“A converted farm redefining luxury with 7 apartments (for 4-12), outstanding childcare and endless activities (self-catering or all-inclusive)”
The old farm buildings, where once Roquefort was produced, have been beautifully restored to hold 5 apartments (in the Old Dairy), a self-contained cottage and a large farmhouse villa. Wonderfully welcoming and well equipped, the French rustic-chic décor includes whitewashed walls with stonework peeping through, sofas to slouch on, super-comfy carved beds atop chunky tiled floors, and pretty gingham curtains (thick-lined to keep light out). All have full kitchens, private terraces and thoughtful family features, such as toys and TVs.
Ideal for big family groups, the grand Farmhouse has 5 bedrooms (including a jaw-dropping master suite), and a palatial double-height living space.
Self-contained, but close by, the quaint, cosy 2-bedroom Chestnut House is more open-plan than the others - perhaps not ideal for light-sleeping little ones.
Back at the Old Dairy, ground-floor Apartment 1 is big enough for a family of 4 (or more) and grandparents, too. The terrace is shady and secluded, tucked away at the back of the building.
We stayed in the Old Dairy’s smallest apartment: top-floorApartment 5, where the views were to die for. The 2 bedrooms can interconnect, there’s a huge bathtub to splash around in, and the terrace (fenced and gated) felt very private.
The remaining apartments have 3 bedrooms a piece (sleeping up to 6). We loved ground-floor Apartment 2’s generous wisteria-shaded terrace, at its most luscious in spring. Up on the first floor, Apartment 3 has a fun kid-friendly mezzanine bedroom (properly walled, with a window) and a terrace shaded by kiwi trees - great for all older kids or babes in arms. Conversely, Apartment 4 (also on the first floor) is ideal for families with crawlers, as it only has 2 internal steps. Outside, the gated, fenced terrace has gorgeous rural views.
Every apartment has a hand-built kitchen with an indoor and outdoor dining area. You get a large fridge-freezer, full cooking equipment, a dishwasher and kid-friendly extras. An enormous welcome basket also awaits your arrival, practically stocked with everything from hot drinks and milk to bread, pasta and sauce, and fruit and veg.
Guests self-cater in Mid and Low season, but in summer rates are all-inclusive. During this time there are buffet breakfasts, chef-prepared evening meals delivered to your apartment, an à la carte menu, meals-to-go, kids' meals (including a pasta bar) and 2 lovely communal lunches per week. During our visit we enjoyed a fun Friday barbecue with steak, salads galore and an incredible lemon meringue pie. Perfectly set under the wisteria at a long table – cold wine, great company and happy kids running amok.
Once you’ve devoured the contents of the welcome basket (included all year), the on-site shop can provide picnic ingredients, chef-prepared meals, or a bottle of bubbly from the wine cave. (Shop produce is included in the summer rate.)
We loved the indoor-outdoor bar, where cushioned wicker sofas ask to be lounged on throughout the day. It’s close enough to all the apartments to use a baby listener, and parents often stay here until the early hours, relaxed in the knowledge that their kids are safe. This is the venue for the kids' complimentary daily afternoon tea and the summer season buffet breakfasts (warm pastries and freshly squeezed juices). Some guests stick around to eat here, others take it back to their apartment, and the really savvy ones have their children collect it for them. Best of all, on Fridays there's a kids' PJ party breakfast, so us parents get to go back to bed!
The village has a fantastic restaurant, La Palombe (a 15-minute walk), but for authentic French cooking, good wines and the sun setting over the valley, head for the friendly Auberge Campagnard.
i-escape's Best for Kids Awards 2014
Winner: Best For Babies & Toddlers
This is paradise for parents and children alike; family luxury is redefined here. It’s not about 300 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and someone to clean your sunglasses while you dive into an infinity pool. It’s more about gently cajoling harried parents into remembering how to relax.
Lying by the adults’ pool, I heard my young son charging past on a treasure hunt and just smiled before going back to my book, content that both of us were in our respective happy places!
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Every apartment is designed with families in mind. Apartment 5 and the Chestnut House each have space for up to 5 people in 2 bedrooms; the other apartments have 3 bedrooms (sleeping 4-8). The Farmhouse is the largest and grandest option, sleeping 10-12 in 5 bedrooms. All apartments have space for at least 1 baby cot - see rates.
Babysitters are provided 2 nights a week (so adults can have 'date nights').
Baby listeners are available to borrow, and they stretch to the on-site bar; baby-listening apps also work well with the resort's WiFi. On babysitting nights, Laure stays in touch with the sitters by mobile phone or walkie-talkie, and are moments away if they need assistance. The sitters tend to be staff so will usually be known to guests.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
On-site drop-in crèche and play group (ages 3 months-6 years) open Monday-Friday (9am-5pm) and Sunday (11am-4pm), with a daily 1-hour lunch break. Facilities include toys and games, arts and crafts, a sleep area, and children’s toilets / changing area, plus an outdoor area with a ball pond, soft-play climbing and ride-ons. Organised activities include baking, scavenger hunts, music sessions, story-telling, yoga and mini golf.
There is also a Big Kids’ Programme (ages 6-12) available during Mid and summer seasons only. Activities are adapted to suit the children's interests and include basketball, rounders, mini golf, quizzes, treasure hunts and dress-up. Supervised activities are also held twice a week in the early evening.
The family pool area is shaded by chestnut trees and has a playpen for babies; a poolside bar provides drinks and ice creams. Both pool areas are safely fenced. The on-site shop also sells essentials like nappies and wet wipes. The entire property is gated and fenced, so you'll feel as comfortable as possible letting the children roam free.