Need to know
14, including nine suites.
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 10am.
Double rooms from $193.60 (€181), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include breakfast and free Wifi.
Perfect your aioli, roux or tarte aux pommes in the hotel’s kitchens: guests can spend a day helping the chef prepare lunch, starting with a trip to the vegetable gardens to pick ingredients. You’re likely to be sharing kitchen space with the next big thing: Ducasse dispatches fledgling chefs to the hotel on work placements.
The hotel is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between February and Mid-April, and from October to December.
At the hotel
Vineyards, vegetable gardens, bicycles (on request), boutique selling local groceries and ingredients, WiFi. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar, bergamot-scented bath products (made specially for the hotel by the Different Company).
Our favourite rooms
For historic gravitas, opt for the Lucrèce de Barras Suite (where the General de Gaulle often rested his hoary head – though his handsome handmade bed, replete with wooden cherubs and flowers, resides in the Angelique de Champigny Superior Room). Garcende de Sabran is a Suite that counts a set of old-fashioned wooden scales among its charms (avoid this if you’ve just indulged in the tasting menu). Honeymooners tend to gravitate towards Superior Room Etiennette de Sault for its privacy and Provence views. Occupying an entire floor (with an annexe), this room has a secluded garden and twin sun beds.
Built on Roman ruins, the tranquil outdoor pool overlooks the 12th-century abbey and its bell tower and has a clutch of elegant wooden loungers with ruby-red covers. Thick white towels and parasols are provided and there’s a service cabin with toilets and changing rooms, an honesty bar and a telephone so guests can ring for a cooling <i>citron pressé</i> or plate of tuna Nicoise.
Leave suitcase space for bottles of fruity Côteaux Varois wine, sold in the village wine shop next door. Bring arm bands for water babies and the current favourite toy or teddy – the hotel doesn’t provide much for Smith Junior (beyond a few board games).
If you love the hotel’s bergamot bath products, stock up on them in the little boutique in the former chapel. The lady who runs the shop doubles up as the resident masseuse: let staff know in advance if you’d like a treatment.
Children are welcome, but they’ll have to amuse themselves (the gardens, pool and vineyards should help). Babysitting is available for €25 an hour (minimum three hours; give at least an hour’s notice).
Children aged eight and above, who you’d be happy to let loose in the gardens and vineyards unsupervised.
Perpétue de la Celle is a really spacious suite, with room for up to two children to sleep in its downstairs living area. Upstairs, there’s a bedroom with an exotic feel – thanks to the Moroccan bed-head – and a bathroom with olive-green tiles.
Kids will love running wild in the gardens and vineyards; water babies will want to spend most of their time in the pool. The chefs are sociable sorts: let them know if you and your brood would like an instructional tour of the vegetable garden, or a cookery class aimed at young ’uns.
Bring your own arm bands and floats for the pool – the hotel doesn’t have any spares. It’s an unsupervised area, so parents need to be on hand to keep an eye on children (and keep in line with French pool laws).
For €25, children can enjoy any course on the menu with a drink and ice-cream. Items can also be adapted to junior palates, with sauces removed or chips added in. Highchairs are available and picnic baskets can be provided.
Babysitting is available for €25 an hour (minimum three hours; give at least an hour’s notice).
No need to pack
The hotel can provide bicycles – just let staff know you need them in advance.
There are baby-changing facilities in the toilet by the restaurant.