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Forged from seven medieval buildings in a hilltop village in Provence, Hotel Crillon le Brave captures both the romance and views of the Côtes du Rhône wine region.
The 32 rooms, including seven suites and a two bedroom cottage, mix the old with the new. Bose iPod docks and complimentary Wi-Fi compliment the muted palette and painted furniture in the rooms that are interspersed amongst the houses, which in turn are interconnected by winding cobbled passageways, bridges and secret courtyards, making it undeniably romantic.
The hotel's unrivalled views over the surrounding vineyards, olive groves and Mont Ventoux - the gateway to the Alps - are best seen from the swimming pool. Other facilities include a pétanque court for some good old fashioned French fun, a tennis court nearby, and bicycles to explore the surrounding countryside and small market towns (a market of some sort is on every day within half an hour's drive of Hotel Crillon le Brave). For the culturally minded, there are walking tours of local towns and cities, where guests can absorb centuries of history, form the Visigoths to the French Resistance, via the Avignon Papacy. Alternatively, the hotel offers scooter rides where guests can zip around the countryside on mopeds, gastronomic experiences, such as cookery courses in Avignon, and boat cruises along the Rhone to Avignon.
The restaurant too shares the great views, with unquestionably good food. Locally sourced and always fresh, the cuisine is typically French with Provençal filet d'agneau and Mediterranean sea bass often topping the menu. We defy you to spend less than three hours at lunch - the food, wine and views remind us of what France is really like.
Being in the Côtes du Rhône region, wine can of course cannot be overlooked, nor should it be, with an endless selection on the hotel's doorstep. The hotel can arrange tours to well known regions Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Vacqueyras for those who like to try before they buy.
If burning off the cheese, wine and pistou is on your mind, why not follow in the tracks of the Tour de France and tackle the legendary Mont Ventoux. If you find yourself walking the last stretch you'll be in good company, as reigning champion Chris Froome had to do just that in 2016. A more leisurely option is a cycle tour of the areas vineyards with a picnic lunch. With horse riding, kayaking and hiking through the Provençal countryside on offer, there are activities for everyone. Post adventure, there is a spa at the hotel offering facials, massages and scrubs.
Why we love it
An antiques market is on every Saturday and Sunday at nearby l'Isle sur la Sorgue - coinciding perfectly with a long weekend away.
Kate L, Original Traveller