Provence, France

Calin

Price per night from$858.73

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR800.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Coup de coeur

Setting

Provençal peace and quiet

We’ve got a serious crush on Câlin – a dreamy, creamy cluster of guesthouses in a Provençal setting Cézanne could quite happily have painted. Whichever meaning you take from the cushy-sounding name (the French translation of câlin varies from ‘coaxing’ to ‘cuddly’) the oh-so-chic, apricot-coloured concrete (yet somehow still cocooning) interiors will soon have you fully embracing your bohemian side. Available as three self-contained residences, or as one heart-snaring holiday hideaway, this vineyard-wrapped retreat overlooking Mont Ventoux is an envy-inducing, exclusive escape for group get-togethers amenable to extended guest-lists. Undeniably alluring from all angles, you’ll soon succumb to this sequestered stay’s country charms. 

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Facilities

Photos Calin facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Seven suites spread across three villa-style units.

Check–Out

10am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £744.61 (€880), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.81 per person per night on check-out. Calin is unable to accept payment by credit card.

More details

Rates include an authentic Provençal breakfast spread of local pastries, jams, honey, cheeses, seasonal fruit, and freshly-baked bread. A three-night minimum stay is required when booking Tour and Île.

Also

There are several ground-floor bedroom options available, but the various terraces might be difficult for wheelchair-users to navigate.

At the hotel

Pétanque court, bikes to hire, Mediterranean gardens, vineyards, indoor and outdoor projectors (with a film-streaming system), stone-bake pizza oven, self-service laundry, and free WiFi. In rooms: Loxone speakers, air-conditioning, pool towels, linen kaftans, tea-making kit, and LA Bruket bath products.

Our favourite rooms

This is a virtually impossible decision when every space is so serenely styled. For a touch more privacy, Île is set slightly apart from the other two guesthouses – like a floating terracotta-tinged island. With floor-to-ceiling windows on almost all sides, the light-flooded living room and kitchen arguably come with some of the best views on the whole property, bringing the bottle-green vines and dramatic outline of Mont Ventoux right to the fore. Couples seeking an amorous abode can tuck themselves away in Tour, a tower-like villa gifted as an artist’s atelier from her lover (the property’s original owners) – what could be more romantic?

Poolside

The heady scent of Provençal herbs and lavender lures guests (breezing about in luxe linen cover-ups) to the outdoor saltwater infinity pool, which has an olive-grove-dotted outlook towards vineyard-encircled Mont Ventoux. Recline on russet-coloured loungers as you slowly sip rosé piscine (the Brigitte Bardot-approved method of drinking bucket-sized glasses over ice) on the sun-baked terrace. When the light starts to fade, (and the temperature ever-so-slightly drops), retreat to the pool house to dry off by the crackling fire.

Spa

A cocooning, creamy space of whitewashed concrete, marble, and wood, the wellness area looks more like an interior-design studio than a fitness space. The Nohrd equipment is so beautifully crafted it could almost be mistaken for bespoke furniture, and the same goes for the aesthetically-pleasing work-out accessories (fabulous floor-mats, jump-ropes, and resistance bands). Sweat out last night’s rosé in the infrared sauna with hot-stone seating, or start the day with a virtual yoga session (sun salutations are best enjoyed alfresco, anywhere the WiFi holds). Massages are also available on request when booked at least 24 hours in advance.

Packing tips

Bea Mombaers, the Belgian stylist (and all-round minimalist muse) behind the homestay’s interiors, has designed some suitably bohemian resort-wear exclusively for Câlin’s guests – so you’ll have lots of linen options to lounge around in.

Also

Meals in Provence are a leisurely affair, and the swoon-worthy selection of ceramic dinnerware will make you linger at the table a little longer. Every one-off piece is handcrafted by the owners’ daughter, in an earthy aesthetic with a rustic finish.

Children

There’s plenty of space for families to spread out across the three interconnecting guesthouses, but overall the atmosphere feels more adult here.

Sustainability efforts

In keeping with its verdant Vaucluse setting, solar-powered Câlin plants trees around its grounds, nurtures Mediterranean gardens, and encourages guests to pick their own greens from the on-site vegetable and herb allotments. Ingredients which can’t be homegrown are sourced from Provençal producers (keeping food miles to a minimum, while making the most of the region’s rich flavours), such as local cheeses, charcuterie, and pastries. The owners are also working with a local soap-maker to stock the bathrooms with traditional savon de Marseille.

Food and Drink

Photos Calin food and drink

Top Table

We’ve fallen head-over-heels for the waved, wooden table in the Île kitchen, where you can dine with Mont Ventoux in the distance.

Dress Code

Linens? In Provence? Groundbreaking.

Hotel restaurant

Tuscan-born chef Michael takes a ‘whatever you want, wherever you wish’ approach to dining at Câlin. There’s no formal restaurant space here, so you can either make use of your fully-equipped kitchen, or invite Michael over to whip up some Italian-inspired dishes to eat alfresco on your private patio. If you’re feeling sociable, take a seat in the central courtyard at one of the shared, tree-trunk tables, or gather a group together by the outdoor stone-bake oven for an evening of pizza-making and popping corks.

