The restored Relais de Chambord in France’s Loire Valley sits on the same patch of parkland as the fabled chateau over the road. The hotel’s 16th-century interiors have had a modernising makeover, but the fireplace and library ensure the heritage remains intact. All eyes, however, are on the gloriously curving castle, especially out on your terrace, where you can channel your inner Louis XIV and sip a raspberry liqueur as you survey the monolithic masterpiece in front of you.
All ages welcome. Cots can be added if booked in advance for no extra cost; extra beds can be added to the Junior Suite and Junior Suite Chambord categories (€33 for under-12s; €62 for over-12s). Some rooms interconnect.
Snag a spot on the front row of the terrace to make acquaintance with the chateau’s many and varied turrets.
King and queen for a day.
An elaborate spread of pastries, cheese and fruit is laid out for guests in Grand Saint Michel every morning, where design flourishes include Patricia Urquiola chairs and a Marcel Wanders chandelier. The chef uses seasonal ingredients which can be enjoyed in one of the restaurant’s two grand dining rooms, if the views of the – let’s face it – even grander castle next door haven’t lured you outside onto the terrace. As for the food, the star of the show is the pairing of rhubarb with foie gras.
The Bar du Relais, connected to the restaurant, has a cosy club vibe going on (leather chairs, brassy accents, fireplace). You can also take your drinks out into the chateau-facing terrace in summer, or settle for a round of pool or some board games in winter.
Breakfast is served from 7.30am until 10.30am (11am at weekends). Lunch is between 12.30pm and 2.30pm. Dinner service is from 7.30pm until 10pm. Drinks are served in the bar between 7.30pm and 10pm.
Salads, sandwiches, pastas and burgers are available until 10.30pm.
Relais de Chambord is in the northern French countryside, two hours south of Paris in the heart of the Loire Valley.
You’ll probably touch down in Paris: the drive from Orly should take an hour and 50 minutes, and the hotel can arrange transfers.
The Eurostar connects London and other European cities with Paris, after which you’ll need to pick up your own wheels and head south to Chambord, or continue on a two-hour rail journey to Mer, which is the closest station to the hotel.
The nearest town is Blois, 20 minutes away by car. The hotel has a car park. Within the estate, you’ll be able to roam around by bicycle or on a game drive, so won’t necessarily need your own wagon.
Worth getting out of bed for
After you’ve drunk your weight in Chambord and kicked back at the spa, it’s time to get exploring the rolling grounds. Feeling energetic but not too energetic? Hop on one of the hotel’s electric bikes. Step out Louis XIV-style to explore the Chambord forest, or hire a boat and set off down the Loire Canal. The key local attraction is pretty obvious, even if you’re not looking very hard – the multi-turreted, French fairy-tale fantasy castle,Le Château de Chambord, is looming before you. The hotel reception can arrange guided tours – don’t miss its double spiral staircase and ornamental moat.
Outside the parkland, there are are plenty of classic boulangeries from which to source the requisite baguettes and croissants to pop into the basket of your borrowed bicycle. Within the grounds of the park, you’ll find a food truck fancily called the Camionnette de Restauration (this is France, where even roadside restaurants are fabulous). Next to the hotel, La Cave des Rois is a fit-for-a-king retreat, with a suitably well-stocked wine list.
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 hotel in France and unpacked their red wine and raspberry liqueur, a full account of their rural break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Relais de Chambord…
If you know anything about French history, you’ll know that its royalty liked to live well. So well, in fact, that they lost their heads. But in their heyday they did employ some pretty amazing architects. Commissioned as kennels for the king’s hunting hounds, Relais de Chambord in the Loire Valley now welcomes guests of the non-canine category to enjoy its monochrome murals, parquet floors and velvet headboards. You can see one of the finest chateaux in France from your bedroom window (if you’ve booked carefully) or from the restaurant terrace. The parkland (or domaine, for the Francophiles among us) spans an area as big as Paris – this is a hotel with some serious countryside to offer. As well as landscaped gardens, you’ll find canals, rivers and forests, to explore on foot, on a game drive or by bicycle with a baguette sticking out of your basket. By night, you’ll have the stately Chateau de Chambord to yourself from the relais’ vantage point, after the crowds have dispersed. The sort of benefit previously only applied if your name was Louis.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Le Relais de Chambord’s Guestbook below.
The proximity to Chateau de Chambord. The food at dinner in the main restaurant was excellent.
A cheap restaurant at lunch, and the food was very average.
Stayed on 24 Aug 2019
The view of Chateau Chambord from the terrace - stunning at night.
Peace and quiet - it's a busy hotel by a main tourist spot on the Loire Valley chateaux tour.
Stayed on 16 Aug 2019
Overlooking the chateau. Rooms were modern, clean and fully functioning. Staff quite friendly.
We think this hotel is really for tourists wanting to see the Chateau. Not much else around and the hotel had a bit of a clinical feel.