aix-en-provence, France

Château de la Gaude

Price per night from$310.93

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 (EUR263.64), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Aix-tra-mile chateau

Setting

Provençal pasture

Tick off all your Gallic reveries at 18th-century home turned luxury hotel Château de la Gaude. It has everything the French hold dear: house-bottled wine and an encyclopedic cellar, gastronomy as an art form, art in some extremely outré forms (courtesy of Philippe Pasqua, Jeff Koons and more) and acres of Aix-en-Provence greenery. And a few surprises still, not least a spa and pool opening at the end of summer.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A €90 credit to spend in La Source restaurant

Facilities

Photos Château de la Gaude facilities

Need to know

Rooms

17, including five suites.

Check–Out

Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £261.78 (€290), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.30 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates include breakfast.

Also

Fans of French prestige cinema may recognise la Gaude from period drama Le Château de ma Mère.

Please note

The hotel’s new pool, spa and gym will open at the end of summer 2020.

Hotel closed

The hotel closes from the 2 January to 12 February.

At the hotel

Landscaped grounds with a butterfly walk, vineyard and wine cellar, art collection, boutique, concierge, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: satellite TV, minibar, Bose radio, iPod dock, Nespresso coffee machine, tea-making kit, bottled water, air-conditioning and Guerlain bath products. iPads are available on request.

Our favourite rooms

Rooms are situated in a few buildings over the estate, so it feels more like a little village. Styling on the inside is uniformly chic and contemporary, so pick your space by size and view. The Suite Château Prestige rooms stand out for their peaceful leafy views, huge marble bathrooms and Philippe Pasqua paintings.

Poolside

A pool is in the works, set to open at the end of summer.

Spa

Hold on to your Speedos, a spa, gym and outdoor pool will open at the end of summer.

Packing tips

You’ll need floaty French country wear (summer tailoring for Mr Smith), flats for romantic bike rides and romping-round-the-garden gear.

Also

The hotel has one specially adapted room on the ground floor; however, the grounds and public areas are tricky to navigate by wheelchair.

Pet‐friendly

Furry friends can stay for €45 a night. You get a bed, they’ll get a basket. See more pet-friendly hotels in aix-en-provence.

Children

All ages are welcome. Baby cots can be added free to all rooms except the Double Room Classic. Babysitting is available for €20 a night (for a minimum of two hours; one day’s notice needed).

Best for

All ages are welcome, but it’s best for babes-in-arms and juniors.

Recommended rooms

The Family Suite handily has two bedrooms and two bathrooms to comfortably accommodate four and offer a little privacy. No extra beds or baby cots can be added to the Double Room Classic.

Activities

While there are few tot-tailored activities, there are plenty of opportunities for play in the grounds. Little ones will love running around the maze-like parterre, spotting butterflies and exploring the woods.

Meals

The kitchen team will happily tone down their high-concept cuisine to appeal to kids’ tastes. Baby food and highchairs are available on request, there are changing facilities and staff are happy to heat milk. 

Babysitting

Babysitting is available for €20 an hour (for a minimum of two hours; one day’s notice needed).

No need to pack

There’s baby bedlinen, toiletries and towels.

Also

Rocky paths aren’t ideal for prams, so pack your sling for outings.

Eco‐friendly

Dining is responsibly local, much of the produce is grown on-site and the kitchen supports the region’s farmers and fishermen. And, they use Earth-kind cleaning products and recycle waste water.

Food and Drink

Photos Château de la Gaude food and drink

Top Table

Tables with a view of the garden are the most swoonsome.

Dress Code

Campagne chic.

Hotel restaurant

Chef Matthieu Dupuis Baumal heads up the team at Le Art, a name that well prepares you for the edible madness that awaits. Baumal’s pitch is Provençal cuisine that’s picked up a few tricks on its travels east. So, you get tantalising menus of carrier pigeon with peanut, ginger and spicy mango, Brittany abalone with plankton, pickles and wasabi, fruit-laden rum babas drizzled in pepper juice and more. If you want to see the whole show, order the tasting menu. A second restaurant, La Source, is a more casual bistro-style affair serving upmarket snacks: elegant charcuterie and cheese boards, caviar- and smoked-salmon-topped blinis, lobster dim-sum; and a selection of Asian-inflected dishes, such as Korean-style pork belly and black cod with yuzu.

Hotel bar

With vines as far as the eye can see, you’re unlikely to go thirsty here. Tastings can be arranged. The hotel is justly proud of its whites, rosés and reds (La Treille, Mademoiselle and La Chapelle de Gabrielle, respectively) – and there are 900 more bottles in the cellar once you’ve polished those off. Château barkeeps also have an extensive cocktail repertoire.

Last orders

Breakfast is from 7am to 10am, lunch from 12.30pm to 1.30pm and dinner from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. The bar serves from noon to midnight and the cellar opens from 10am to 7pm.