Hotel bar

Ask for just about any local wine label, and the bottle will magically appear in your private kitchen (stocked with gorgeous glassware to guzzle from). You can always ask for a rosemary-infused cocktail to be mixed up from herb-filled earthenware dotted around the gardens if you’re in wine-overload.

Last orders

You set the mealtimes here from the comfort of your outrageously good-looking kitchen.

Room service

Raid your kitchen cupboards at all hours, or book an in-suite cooking class with chef Michael.

Location

Photos Calin location
Address
Calin
400 Chemin de Sainte Croix
Valreas
84600
France

Backed by the blue-tinged silhouette of Vaucluse’s Mont Ventoux, Câlin keeps idyllically remote company with lavender fields, vineyards, and truffle-sprouting pine forests in the heart of the Drôme in north-west Provence.

Planes

Avignon is the closest airport (just a 50-minute drive from the hotel), but direct flights from the UK are relatively few and far between. International arrivals should fly into Marseille, which is just under two hours by car from the hotel.

Trains

A handful of daily trains run between Avignon TGV (served by the Eurostar) and Valréas Rond-Point, and you’ll need to change at Montélimar. The fastest journey should take around two-and-a-half hours, and the hotel is happy to provide a pick-up and drop-off service on request.

Automobiles

Having your own set of wheels will come in handy if you’re planning some Vaucluse ventures. Driving around these rural parts is rewardingly scenic, and the private parking at the hotel is free.

Worth getting out of bed for

Much of Câlin’s charm lies in the art of doing absolutely nothing, but there’s also an array of pastoral pleasures within scenic cycling or driving distance. The region’s many markets are a must-visit (first thing in the morning if you want the freshest finds), for local honey, soaps, woven treasures, and more. There’s a large market in nearby Valréas every Wednesday, and a smaller selection of stalls each Saturday. Hitting the hiking and biking trails around Mont Ventoux will take you through a postcard-perfect landscape of horse-ploughed vineyards, orchards, lavender fields (in bloom between June and July), and ochre-dusted quarries, and you’ll be rewarded with views of both the Mediterranean and the Alps from the summit. Guests staying during the months of September and October might be disturbed in the early mornings by vineyard workers harvesting grapes. Nothing a few glasses of rosé won’t put to rest though. Friendly couple Ilhem and Michael are on hand to organise authentic Provençal activities from wine-tasting to truffle hunting, and have a fountain of local knowledge to share about which castles, hilltop villages, and honey-hued abbeys to visit – plus the prettiest lakes and rivers for wild swimming.

Local restaurants

Dining in Provence is all about eating off the land, where seasonally-changing menus are built around farm-fresh, small-batch produce. Fronting the village square in quaint Gigondas (a 30-minute drive from the hotel), L’Oustalet makes full use of Provence’s ever-abundant larder – particularly during truffle season, when almost every dish is served with a heavy-handed topping of forest-fragrant shavings. Also around half-an-hour away is rustic Bistro du'O, a family-run restaurant housed in the former stables of Château de Vaison. Farm-to-table lovers will have a field day upon discovering the organic nine-course tasting menu here, which ranges from an ancient spelt risotto recipe to ever-so-tender pigeon, slow-cooked in local wine.

Reviews

Photos Calin reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this ever-so-exclusive homestay in Provence and unpacked their locally-made linens and straw market bags, a full account of their impossibly chic country escape will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Câlin in France…

It was a love-at-first-sight moment for the Belgian family behind Câlin, when stumbling across a handful of rustic-around-the-edges residences on a cycling trip around Mont Ventoux. With two decades’ worth of visits to Valréas and its sun-dappled vineyards under their belt, the owners are as head-over-heels with the region as all their guests will inevitably be (you’ll soon be eternally grateful that they decided not to keep this holiday home all to themselves). Though every handcrafted ceramic, taupe-tasselled textile, and statement woodwork piece has been meticulously curated by Belgian interior stylist, Bea Mombaers (who also happens to have her own holiday pad close by), there’s an effortlessly thrown-together feel throughout all three guesthouses. Minimalists will be mentally redesigning their own homes, the interiors are just that inspiring here. And in so many design-forward stays you almost feel as though you can’t touch anything – but this is not so at Câlin. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, with a make-yourself-at-home hosting style (whether it’s pizza parties on the patio, or movie-screening nights under the stars).

Outside, the sleek, sand-coloured stone exteriors wouldn’t look out of place in the desert – and the burnt-orange-striped scatter cushions around crackling fireplaces place you midway between Mallorca and Morocco (yet with unmistakably Provençal outlooks, which are a siren-call for wine lovers, truffle hunters, and cyclists). The Antwerp-based architects even removed a few of the original garden walls to make the vineyard views all-the-more uninterrupted, and create a calming, ever-present connection with nature.

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Price per night from $858.73