Dordogne, France

Château La Thuilière

Rates from (inc tax)$137.81

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 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (21EUR), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

French bliss

Setting

Bordeaux winelands

The Dordogne's Château La Thuilière hotel mixes a decadent concoction out of French grandeur and modern Spanish design amid the renowned wine region. At this cutting-edge castle with blood-red trim and a gothic back-story of an aristocrat’s lost love, the artful medley of stained-glass and Philippe Starck furniture sets a seductive scene.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A La Thuilière mug on arrival. For guests staying in the XL Suite, 10 per cent off massages and the boutique, free room service breakfast and free use of bikes

Facilities

Photos Château La Thuilière - Dordogne - France

Need to know

Rooms

Five, including two suites.

Check–Out

Midday; check-in from 4pm. The hotel owners request that guests let them know their estimated check-in time before arrival.

Rates

Double rooms from $137.81 (€123), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €0.55 per person per night on check-out.

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 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR135.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates exclude buffet breakfast (€10.50 a person).

Also

Ask in advance and the owners will organise cookery classes, tours of nearby vineyards, bike rides and other local pursuits.

At the hotel

Gardens, library, billiard table and free broadband (in the hall). In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, Nespresso coffee machine, fresh flowers, free bottled water and Hermes bath products.

Our favourite rooms

The XL rooms are exactly that, with sweeping views of the park and grounds, and sleek ensuite bathrooms equipped with invigorating rain showers. Room 3 has a soothing neutral palette and a balcony; Room 9 is more romantic, coloured with soft honey hues.

Poolside

The hotel's unheated 36sq ft pool is near their winter garden, sunk into parkland, with a day-bed-strewn deck and serene green views.

Packing tips

Lace and silks for candlelit dinners in the restaurant; dog treats for Patch; slippers for fireside lounging.

Also

Smokers can light up on the terraces.

Children

This hotel is better suited to couples – leave the children at home!

Food and Drink

Photos Château La Thuilière - Dordogne - France

At the hotel

Guests should let the château's gracious hosts know at least 24 hours in advance if they wish to dine at the restaurant on the first night of their stay. It's worth the trouble – a four-course tasting menu served in the dramatic dining room is €39 a person (excluding drinks) and includes dishes such as duck ravioli, marinated mackerel with exotic fruits, and eggs from the hotel’s hens, served on truffled potatoes. If you're dying to dive in to the local fromage, an organic regional selection is offered for €8.50 and a menu of locally sourced light bites is offered throughout the week. Breakfast is a generous spread of local produce, laid out on an old monastery table in the basement kitchen.

At the bar

There’s a well-stocked honesty bar in the drawing room, formerly the dance parlour. Owner Jordi rustles up delicious G&Ts.

Last orders

Breakfast is served 9am–10.30am, and there's one table sitting for dinner at 8pm. From 1 October to 31 May the four-course tasting menu is available Thursday to Saturday, and all days except Mondays from 1 June to 15 September.

Room service

A menu of light snacks can be ordered to your door, including quiches, salads, cheese plates, Iberian ham and other snacks. In your room there's coffee and bottled water.

Location

Photos Château La Thuilière - Dordogne - France
Address
Château La Thuilière
Château La Thuilière
24400
Saint Front de Pradoux
France

Planes

Bergerac airport is 30km away, served by Ryanair (www.ryanair.com); Bordeaux is 100km, served by British Airways (www.britishairways.com) and Easyjet (www.easyjet.com).

Trains

Mussidan station is 5km away, with services connecting to Bordeaux (www.sncf.com).

Automobiles

It takes an hour to drive here from Bordeaux; there is plenty of free parking close to the château.

Worth getting out of bed for

Go rambling in the hotel’s private park (Jordi can organise bikes or a walking tour). The château is in the heart of French wine country: Saint Emilion and Sauternes are worth exploring for their vineyards and historic châteaux. Thrillseekers can arrange canoe trips on the Dordogne (ask the hotel). Stop for lunch in Brantôme, and admire the town’s Gothic architecture and riverside cafes. Périgueux has plenty of historic charm, notably the Saint Front Cathedral, the Romanesque church of Saint Etienne de la Cité, the Mataguerre Tower and the half-timbered houses on Rue Limogeanne. Nose around the Maison Estignard, one of the best-preserved mediaeval merchant’s houses.

