Charente-Maritime, France

Manoir de Plaisance

Rates per night from$99.78

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 (EUR88.18), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

For your pleasure

Setting

Good natured

Boutique bed and breakfast Manoir de Plaisance (former home of the Delmas dynasty from the 19th century) is a storybook French fancy with a few tales to tell: those penned by noted author Christiane, par exemple, or those told of Uncle Maurice who ‘fished’ with grenades in lakes… Current owners – and impeccable hosts – Michael and Ben, make the past present in the heirloom-studded suites. They’ve fostered a cosy, calm space, where meals come home-cooked most evenings and long, lazy picnics can be taken in lavishly landscaped grounds, which roll out to the Marais Poitevin park beyond.

Smith Extra

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A bottle of champagne

Facilities

Photos Manoir de Plaisance facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Just four suites

Check–Out

11am. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $99.78 (€88), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €0.80 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates usually include a French Continental breakfast: a spread of bread and pastries from the local boulangerie, fresh fruits (some picked on site), hams and cheeses, and the like.

Also

The duo of salons are set for curling up and flipping through coffee-table books. Nose around the grounds and you’ll see hidden statuary, freshwater streams and maybe the raft of resident ducks.

Please note

This winter, the hotel will be closed from 16 December, 2018, to 28 February, 2019.

Hotel closed

The hotel closes on 21 December annually, and reopens for New Year's Eve.

At the hotel

Tennis court; acres of grounds with two lakes; streams to fish in; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: antiques collected by the owners (and a few heirlooms); walk-in shower; Nespresso machine; kettle and a selection of teas; bath products. There are no TVs – after all, you’re here to relax…

Our favourite rooms

Each of this quartet has something uniquely special. The Suite Delmas has its own salon overlooking the garden; Chambre de l'Ecrivain a bath tub in the bedroom and a special ‘tower shower’; Chambre Christiane has a fully furnished balcony; and Chambre Maurice has dual-aspect French windows. Choices, choices…

Poolside

The 98sq m saltwater pool (usually open from late May to September) is sunk into lawn. There are sunloungers, and fragrant planters and all-natural views make this a lovely place for laps.

Packing tips

Bring your chapeaux for shade and shoes made for wandering… or sandals and freshly pedicured tootsies. Leave any gizmos behind – this is an unplugged kind of place.

Also

Chambre Maurice and Chambre Christiane can be connected on request.

Children

The property is adults-only, so leave les bébés at home and give yourself fully to Gallic romance.

Food and Drink

Photos Manoir de Plaisance food and drink

Top Table

Reenact Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe (perhaps with a few more clothes), recumbent on a blanket in the grounds.

Dress Code

Campagne chic; go for gingham and wicker baskets, linen shorts and light blazers.

Hotel restaurant

Table d'hôte meals are served on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings. Ben wears the toque, and he’s availed himself of the freshest catches, homegrown harvests and locally loved flavours to compose don’t-miss three-course meals – with a delightfully cheesy coda. An apéritif is included and the reasonably priced list of local wines pair well with his creations. Let Ben know about any dietary anomalies a day in advance. Breakfasts are a fulsome spread of regional pastries, breads, fruits, cakes and some savouries, and lunches – cherry-picked local delicacies – are packed into a picnic basket.

Hotel bar

The honesty bar in the main salon has soft drinks, spirits, beers and local wines from Île de Ré. Take your drink there, or in the entry salon from which the sunset looks especially lovely. Or, take to the little tables for two on the lawn.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 8am to 10am (earlier or later if you ask nicely), the table d'hôte’s apéritifs are poured from 7.30pm; the meal starts at 8pm and wraps up around 10pm.

Room service

There’s no formal room service, but no-one will stop you from picnicking in your room.

Location

Photos Manoir de Plaisance location
Address
Manoir de Plaisance
Plaisance
Benon
17170
France

Planes

La Rochelle Airport is the closest (just a 30-minute drive); Nantes is a 90-minute drive. There are direct flights to both from major cities throughout Europe, and international flights from Africa and Canada fly into Nantes. Visitors from the US must stopover in mainland Europe.

