Hôtel Crillon Le Brave, Provence

When picturing Provence, the mind paints a canvas adorned with verdant olive groves, sprawling lavender fields, swaying cypress trees, and the hallmark blonde limestone structures adorned with charming powder blue shutters. Nestled between the majestic Mont Ventoux and the rugged Dentelles de Montmirail, Hôtel Crillon le Brave emerges as a 5-star Provençal paradise that encapsulates the very essence of the region in all its splendour.

Located just 40 km from historic Avignon, the Maisons Pariente hotel is composed of nine individual houses linked together by the village streets. The labyrinth of 17th and 18th-century buildings, each with its own defining charm, make Crillon le Brave feel more akin to a peaceful, private community as opposed to a typical hotel. With only 34 rooms and suites in total, guests are assured a peaceful and exclusive retreat, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

I was privileged to stay in one of the Deluxe suites – a stunning room that boasted an unrivalled view over the village and neighbouring church. Highlights included an adjoining living room created for pure relaxation, a double-sink bathroom complete with freestanding bathtub, and a king-size bed positioned opposite the most picturesque view, accessed by your own private balcony. The décor is subtle, elegant and inviting, creating a serene atmosphere through beautiful linens, natural tones, cosy plaids and the softest materials. Each of the connecting rooms presents you with a new, but equally romantic view that beckons you to open the window and breathe in the sweet Provençal air.

The simple and refined décor extends to the rest of the hotel, an intentional choice made by French designer Charles Zana, promoting rest, relaxation and tranquillity throughout. From the old terracotta tiles to the lightweight fabrics and contemporary furniture, every feature resonates with the influence of Southern France, creating a harmonious atmosphere that invites guests to kick back and relax.

To access the private pool is to venture through a miniature maze, taking you on a journey through labelled herb gardens, idyllic fountains and even a private petanque pitch. Once reached, a secluded oasis awaits you, complete with stunning views over the neighbouring olive groves and vineyards. 

The hotel’s restaurant, La Table du Ventoux, derives its name from its remarkable view of Mont Ventoux. Executive Chef, Adrien Brunet, delights guests with the rich flavours of Provence through his enticing seasonal menu. Highlights included a delicious parmesan soup paired with fresh Mazan asparagus, Grenoble walnuts and a parmesan crisp that melted in the mouth.

The sea bream ceviche with pearls of yuzu and spring onions was so well-balanced and fresh that the plate disappeared in a matter of minutes.  For dessert, we were treated to an exquisite fruit tart composed of the juiciest local strawberries, sweet cream and a delicate, buttery crust. We were even invited into the kitchen to help the chef in creating our own fougasse, a gorgeous French flatbread typically associated with Provence. On sun-soaked mornings and warm summer evenings, the restaurant’s panoramic terrace invites guests to dine alfresco, savouring local delicacies while taking in the breathtaking scenery of the region.

Whether you’re seeking a pre or post-dinner libation, the hotel bar provides the ideal setting to unwind. Located on the ground floor of Maison Roche, the hotel’s oldest building, the Bar seamlessly merges cosiness with elegance. Its vaulted ceiling and natural whitewashed walls evoke the serenity of a Cycladic cave, creating a laid-back ambiance. Recently refurbished, the space now boasts a majestic log-burning fireplace, making it the ultimate spot to savour a tipple of your choice whilst engaging in a classic board game from their curated selection.

Crillon le Brave’s tranquil setting and laid-back atmosphere invites guests to enjoy a slower pace of life. Housed within the village’s ancient vaulted stables, the Spa des Écuries encourages guests to immerse themselves in a deeper sense of rejuvenation. With a fusion of Tata Harper’s natural products and the skilful touch of therapeutic practitioners, each treatment offers a rejuvenating journey towards holistic wellbeing. I was treated to an hour-long full-body massage that began at the feet and worked its way upwards, expertly dissolving every ounce of tension. Best of all, the spa was conveniently located just a few steps from my room, enabling me to leisurely amble back to base without breaking the relaxation spell.

When it comes to planning day trips and activities at Crillon le Brave, you’re truly spoilt for choice. For those who love to explore, the hotel offers all-terrain electric bikes and scooters, allowing guests to venture out and uncover the stunning surrounding landscapes and delightful villages at their own pace. Coined ‘the little Venice of Provence’, the market of l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is also not to be missed. With around 250 stalls to peruse every Thursday and Sunday, the market is abundant with the freshest local produce. On the first Sunday of August, make sure to attend the yearly floating market, where producers sail on the Sorgue in traditional costumes to sell their goods. For wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike, Château Pesquié stands out as the perfect starting point. Situated at the foot of Mont Ventoux in the southeastern Rhône Valley, this breathtaking family-owned estate is renowned for its biodynamic wines, which beautifully capture the freshness and finesse of its exceptional terroir.

Hôtel Crillon Le Brave is like something out of a Provençal fairytale. The serenity of its surroundings harmonises seamlessly with the hotel, creating a perfect balance. Every detail is meticulously designed and curated to instil a sense of restfulness, peace, and care for every guest. Whether you’re seeking adventure or a haven to simply unwind and recharge, Crillon Le Brave offers an idyllic escape tailored to every guest. 

Nightly rates from €350 Euros, B&B