“A sumptuous spa hotel on Brittany’s craggy Finistere coast that combines New England designer style with utter relaxation”
Of the 36 rooms, 27 have sea views and the remaining 9 have views over the village church. Van Lier’s genius has been to provide a sensation of space, both inside and out. "The key," he says, "is to provide lots of place perdue (unused space). This is what gives a house charm." If you’re after outdoor space, opt for a Sea View Room some have huge terraces, while others have balconies; the trade-off is the view: the higher you go, the better the view. Our favourite rooms were the corner ones, which have views of both to the sea and the garden, and a luxurious feeling of space. Rooms to avoid are Church View #112, 212 and 312 which are smaller (about 20 sq.m. excluding bathroom).
Décor throughout is simple but stylish, with a successful combination of crisp linen pillows and sheets, check bedcovers and cushions, and matching walls and sofas. Colour-wise, soothing moss greens dominate, but some rooms are decorated in gentle blues, greys or reds. Bathrooms are unpretentiously simple (you go to the spa if you want pampering), but indulged with gorgeous products.
The hotel’s buffet breakfast is a highlight, and was the best we tasted in northern France. Beautifully presented, it had everything imaginable, from pastries made by the hotel’s patissier to freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit salad, stewed prunes, cheeses and hams.
Dinners, too, are delicate and delicious; there’s even a 'Menu Minceur' if you want to avoid putting on extra pounds. Cooking is strictly French, with an emphasis on locally caught fish and seafood including lobster, scallops and sea bass; heavy cream sauces are avoided in favour of delicately steamed vegetables. Smoked salmon and foie gras are specialities, and both are made on the premises.
If you fancy a break from the hotel but don’t want to get in the car, the co-owned Brasserie de la Plage is 2 minutes’ walk into the village, and gets rave reviews. The décor makes ample use of beautiful wood flooring and those familiar muted green colours. Food is fresh, again with an emphasis on local seafood, and you can book your table at hotel reception.
If you want high gastronomy and Michelin stardom, head to Chez Jeffroy at the Hotel de Carantec in the eponymously named town; or to the Manoir de Lan Kerellec at Trebeurden.
Families are welcome and will appreciate the indoor heated pool and the nearby beaches and rock pools, sailing and windsurfing. Bear in mind that there are no particular children's facilities at the hotel, and that families are encouraged to maintain a peaceful ambiance.
All rooms can fit an extra bed for a child and a baby cot. For families with two children a few rooms can be closed off with a connecting door to create a suite of rooms (sea view and church view combinations include 109 & 110, 209 & 210, 309 & 310, while 101 & 102, 201 & 202, 301 & 302 are sea view combinations so a bit more expensive).
Local babysitters available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Separate dining room annexe for families in the hotel, dishes can be adapted and simple pasta meals can be cooked to order. There are children's menus at the Brasserie de la Plage, which is 2 minutes away in the village
The beach is at the end of the garden but there's a fence and gate which prevents small ones escaping without supervision; the property is gated