The Vibe: A fairy-tale 13th-century château with turrets, towers, meadows and mills.
Thea Area: Domaine des Etangs is located in the rolling, rural Cognac countryside in south-west France, nearby the town of Massignac. Set on a vast estate with seven 19th-century tenancy farms, there are beautiful formal gardens, an organic vegetable patch, seven lakes (hence its name), forest, rolling hills and prairies populated by 800 caramel-hued Charente cows.
The DNA: The property itself is a looker with the 13th-century château in a storybook landscape of waterways and woodland (look out for wildlife – from herons and otters to deer). Resident wildlife includes horses to ride and er, fish. Once the holiday home of one of France’s richest men, the present owners’ second generation took on a two year full renovation. France has many château hotels, but Domaine des Etang stands out with its classic contemporary interiors using plenty of wood and local stone, giving it a rustic, almost Alpine feel. The restaurant ‘Dyades’ has a Michelin star. Being near Cognac, the ‘cognathèque’ offers a large range of glasses to sample. Des Etangs can also arrange in-room dining and picnics. There is a Heywood Hill of London-curated library, a gigantic attic play room, an extensive art collection, inside and outside pools, a spa, and a (floating) tennis court. Paddle a rowing boat on the water, cycle through the estate or simply sit back and savour the tranquil surrounds.
Suite-Me-Up: The spacious, luxurious accommodations are distributed between the château itself, the ‘longère’ – a typical regional farm building – and the ‘cottages’ (really an understatement) further afield on the estate – electric cars provided. All range in style, some more rustic, others contemporary classic, and have features like giant bathrooms, high ceilings, duplex bedrooms, top-drawer views, fireplaces or tower-showcasing glass roofs. The 6 cottages especially provide ample space with 1 to 5 bedrooms. In room facilities include airconditioning, stone or wood floors, TV, minibar, free bottled water, and tea and coffee making facilities.
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 3 rooms, 7 suites and 6 cottages (38-393m2) (409-4,230 sq ft) • hotel opened: 2016 • bathroom amenities: Sothys ✅ free on-site parking ✅ pets welcome free-of-charge • 24-hour front desk • open year-round • wheelchair accessible