Trains

If you’re arriving via Eurostar, you can connect to Surgères (the closest station to the Manoir, just a 10-minute drive away), Niort or La Rochelle from Gare de l’Est, a 10-minute walk from du Nord. However, each is a journey of around three hours, with multiple changes, so acquire some wheels for a faff-free journey.

Automobiles

The hotel’s tucked-away country locale makes hiring a car essential. You can pick up some wheels in La Rochelle, a 40-minute drive away; follow the N11 and you’ll come upon pretty village Benon, a route that takes you through the lush Marais-Poitevin nature park. There’s free parking on site.

Other

Brittany Ferries runs a regular route from Portsmouth to St Malo; from there, the hotel is a four-hour drive.

Worth getting out of bed for

Well-earned R ‘n’ R is this sedate stay’s raison d'être, so there’s little need to leap from your bed; after all, it’s so soft and snuggly… When you do leave your cocoon of Egyptian cotton, you can play board games, read, or wander the grounds, perhaps fish in the stream, swim or play tennis if you’re really amped up. Michael and Ben are always happy to stop for a chat, too.

Spreading out from the hotel’s own impressive grounds, Marais Poitevin Regional Nature Park is a beautiful expanse of marshes and wetland, home to a coterie of birds and animals. You can bike or explore on foot, but its best seen by boat along the canals that give it the nickname Green Venice. Wander the mediaeval streets of coastal city La Rochelle (a 30-minute drive away) where there are towers to scale, a painter-inspiring view from the harbour and markets to trawl – plus, the Plage des Minimes to sunbathe on. From there, cross the bridge to Îlé de Ré to find more sandy stretches. Niort (also a 30-minute drive away) is known for its Donjon (not Miami Vice’s finest, but the remnants of a 12th-century castle) and 16th-century town hall – now a visual arts space. For more eye-catching antiquity and local delicacies, the commune of Surgères is just a 10-minute drive.

Local restaurants

We strongly advise you to try Ben’s home-cooked meals; however, as they’re only available four evenings a week, you’ll occasionally have to seek sustenance elsewhere. Luckily, the region’s fruitful land and sea means fresh, flavourful ingredients are a source of pride in local eateries. Just a 10-minute drive away is Le Relais de la Forêt for elegantly plated sea fare and sinful desserts. On the Îlé de Ré, Bistrot du Marin promises cuisine like your grandmother made – especially if grand-mère captained a trawler. Le Panier de Crabes in La Rochelle looks unassuming but is a must-try for its seafood cornucopia. Christopher Coutanceau, the self-named eatery of a ruggedly dashing fisherman and chef has stylish sea-inspired decor and a lure-lined menu – but you’ll set course for the chef’s table for fishy dishes of all ilk…

Reviews

Photos Manoir de Plaisance 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 historic country-house hotel by the lush leafy marshlands of the Marais Poitevin park and unpacked their sprigs of wildflowers and newfound sense of insouciance, a full account of their away-from-it-all break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Manoir de Plaisance in western France…

Manoir de Plaisance was the Delmas dynasty’s family pile for more than a century. They may have reached the end of the lineage, but English couple Michael and Ben – who safeguarded the noble residence by reinventing it as a boutique bed and breakfast – have ensured the family’s presence is felt still. Meet elegant scribe Christiane, whose books can be pored over in the gracious suite bearing her name. And, Maurice, the ‘wacky uncle’ of the group who enjoyed hurling grenades in the grounds’ two lakes and called it ‘fishing’; his suite has charmingly aged walls, antiques and a roll-top bath tub in which to soak while overlooking the grounds (as you contemplate the next barrage, naturellement…). With just four suites, cosy lounges and home-cooked table d'hôte meals on select evenings, it still feels very much the home. And unfurling from the doorstep are landscaped lawns, tree-trimmed lakes, secluded picnicking spots and greenery that seamlessly spills over into the wild and wonderful Marais Poitevin park. Flop on the grass, while away afternoons with a glass of wine and a book, listen out for birds singing in the distance and the trickling of a stream – it’s as if time hasn’t moved a minute since the Delmas first moved in…

The Guestbook

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