hotel review fontevraud l h tel loire valley france 1 825x510 - Hotel Review: Fontevraud L’Hôtel, Loire Valley, France

Imagine sleeping in a priory where nuns once tended lepers, sipping an aperitif in the former chapel, dining in the cloister. L’Hotel at Fontevraud, near Saumur in the Loire Valley, announces itself so discreetly that it’s hard to distinguish from the rest of the great French abbey complex of which it forms part. Until you get inside. Then it’s Apple meets the Middle Ages. On arrival guests are given a mini iPad which serves as a remote control, a source of information and enables them to make free internal and external phone calls – even internationally.

Accommodation

Hotel Review: Fontevraud L’Hôtel, Loire Valley, France

The bedrooms have a monastic look but without monastic discomfort. There’s a hairshirt coloured angled bed head and spotlights perfectly positioned for reading. The bed has a breathable mattresses from a Nantes-based company, Biosense. The television is hidden behind a sliding screen so you can just want to ignore it. You get BBC 1 and 2 if you don’t. The Fontevraud TV channel provides information on the Abbey.

The bathroom has a rain and hand held shower heads. I thought that the wash basin was rather large for a hotel claiming eco credentials – but  loved the locally made honey soap with a little sisal sack so you can take it away rather than waste it. There are heating controls but no air conditioning.

Who for

Perfect for lovers of European history and foodies. The Abbey, founded at the start of the 12th Century, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was unusual in that it was run by Abbesses and welcomed both sexes. Among the tombs in the great abbey church are those of Richard the Lionheart, Henry II and his Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Napoleon turned the Abbey into a prison. It has since been restored to a approximation of its original state. You can wander around it at night after the other tourists have left, or book a modestly priced, guided tour through the hotel.

Facilities

Hotel Review: Fontevraud L’Hôtel, Loire Valley, France

The bar has touch screen tabletops enabling guests to mug up on the history of the abbey and those associated with it, or play chess. There is a fully equipped seminar/conference/event rooms for 20 – 1000 people.

Food

Hotel Review: Fontevraud L’Hôtel, Loire Valley, France

Chef Thibaut Ruggeri’s cooking is inventive and exciting. Think radish sorbet, lemon and black olives for dessert, pigeon fillet with almonds and a cognac marzipan. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, either, with menus at €20, €58 and €95. Water comes from the spring after which the abbey was named. Like dinner, the buffet breakfast is set up in the cloister – a lovely French selection including croissants, fresh bread, pastries, eggs – and delicious honey from the abbey’s own hives.

What’s nearby

If you’re staying more than one night the Chateaux of the Loire and the vineyards and caves of Saumur are within easy reach.

Wi-Fi available

Free Wi-Fi is accessed with a code which changes daily.

Room Rates

Double rooms from €125 – €185 depending on season; family rooms (2 adults, 2 children €150 – €195; suites €170 – €230. Breakfast is extra at €15.

Value for money

Genuine value for the whole experience – room, cooking and intimate access to the abbey.

More Articles

REVIEW OVERVIEW
TripAdvisor (171 reviews)
Booking (332 reviews)
  • TAGS
  • Loire Valley
Share
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
Pinterest
Linkedin
ReddIt
Email
Print
Tumblr
StumbleUpon
Digg
Previous articleWould you book a hotel room for a few hours?
Next articleVilla Review: Woodlawn Villas, Koh Tao, Thailand
Roger Bray

More Articles

Sign up to The Travel Magazine’s FREE Newsletter and get the latest news, articles, guides, promotions and competitions.

SIGN UP HERE

Advertisement

GOT SOMETHING TO SAY?

12,133FansLike
8,830FollowersFollow
2,749,798FollowersFollow

Search Hotels

Exchange Rates

The Travel Magazine is a travel portal with highly informative, upbeat and inspirational articles for people who love to travel. We are storytellers.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

© The Travel Magazine Ltd

Edit with Live CSS
Save
Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. CTRL + SPACE for auto-complete.