Room service

Have food delivered to your room round-the-clock. The menu goes way beyond burgers and sandwiches, with salmon-topped blinis and sour cream, truffle and Comté quesadillas, sea-urchin taramasalata and the like.

Location

Photos Château de la Gaude location
Address
Château de la Gaude
3913 Route des Pinchinats
Aix en Provence
13100
France

Château de la Gaude is in a leafy stretch of Aix-en-Provence, just outside the charming city where Cézanne lived and painted the glorious panoramas.

Planes

Marseille Provence Airport is the closest, around a half-hour drive from the château. The hotel can arrange private transfers for €110 each way.

Trains

High-speed TGV trains run from Paris and other major French cities, and various European capitals, to Aix-en-Provence. From there, it’s a half-hour drive to the hotel, or have the hotel chauffeur you there and back for €80 each way.

Automobiles

Public transport will only get you so far here, and doesn’t really lend itself to the whole driving through lavender fields and vineyards thing. There are car-hire booths at the airport in Marseille. To reach the hotel from Marseille, follow Route des Pinchinats.

Other

You could always take the chopper, if you have one – the hotel has its own private helipad.

Worth getting out of bed for

At the hotel you can wander the gardens, working your way through the maze-like parterre, chasing butterflies or exploring the woods. Taste the house wines, then pick up a few bottles in the boutique or try and spy all the modern artworks. In the distance you’ll see Sainte-Victoire Mountain, which can be hiked if you’re in an active mood or you’ve had one too many truffle and Comté quesadillas. Paul Cézanne famously painted it – Aix-en-Provence was the artist’s hometown and you can see his studio exactly as it was. There have been soothing hot springs in the area since Roman times (the ‘Aix’ in the town’s name derives from Aquae Sextiae), and today you can wallow in minerals in a more modern style at Thermes Sextius spa. Or, indulge your inner gourmand: there are cornucopia food markets every day in Aix-en-Provence. Those with a sweet tooth can raid the Puyricard chocolatier. Or – if you’ve arrived between November and March – go truffle-seeking in Riez Market each Wednesday (around an hour’s drive away). Another seasonal treat is April’s music-led Easter Festival. The exceedingly genteel Hôtel de Caumont has an impressive collection of art and antiques, while the Musée Granet has some serious sculptures. It’s also well worth your time village hopping through the Luberon. Lively city Marseille is close by for port-side wanders and the Calanques National Park, a spot of soaring massifs and aquamarine coves.

Local restaurants

You should try the hotel restaurant’s wildly unique cuisine at least once; however, Provence isn’t short of places to grab a bite if you want to mix things up. Smith stablemate Villa la Coste is also something of an art aficionado and it’s only a 30-minute drive away for a tour of the Emins, Hirsts, Louise Bourgeois’s spiders and such, before an elegant lakeside lunch. Restaurant Côté Cour puts a modern spin on classic French cuisine with a smart contemporary space and decadent dishes: bouillabaisse with courgette flowers, foie gras with apricot, hot-chocolate mousse. Its chef Ronan Kernen has a second eatery, La Petite Ferme, well worth trying for its truffle pizzettas, aubergine caviar and coal-grilled octopus. Chef Dan Bessoudo’s self-titled eatery Restaurant Dan B has menus that centre on one seasonal vegetable or four- to eight-course tasting menus showcasing the best of local produce.

Local cafés

Le Môme’s Corsican-Provençal husband-wife team always have tempting dishes of the day chalked up on the menu board – inspired by their respective culinary heritages. It’s an excellent lunching spot, with some very generous portions.

Local bars

You’re unlikely to run out of wine at the hotel, but if you want somewhere with high spirits and a knack for blending flavours, try Céleste, a stylish bar in town.

Reviews

Photos Château de la Gaude 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 aged-like-a-fine-wine hotel in the South of France and unpacked their lavender sprigs and parfums, a full account of their French countryside break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Château de la Gaude in Aix-en-Provence…

Not all hotels give us butterflies, but Château de la Gaude does quite literally that: among the neat rows of cypress trees, flourishing rose bushes, woods of oak and parterre maze that make up the hotel’s grounds, is an alley for the colourful creatures. And that’s not all that inspires a sense of wonder here: artist Phillippe Pasqua’s surreal follies and abstracted portraits are displayed throughout (a 17-metre shark will be joining them soon); and chef Matthieu Dupuis Baumal’s French-Japanese tasting menus have enigmatic dishes named ‘Ode to a Fish’ and ‘Passing Through a Meadow’, and translate to perfectly plated tableaux. To accompany those delicacies? Why, a glass of the house red, white or rosé. Those vines you’ll see from the window of your oh-so-chicly styled room aren’t just set dressing – there are tastings aplenty, a cellar brimming with bottles and shop selling serious-looking wine gadgetry. Yes, this stately 18th-century home has us all aflutter.

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