For years I’ve dreamed of visiting the Hotel Crillon le Brave, my curiosity only increasing with each of the hotel’s successive magazine appearances. You need only see a photo of this superb luxury establishment perched on a rocky hill to want nothing more than to see it for yourself! And now I can cross it off my list, as I had the pleasure of staying there during my road trip in Provence last September. As soon as I arrived, the hotel began to work its magic, offering 5-star serenity and authenticity that helped me to disconnect from chaotic city life and reconnect with my inner self.
Located in the heart of the Vaucluse, near Mont Ventoux, the Dentelles de Montmirail, and the picturesque towns of the Luberon, the village of Crillon-le-Brave has remained detached from the tourist hustle and bustle that sets in throughout Provence during the peak season. The landscape is breathtaking—it’s a veritable scenic balcony with an unobstructed view of the natural beauty below, an obvious benefit and source of delight for guests at the hotel!
A Hotel That Melts into the Village
A member of the famous “Relais & Châteaux” catalogue, the Hotel Crillon le Brave is an icon of authentic luxury. It actually blends in with the village around it, a rare feat! The establishment is made up of different village houses (such as the former presbytery, attorney’s office, etc.), acquired throughout the years since the hotel’s foundation in 1989. Today, it includes 8 houses, divided into 24 rooms and 12 suites, several restaurants, a spa, and other services. You can imagine how excited I was to stroll through the narrow village streets! Winding about 17th and 18th-century stone buildings, charming courtyards, and viewing points overlooking the valley, these “hotel hallways” form a beautiful maze where it’s fun to get lost!
The Village Lifestyle
Each of the rooms and suites has a particular layout adapted to the architecture of the village houses, all of which were renovated to create authentic living spaces with a discreet yet luxurious ambiance. But the rooms all share a warm and understated interior design: red floor tiles, soft materials, gorgeous furniture, and large fireplaces. I absolutely loved the subdued Provençal look! But the best part is that you feel like you’re in your own home. My suite, N° 38, was the perfect example: with the village church located less than 50 meters from the front door of my room, my stay felt like a truly authentic experience!
Ranging from 40 to 80 m², the Junior Suites, Suites, and Master Suites (along with the 150 m² “La Sousto” house) also serve as getaways for guests who want to cut themselves off from the chaos of everyday life. Many clients come here looking for peace and quiet, as well as Provençal food, nature hikes, and visits to the lovely villages nearby.
At Crillon le Brave, you can enjoy gourmet or bistro-style cuisine in an astonishing setting. La Grange is the beating heart of the hotel from sunup to sundown. This is where breakfast is served, be it under the glass roof or directly on the patio when the sun is shining. Guests can choose from a generous and delicious buffet, including a fantastic selection of in-house pastries and a variety of teas from Mariage Frères (one of my personal favorites). For lunch and dinner, foodies can head to La Table du Ventoux, a gourmet restaurant that serves southern French cuisine with a focus on local, seasonal products. Chef Julien Marseault enhances Provençal flavors with his signature dishes, such as zucchini flower stuffed with lobster or (for dessert) a marbled pistachio-chocolate soufflé.
The Bistrot 40K uses a fashionable concept: it offers locavore cuisine, featuring local products from less than 40 km away. The menu includes regional classics, such as Mazan chicken or trout from L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. We opted to have our dinner here, sharing a variety of truly Provençal dishes. What a delight!
The Main Feature? The Panoramic Terrace
When it’s time for a drink, the large panoramic terrace is the place to be. It was without a doubt one of my favorite spots at the hotel (even if it’s hard to choose among so many lovely places!). While listening to live jazz music, we took in a glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape on the terrace only a stone’s throw away from the Crillon le Brave. It was such a pleasure to admire Mont Ventoux, dressed in its evening colors, while enjoying the kind of peace and tranquility that only a handful of establishments can offer.
Relaxing at the Hotel
The pool is obviously a great place to relax. Perfectly integrated within the hotel, it allows guests to laze about for a while. And that’s not to mention the petanque (or bocce ball) court, a symbol of southern France, as well as the lovely courtyards here and there where guests can spend a peaceful afternoon.
The hotel’s Spa les Ecuries subscribes to the same authenticity as the rooms and suites. Its name (“the stables”) reveals its history – it’s located inside a series of former vaulted stone stables, of which even the troughs have been kept to maintain the charm of days gone by. A unique look that I found enchanting! In a private, soothing environment, guests can go to one of three treatment rooms (including a double) for spa therapy featuring products from the British cosmetics brand Bamford.
The hotel just closed a few weeks ago for the winter season. It will open its doors again in May 2019, after making a few changes. Every season, Crillon le Brave tries to improve its range of services, and the coming season looks very promising. On the agenda: the opening of a 9th house, remodeling in the restaurant dining rooms, and a number of festivities as the establishment will celebrate its 30th birthday in 2019!
Crillon le Brave is an authentic, poetic luxury hotel, a place that feels unaffected by the passing of time! Staying in this beautiful, historic oasis gave me the impression I was living in a Provençal village. There’s nothing flashy about this establishment; rather, it’s all about a retreat to a serene, human-scale location, where guests can disconnect from their chaotic everyday lives while still enjoying all of the amenities and comforts of a five-star hotel. An absolute must for lovers of authentic luxury!
- The village lifestyle! Crillon le Brave doesn’t offer hotel suites, but rather a series of unique village houses!
- A small structure in the “Relais & Châteaux” spirit
- Fantastic gourmet cuisine
- The pool is a bit isolated (but the hotel plans to make some changes for next season)
- More information available on their website
- Suite from 800 €/night in early September 2018
Thank you to Crillon Le Brave for the invitation to explore their establishment. Of course, the content of this blogpost was left entirely up to me!