Local restaurants

Sample foie gras, truffles, wine jelly and other gourmet fare at La Tour des Vents (+33 (0)5 53 58 30 10) at Moulin de Malfourat, Monbazillac. The restaurant is perched on a hill, with sweeping views of the Dordogne. Expect artistic creations and vibrant flavours from Restaurant l’Essentiel (+33 (0)5 53 35 15 15) at 8 rue de la clarté, Périgueux. There are a variety of tasting menus to choose from, ranging from €37 to €110. Restaurant Etincelles (+33 (0)5 53 74 08 79) at Le Bourg, Sainte Sabine Born, adds a sophisticated modern spin to traditional cuisine. Dishes include sturgeon with lentil and hemp crumble, Périgord lamb with fennel and cabbage, and asparagus shortbread with mango, strawberry and fruit coulis.

Reviews

Photos Château La Thuilière - Dordogne - France

Anonymous review

We were wobbly with pleasure after 48 hours at Château La Thuilière. Slack-jawed and wobbly. Little tears, little soft tears of joy leaked out, as curly-mopped Patch the spaniel emerged onto the landing to bid us farewell in his own regal, poochy manner. Beautiful Eduard placed our receipt in a discreetly branded envelope of impeccable paper stock, along with two exquisite buttons of semi-sweet chocolate. Warm, kind Eduard. Jordi, he informed us, passed on his best wishes, but had gone to the market in Mussidan to pick up the ingredients of that evening’s five courser. Of course Jordi had. Lovely, twinkly Jordi, whose garden pea cappuccino with goats’ cheese foam had induced uncontrollable, goofy sighs of delight. It’s fair to say we were a little emotional as we left. No, not that kind of ‘emotional’ – not that. Although our honesty bar bill revealed that we had indeed been very, very honest over the course of our stay. No, it wasn’t that. We were just extremely relaxed. And now perhaps a little distraught. Now in the car, holding hands in silence, each of us staring ahead, slowly sucking our complimentary chocolates in silent, mournful dissolve.

‘You are two people? You have little luggage? You would like a... fun car?’ said the hire clerk at the airport, with a little wink and an arch of the eyebrow. Filthy. Course we did. As we fun-carred through the gates in our convertible, the sight of Château La Thuilière brought us to a halt. A long, white gravel driveway snaked under huge pines, past a sunken swimming pool and an ancient glasshouse full of tomato plants. At the summit of the gently sloping parkland approach stood the Château itself, a grand 19th-century objet d’amour over four stories, built as a wedding gift by a local marquis for his beloved. In the cool, dark wood-panelled reception hall, Jordi, Eduard and Patch greeted us from behind a beautiful old antique bureau. Patch and Eduard gave us a tour of the ground floor: the elegant billiard room; the tapis-walled dining room with its magnificent, long communal dining table; the lounge and music room, piled high with books on design, art and our hosts’ homeland of Catalonia. The local legend of Saint Front – a daring apostle who, legend has it, killed the pesky village dragon – had certainly inspired the marquis. Eduard pointed out dragons carved into various panels and on the ends of the bannister. The old boy had also commissioned a suitably fabulous stained-glass portrait of himself back in the day, done up in full knight’s armour, the cheeky devil.

With the shutters and windows open in our large, airy suite, voices drifted up from the balcony below – guests returned from the pool, freshening up for dinner. Another two guests had plonked themselves in hammocks, highballs poking out above the canvas. Strutting out from beneath them came Frank, a gallus, flamboyantly trousered cockerel, performing his daily pre-prandial inspection. Eduard came over to smile at us (and possibly just at life itself), before softly reading that evening’s menu.

Oh, there was a rich potatoey parmentier with a soft-poached golden yolk (apparently delivered by one of Frank’s concubines earlier that morning); an insanely succulent, singsonging piece of red-peppercorn-infused cod, cooked sous vide (posh boil-in-the-bag). There was a splendid bottle of something from nearby Bergerac to accompany. Jordi appeared at our table in his immaculate chef’s whites, suddenly, wide-eyed and Wonka-like, to gleefully introduce that evening’s cheeses, the names of the local producers and a few tasting tips. There was dessert, and that was, well, whatever – by that point we had melted into our blankets in a kind of blissful fugue state. Torches and candles had been lit around us and coffee and digestifs would shortly be served in the lounge.

