The loveliest hotel I’ve stayed in

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Thursday 9th February 2012

The icy weather and sub-zero temperatures are making me dream of the House With No Name. Of long, lazy lunches under the plane tree and games of boules on the dusty courtyard. I’m kidding myself of course because it’s minus six degrees in our part of France and I’m just hoping that the cheeky dormouse living in the attic hasn’t moved all his mates in.

I got to thinking about France because a brochure for one of the loveliest hotels I’ve ever visited has just arrived in the post. Twenty-five miles from Avignon, Hotel Crillon le Brave (above) is perched on a Provençal hilltop – with amazing views across tiled roofs to vineyards, olive groves and majestic Mont Ventoux in the distance.

We stayed there en route to the House With No Name one year and it was my idea of heaven. The evening began with a glass of chilled rosé on the terrace. A jazz duo played softly in the background and as darkness fell, we had dinner by candlelight, spellbound by the dark clouds gathering over 6,000-ft Mont Ventoux. The immaculately-attired Maitre D didn’t bat an eyelid. “There will be a storm in the middle of the night – not before,” he assured us. “I know Mont Ventoux well and I am confident.” His prediction was right, of course. After torrential rain overnight, we woke next morning to brilliant sunshine and blue sky.

When it opened 20 years ago Crillon le Brave consisted of one house and 11 rooms. Now it has 32 rooms and seven buildings, a mini spa and the most charming hotel staff, all bilingual. But it’s the stunning decor that’s the icing on the cake. Pale grey shutters and woodwork, blissfully comfortable beds, stylish bathrooms and cool terracotta floors. Now if only I could make the House With No Name look like that…


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