This luxurious lodge opened in 2018.
At first look, my arrival on the Resort Chais Monnet and Spa doesn’t look like notably welcoming. Thick imposing partitions conceal what was as soon as a Nineteenth-century buying and selling home and cellars owned by Jean-Gabriel Monnet in 1898. When you’ve swept by the gates, you’ve entered an immaculately landscaped backyard of garden and decorative grasses neglected by two grand mansions – one a categorised monument. Past sit two arresting, up to date glass sq. buildings adorned with metal tendrils which resemble vines.
As a reminder you’re in France, two pristine iconic Citroen 2CVs (which visitors can use to pootle across the vineyards) sit on the entrance.
A couple of 90-minute prepare trip away from Bordeaux or La Rochelle, sitting simply exterior the city, the property is now within the succesful fingers of Javad Marandi (proprietor of movie star hangout Soho Farmhouse within the Cotswolds). He enlisted architect Didier Poignant to rework this industrial property right into a luxurious lodge which opened in 2018.
Many of the 92 rooms are reached by way of the huge glass atrium with authentic beams, a circular-glass elevator and a sweeping Hollywood-style staircase. It’s all been sensitively designed across the outdated buildings and adorned with dramatic trendy sculptural items. Regardless of its slick look, Chais Monnet is sublimely enjoyable.
Maybe it’s the sunshine streaming by the glass roof, the extremely discreet workers who hover silently, showing simply whenever you want them, or the pure pleasure of being on this quintessential a part of rural France, nevertheless it’s a heady mixture.
The lodge has 92 refined and cosy rooms.
Rooms are available 4 classes. There’s additionally a further 4 flats for bigger teams and an exquisite suite. All typify French magnificence and are available within the colors of the Cognac ageing course of – from warming ambers to deep tobacco tones.
Textured materials from Pierre Frey sit superbly towards pale oak furnishings with leather-based tops and herringbone flooring are topped with lovely rugs.
Rooms are refined and cosy sanctuaries with little out of doors seating areas. There are cabinets galore, lovely sofas and chairs, mini bars, even monogrammed writing paper. Nothing has been neglected and the luxurious bogs include toiletries from Grasse perfumer, Fragonard.
Meals and Drink
You’ll be dizzy earlier than you even strive a sip of one of many 220 completely different Cognacs on the elevated bar in Le 1838, the previous cooperage. It has a gents’s club-meets grandcountry-house vibe with chesterfields, brass devices and cowskincovered ottomans.
If the climate’s positive, there’s additionally a rooftop bar with sweeping views throughout city. Chais Monnet’s fine-dining restaurant, Les Foudres, has simply been awarded a Michelin star and this 12 months, for the primary time exterior Paris, the Michelin information will likely be launched in Cognac. That’s some recognition.
Trendy Le 1838 cocktail bar is about within the outdated cooperage.
Chais Monnet’s Head Chef Marc-Antoine Lepage is a grasp at creating culinary masterpieces but additionally artistically visible creations. The elegant restaurant sits within the ageing cellars below 100-year-old barrels.
A taster of the menu consists of artichoke cream ravioli, line-caught wild turbot and veal cooked in a crust of bread. The five-course tasting menu prices €135.
For one thing slightly extra relaxed, La Distillery, with its closely beamed roof, picket tables and tiled flooring, affords all of the French classics, from snails and oysters, to steaks, duck and guinea fowl. Starters from €14, mains, €22. And for a fast pick-me-up after touring the Cognac distillers, the Angelique cafe does a depraved afternoon tea served by the completely charming Brit, David.
Housed in one of many glass buildings, start your wellness journey within the spa both within the inviting indoor/out of doors pool, Jacuzzi or the array of “bathe experiences” which features a tranquil waterfall full with tropical birdsong and heat waters, earlier than the heavens open and a monster storm with lightning and thunder rains down. 5 rooms supply all the pieces from salt scrubs to deep massages. In case you fancy one thing extra intense, there’s a gymnasium with all you want. Physique exfoliation from €130.
Calm down within the spa with a remedy or two.
THE DEAL: Double rooms at Chais Monnet Resort & Spa begin from £220, room solely, chaismonnethotel.com. Excursions might be aranged by way of the lodge.
Extra to see and do
There’s a lot extra to Cognac than Cognac. Right here’s a taster of issues and locations to not miss:
Chais Monnet sits minutes from the city. Meander by the winding streets, lined with lovely shuttered buildings, Twelfth-century church buildings and boutiques. Seize a bicycle on the lodge for a pootle alongside the riverside promenade, residence to traditional Cognac homes, Martell, Hennessy and, additional on the town, Remy Martin.
Sail alongside the waters of the Charente River on a reproduction of a picket crusing boat, the Gabarre. The boats sailed within the 18th and Nineteenth centuries transporting items reminiscent of wine, stone and salt. Today, you’ll have the river nearly to your self as you glide alongside.
Cognac is residence to fifteen cognac homes and there are additionally greater than 4,000 winegrowers within the area, and its greatest export market is the US due to their love of a cocktail. The Queen sources her cognac from Thomas Hine and Co based in 1763 the place Cellar Grasp Eric has been mixing cognacs for 20 years. There are extra variations than you would possibly suppose, and with older ones, reminiscent of VSOP (very particular outdated pale), the richer and smoother it turns into. Unsurprisingly a tour culminates in a marathon tasting of six varieties.
The smaller, fourth-generation Cognac Home, Painturaud Freres, within the fairly city of Segonzac, has an cute distillery and you may even take pleasure in a picnic within the winery earlier than taking a tour of its “engine room”. Proper now it’s harvest time and they’re busy beginning the distillation course of.
The breakfast of French champions is oysters with balsamic vinegar, washed down with a crisp white wine. The tiny hilltop village of Bouteville, round a 20-minute drive from Cognac, is residence to France’s solely balsamic vinegar producer, Le Baume de Bouteville. Teaming up with Huitres Cocollos run by French- Irishman, Jacques Cocollos, they provide tastings with each French and Irish oysters, of their distillery.