
- Children Holiday houses don’t get more kid-friendly than Château Rigaud. An adventure playground includes a Wendy house, a tyre and a baby swing. Inside, there’s a 24-metre gallery playroom with dressing up clothes and toys galore. Take advantage of the concierge service offered by the owners and arrange for nannies if you need them; staff can also arrange more activities-based holidays. More...
- Booking process 15 per cent Smith deposit on booking and a further 15 per cent direct to the château. 50 per cent of remaining balance six months prior to the booking and the final instalment four weeks prior to arrival. (Extras such as catering, nannies, wine tours etc are payable on departure.)
- Also The affable hosts act as your in-the-know concierge service – they can arrange everything from beauty therapists (there is a spa room after all) to wine tours and personal shopping.
Tower is considered the honeymoon suite and, with its vast 16th-century fireplace, it’s nothing short of spectacular. The corner tower has been cunningly converted into a vast wet room, which makes for memorable ablutions.
Four-postered Maroc is the biggest suite with a super-sexy ensuite. Beyond from the bathroom is a tiny little room ideal for two young children to sleep in.
Ballroom is our favourite boudoir with its rich deep-blue silk and velvet curtains and white Mies van der Rohe chairs. The roll-top tub is ideal for long lazy soaks.
Aquitaine is another king-size bedroom in shades of grey; the ensuite has a bath and a shower.
Dauphin ticks all the fantasy-château-furnishings boxes with its four-poster bed and roll-top tub. It can connect to Aquitane.
Another four-poster and freestanding bath option is Bourgie, which has a show-stopping stone fireplace.
Jardin is a double and the only bedroom on the ground floor.
There is also a dormitory room for children; what it lacks in luxury it makes up for with three bunk beds and a little old-fashioned bathroom.
There are two at your disposal: one pretty country-cottage-style kitchen, where you’ll find afternoon tea laid out for you every day. And there’s a swish mod-con-packed one fit for the professionals too. It’s a great place to sign up for cooking demos.
There are lots of cosy sitting rooms in the château, so whether you fancy flopping and watching TV, or relaxing with a book after a spa treatment, there’s a cushion-festooned lounge for you.
The chocolate-hued candlelit formal dining area seats 22 at an elegant antique table. There are lots of spots to sup at outside too – we can’t think of anywhere more delightful than under the huge horse chestnut tree or overlooking the lawn.
- Poolside The heated swimming pool and its surrounding terrace is of course a suntrap.
- Private parking There is plenty of space by the house or on the driveway for guests’ cars.
- Other The owners have introduced a 24-metre long art gallery to the château in the hall that also doubles up as the playroom: a 72-poster exhibition of graphic design will soon ornament the walls.
Also worth knowing
- Weddings This property is suitable for weddings. More...
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Smith extra at Château Rigaud
A free treatment in the Boudoir Spa
In the know
Eating and drinking
Daily breakfast spread is set out and cleared. Feast on pastries, cereals, fresh fruit, hams and cheeses, yoghurts and juices while sipping a frothy freshly brewed coffee made exactly how you like it. Throughout the summer months, professional chef Steve Cass is on hand to whip up a fine-dining French feast or a laidback Mediterranean affair. The property can be booked as a self-catering stay but we say make the most of having him to hand. And make sure you try his homemade chutneys. Cocktail lovers, worship at the altar of a rather unique chapel bar; here in a 15th-century enclave there is beer on tap, an ice machine, professional mixology equipment and depending on your tariff, a fully stocked bar. Have a swivel on those bar stools while someone mixes your favourite tipple. Mrs Smith look away now, but for the full boutique boozer experience, sport enthusiasts will appreciate the big-match-worthy plasma screen.
A hotel-style chambermaid service means that bedrooms and bathrooms are serviced daily, with the rest of the house regularly refreshed.
Audio-visuals don’t come much more impressive than a 16-seat cinema with a three-metre screen and rows of comfy sofas – it’s like a mini version of media luvvies’ favourite, the Electric Cinema in Portobello.
Not only are Aromatherapy Associates toiletries at your disposal, but there are seductively soft bamboo dressing gowns – ideal to get you in the pampering mood for the glorious mini spa.
Your favourite lounging-around wear. And your wildest wine-tasting fantasies.