Charente-Maritime, France

Manoir de Plaisance

Price per night from$190.59

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 (EUR168.18), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

For your pleasure

Setting

Good natured

Manoir de Plaisance is a 19th-century boutique bed and breakfast that’s bijou – with just four suites – but big on charm. Notable members of the Delmas family (who lived here for more than a century) are commemorated in singularly lovely rooms with canopied beds, antiques and roll-top bath tubs, and current owners Michael and Ben lay on the home comforts, with lovingly prepared table d'hôte meals on most evenings and picnic baskets for forays into the sprawling grounds. With two tree-lined lakes and exquisitely pruned lawns and glades rolling out into the Marais Poitevin natural park, there are fewer places more plaisant

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A selection of homemade macaroons and a decanter of local Pineau des Charentes in your room

Facilities

Photos Manoir de Plaisance facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Just four suites.

Check–Out

11am. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £166.48 (€185), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €0.70 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.

Hotel closed

The hotel closes from 24 to 27 December (inclusive) each year.

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; inside, you'll have your own table for two.

Dress Code

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

Hotel restaurant

Table d'hôte meals are served every evening – guests should book at least 24 hours in advance if they'd like to take part. 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

The hotel is on a plot of lushly landscaped private parkland in Western France, in between La Rochelle and Marais Poitevin (AKA Green Venice) both within 30 minutes’ drive.

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, but if you'd like to seek sustenance elsewhere, 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
Alexis Williams

Anonymous review

By Alexis Williams, Wandering publisher

If you’re reading this you’re most likely flirting with holiday mode. To me, that means the rare luxury of putting yourself first, and most importantly deep, deep, deep relaxation. The latter, of course, is usually never achieved.
 
So, now that we’re in holiday mode, I’d like to play a game. Games are for those rare moments of childlike optimism before the big monster grown-up me stomps all over it in an attempt to order the chaos. 
 
The game is ‘never have I ever’. Granted, it’s a game more associated with adolescent drinking games, but for those unfamiliar with the rules, the idea is simple: you admit to some sort of profound truth and then take a shot / reveal a body part / kiss someone etc. I’ll spare you the usual indignities and just get to it: never have I ever stayed in a hotel and not left the premises. Until now…

The whole point of a holiday in my mind is to use your digs as a strict base, and then head out all day to explore far and wide. The only reason to return to the hotel is to sleep. And hopefully, one is exhausted enough to sleep deeply until the next day – preferably after nine plus hours of shut-eye, when breakfast is ready.

But the fact remains: running around new destinations like a headless chicken, cramming as many Instagrammable moments into the day while consuming a zillion calories (most of them in liquid form) absolutely does not chime with my holiday goals of deep, deep, deep relaxation. Which is why Manoir du Plaisance (rather pleasantly) stopped me in my tracks. And I’m still trying to understand why.

The journey from the UK was easy enough. Train to plane. Plane to hire car. Short skip from La Rochelle, and we were there. Very quick. La Rochelle is just 30 minutes away, but Bordeaux and Nante airports are no more than a couple of hours drive away, too, so there are three airports to choose from. The drive up to the house is a delight. Discreetly tucked away within a heavy forest, Manoir de Plaisance is like discovering a hidden treasure. This chocolate box pile reveals itself seductively, framed by ancient trees and a gorgeous lake with peacocks sauntering around the grounds. Truly chocolate box!

My shoulders instantly unknotted. But what about my partner, the hard-to-please Yorkshireman? I flicked him a glance and, oh my, the slightest hint of a smile. I love it when this happens because it saves me having to explain in agonising detail why he should like something (anything).

Entering the house, our most primal sense was captured by a soothing aroma. We immediately felt at home. Seconds later, we were greeted by one of the chirpy owners who welcomed us and helped with our luggage. The whole experience felt like staying with friends, but the grandest of friends with the most exquisite taste and impeccable manners. The type of friend you find even the smallest excuse to visit. The type of friend who will never remind you that you visit so frequently that you really should consider putting yourself on the electoral roll.

The philosophy at this place is: less is more. Cramming rooms into the available space is not the owners’ style. Instead, their approach is to consider deeply how guests feel. And they’re right: I would rather be surrounded by fewer people and have a much bigger space in which to swish my long scarf.

Although this is technically a b&b, the owners also cater for dinner – so long as you pre-book. The dining room is an intimate affair, for guests only. A quick ‘hello’ or ‘bonsoir’ to fellow guests, and we were seated at our table, drinking something sparkling.

The four-course menu and wine list would’ve been exceptional for any city-set French restaurant, but it was completely unexpected out here in the countryside. A few hours later, with full bellies, we retired to our oh-so-elegant aristocratic suite. And for once, we didn’t flick on the iPad to watch Newsnight; we went straight to sleep.

Remember that deep, deep, deep relaxation I was talking about? Well, nine hours later, and after a hearty breakfast, we went back to our room and slept a little more. Then woke up, had a long bath, and spent the rest of the day by the pool. This was the rhythm for the whole weekend: blissful, genteel elegance. 

In my line of work, I often get asked what luxury is. Or I hear a hundred different versions of what other brands think it is. But listen, this is it!

We contemplated leaving the hotel to explore, but the pull of deep relaxation was strong. Couple that with faultless service and mouth-watering plates, it’s a certainty that we’ll be going back.

Price per night from $190.59

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