This month’s honeymoon hotel of the month is somewhere I was fortunate enough to stay when I was in the Dordogne region earlier in the year, researching the new edition of the Rough Guide to France. Trémolat is a sweet little village near the Dordogne River, which is remarkable largely for being home to Le Vieux Logis, a Relais & Chateaux hotel that is as much a gourmet destination as a wonderful place to stay.
The hotel was once part of a farm estate – the main, ivy-clad building was the manor house, and a number of the old outbuildings have been converted into further rooms and suites – but prior to this, in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries, it had been a priory, so is rather steeped in history. Sitting in gorgeous grounds, which were particularly beautiful when I visited in spring, Le Vieux Logis offers sumptuous, traditional accommodation, but without being fussy or staid – instead, it’s so cosy and comfortable that it feels more like you’re staying in the house of a very well-off friend. And with just 23 rooms and ample grounds (which include a small stream and a lovely swimming pool), it never feels crowded or anything less than private – perfect for a honeymoon.
The main reason to choose to stay at Le Vieux Logis is for the food. There are two restaurants here, both excellent in their own right – I was fortunate enough to eat at both. The main restaurant is a gourmet one, serving Michelin-starred cuisine that highlights the fabulous local produce of the region. In warm weather, tables are set up outside, lit by candlelight; in cooler weather, you eat in the hugely atmospheric old tabacco-drying barn, with lots of cosy alcoves that are perfect for couples. Though the food is delicate, carefully-prepared and beautifully presented, it doesn’t feel fussy or over-the-top (perfect if you’re like me and unused to eating somewhere quite as posh as this!), but is absolutely delicious, and the charming waiters will help you pair your choices successfully with the local wines on offer. There are a number of different set menus, as well as a la carte dishes, including the really reasonably-priced menu du marché, which is what I had – at just €45 (which includes various little tidbits between courses), it offers amazing value, especially for Michelin-starred food, and is absolutely delicious.
The other restaurant is the much more relaxed Bistrot d’en Face, which is situated in the centre of the village, just outside of the hotel grounds. This is very much a traditional bistrot, but the food served is even more sublime than you would normally expect. Again, the menu makes use of seasonal, local produce – so when I was there, it included local white asparagus, and fresh salmon – with set menus from €20. I actually enjoyed my meal here so much that I returned at the end of my trip when I was staying elsewhere.
Le Vieux Logis is a perfect honeymoon hotel throughout the year – in summer, you can make use of the beautiful grounds, while in winter you can curl up in the lounge by the open fire – and is set in a great location from which to explore the many beautiful villages of the Dordogne Valley.
Rooms from £120 a night.
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