Dinner is normally served at the communal dining room table but, for the two nights we were there, was served at separate tables in the garden. Yet there was ample opportunity to get to know our fellow guests, each night after dinner, as we sprawled across beautifully curated pieces of furniture, replete and knowing. In the course of our stay we got to know, among others, a German architect, a Brazilian food scientist, an English antique collector and a Belgian philosophy professor. Clever old us. That said, both days, apart from during cocktail hour, after dinner, or at the communal breakfast table, we really didn’t see much of anyone. With just seven rooms and such brilliantly discreet – but completely attentive – service, you feel as though you’ve been invited to stay at the home of a wonderfully sophisticated, thoughtful and generous friend.

We made a couple of modest excursions, purely out of a sense of duty. We walked from the Château grounds through fields of sunflowers to a nearby ninth-century church, the key to which Jordi kept in a secret drawer. We drove into town and popped into Super U – who can resist a French supermarket? We bought flan and carottes râpées and pastis and tins of French diluting juice. There were speakers in the car park trolley bays. Speakers, blaring out funk. So we danced.

Back at the gaff, it was time for Tanqueray. And Frank. And Patch. And Eduard with the menu. And Armagnac and cigarettes and music and chat and bed again. And after an, er, light breakfast of coffee, croissants, organic yoghurt with homemade apricot compote, local cheeses and saucisson, home-baked bread and white chocolate cake, it was time to say goodbye.

And we sat in our fun car for a long time under the trees, holding hands. Devising a wedding. And a car park reception.
 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Château La Thuilière’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The food, relaxed home away from home atmosphere. Hospitality of Eduard, Georgi and Patch..

Don’t expect

To party the night away

Rating

Stayed on 29 Aug 2016

We loved

Calm, peace and tranquility. Gourmet food in the evening and the cosy charm of breakfast in the kitchen.

Don’t expect

Entertainment or children screaming... It's for adults only

Rating

Stayed on 28 Jun 2016

We loved

The welcome, the food and the dog - all made us feel most at home.

Don’t expect

Walking to attractions or public transport - the Dordogne is quite spread out, but the drive is lovely.

Rating

Stayed on 18 Apr 2016

We loved

Everything! Best food and service in the region, attention to details is second to none.. Our very own private chateau without the hustle of taking care of the property. Take a car and drive to the vineyards, across beautiful French countryside and all the way down to Arcachon if the time permits. Don't forget to take a walk around the property.

Don’t expect

Being entertained - this is a private and quiet BB.

Rating

Stayed on 9 Apr 2016

We loved

The friendly, helpful service, the peaceful atmosphere, dining outside, the choice of full 5 course dinner or a snack menu, the best breakfasts ever and mosquito netting over the windows so you could leave them open all night.

Don’t expect

Air conditioning, wi fi in your bedroom

Rating

Stayed on 30 Aug 2015

We loved

Absolutely everything, perfect spot, lovely staff, just fab.

Don’t expect

To do anything locally without a car.

Rating

Stayed on 23 Aug 2015

We loved

The atmostphere, their hospitality.

Don’t expect

Waiter service or free choice of food for the evening meal.

Rating

Stayed on 21 Aug 2015

We loved

Absolutely everything. The laid-back ambience, the light waft of jazz standards in the background, the smell of oak polish, the incredible interior design, breathtaking scenery, gourmet food, delicious local wines, impeccable service...could go on forever!

Don’t expect

To be able to walk to the nearest town. This is the land of seclusion in idyllic French countryside (bliss!), and does need a car if you're planning to go anywhere beyond the fields of sunflowers and golden corn (why would you?)!

Rating

Stayed on 4 Aug 2015

We loved

The host – without doubt the nicest host we have ever experienced whilst on holiday. The grounds were beautiful and the chateau was amazing. Breakfast was freshly made every day and the general service was outstanding.

Don’t expect

A bad experience!

Rating

Stayed on 29 Jul 2015

We loved

Tapas on the terrace, the pool, billiard table. Chateau was beautifully restored. Nine out of 10.

Don’t expect

Air conditioning, room did stay relatively cool due to the shutters and high ceilings however even with the big fan in the room it was fairly warm.

Rating

Stayed on 20 Jul 2015

We loved

Everything, it was fantastic, if you want to get away to the middle of nowhere and relax this is for you.

Don’t expect

not to get bitten... damn Mozzies

Rating

Stayed on 11 Jun 2015

We loved

Rooms are beautifully appointed and quite unique. The linens were lovely as well. Good mix of modern and old.

Don’t expect

We couldn't access the internet in our room – they are working on the problem. Also, be prepared to drive at least an hour to see many of the Dordogne sights.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Sep 2014