More than 20 years after opening their celebrated Bordeaux spa hotel, Les Sources de Caudalie – set within the vineyards of Château Smith Haut Lafitte – owners Alice and Jérôme Tourbier decided it was time for a sequel. But for some, the location might have come as a surprise…
The French hoteliers didn’t head to the lauded domaines of Burgundy, or the hallowed vineyards of Champagne. Instead they went to the forests and wetlands of the Sologne, a comparatively unsung corner of the Loire Valley. But as soon as you visit, you’ll understand the magic the couple saw in the place that would become Les Sources de Cheverny.
The 49-room, village-like property is set across the 18th-century former Château de Breuil and a neighbouring farm estate. It’s immersed in a landscape of grasses, woodlands, wetlands and vineyards. The estate’s 45ha are the vision of rural tranquillity – but with the added benefit of sophisticated indulgences, including Michelin starred food, fine wine and a spa.
While many hotels successfully combine old with new, Les Sources de Cheverny really does it with aplomb. Polished parquet floors meet contemporary pastel palettes and elegant dried flower installations. Retro farm buildings mesh with Scandi-style mid-century-modern furniture and leafy motifs.
Even if you don’t post on social media, you will find it hard to resist snapping pics of its eye-catching dimensions, including the lobby’s minimalist leather chairs and abstract tapestry, as well as the small chapel.
Choose between 13 rooms in the historic château – if you don’t mind some quirky layouts and atmospherically creaky floors. Or opt for one of the new wood cottages, scattered around a bird-watching lake, by grasses and orchards. The pinnacle? Le Baron Perché, a stilted suite on the lake itself, complete with a private alfresco hot tub and panoramic views.
Wine and spa: it’s a match made in heaven. Or at least that’s the thinking at the Les Sources hotels. Like its sister property in Bordeaux, Les Sources de Cheverny works with French grape-based brand Caudalie, so treatments feature antioxidant grape extract oils or exfoliating Cabernet grape seeds.
When you aren’t on the massage table, you can be appreciating the spa facilities, largely based out of the château. They include a 23m window-lined indoor pool space and an outdoor barrel hot tub and pool, a short walk away.
Or simply immerse yourself in the rich wilderness of the Sologne. There are farm animals on site: miniature goats, chickens and horses, plus hives with honeybees. Walking trails weave through forest and by vineyard. Or hop on one of the hotel bikes to cycle the 20 minutes into Cheverny village, home to another historic château, designed for touring.
Food and wine
Despite its intimate nature, Les Sources de Cheverny boasts two dining options: Michelin star restaurant Le Favori, headed by chef Frédéric Calmels, and the more casual Auberge. At the latter you’ll enjoy set menus starring local goat’s cheese or roasted pork loin with cabbage – washed down with a strong local wine selection including local Loire favourites Vouvray, Chinon and Menetou-Salon.
But arguably the most exciting local wine is developing in the nearby vineyards. White cuvée La Grand’Vigne is made in conjunction with Philippe Tessier, and new rows of local variety Romorantin (a sibling of Chardonnay) have been planted for increased future production.
A short drive or cycle will bring you to some other interesting wineries. As well as Tessier’s vines, Cour-Cheverny itself is home to biodynamic Domaine des Huards. Further afield in Vouvray, popular Domaine Huet does a range of fabulous Chenin Blanc wines. Meanwhile, family-owned Domaine de la Chevalerie in Bourgueil produces lively biodynamic Cabernet Franc. You’re spoiled for choice; so come thirsty.
For more information visit www.sources-cheverny.com