La Baronnie Hotel & Spa

Saint-Martin de Re, Ile de Re, France Book from Book from £130 per night

This elegant grande dame and her more intimate little sister ooze history, comfort and style in chic Saint Martin, with leafy, rose-speckled gardens
Just a few steps from the centre of bustling Saint Martin, Ile de Ré’s oh-so-pretty capital and main town, lies a huge iron gate; step inside and you enter French history. This is La Baronnie - a stone mansion with an 18th-century baronial pedigree. Next door lies the more intimate and less imposing Domaine du Bien-Etre; together, they form a wonderfully peaceful hideaway. More like private homes than hotels, they have been sympathetically restored by Pierre and Florence Pallardy - he a famed osteopath, she a model turned interior designer - who have kept their histories intact without forgetting about guests' comfort.

La Baronnie is regal and elegant, inside and out. Think summer home away from the palace (albeit on a smaller scale) and you’ll be about right, though the ambiance is not at all royal, more well-to-do. The restful Domaine du Bien-Etre (‘House of Well-Being’) is less grand but no less beautiful, with the same traditional French décor and original features. Both have a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere, bucolic views and huge bedrooms with plenty of natural light. Outside, the fabulous gardens, rampant with wisteria and roses, offer peace and tranquility under shady pine and fruit trees. Venture through the front door and within minutes you can be sitting in a cosy restaurant, browsing through the chic boutiques that line the streets of Saint Martin, or ambling along the town’s picturesque harbour.

Highs

  • Both buildings are historic gems, with fascinating interiors and personal touches everywhere
  • The ambiance is homely, restful and very welcoming, and the quiet gardens are ideal for relaxing away from the island’s summertime crowds
  • This is a great location, with the harbour and all that Saint Martin offers just moments away
  • The owners and housekeepers really know the island inside out and have lots of suggestions for your time here
  • The small spa offers beauty treatments, relaxing massages and osteopathic consultations

Lows

  • The 18th-century décor is a bit sober and heavy-looking, which may not appeal to those on a beach holiday
  • The Pallardys and their staff can sometimes be hard to track down - don't expect 24-hour service
  • Rooms at the front overlook the street and may be a little noisy, particularly during high season

Best time to go

Any time of year, depending on just how quiet you want it and what you want to do. The island gets busier in the peak months of July and August, which are best for sunbathing. For blustery coastal walks and total silence, autumn is perfect. Swimming and watersports are generally possible from mid-June to mid-September. La Baronnie often closes during winter.

Our top tips

This really is a great place for a romantic weekend or a chilled-out family getaway. Come for a week and you’ll have time to explore beautiful Ile de Ré, browse its many markets and boutiques and relax in the gardens.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 22
  • Breakfast only
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 26 Nov 2017 - 30 Nov 2017
  • Indoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Rooms in both buildings are large with high ceilings and big windows, and their names - La Reine, Le Roy, Milady, Buckingham - hint at the level of grandeur you can expect. Those in La Baronnie have antique woodwork, metres of period-style fabric and deep-pile rugs to give you that lord-of-the-manor feel; those in Bien-Etre are generally more rustic, with tongue-and-groove panelling and pastel colours. Most have queensize or twin beds, with triples and family rooms sleeping 4 also available.

Our favourite room in La Baronnie was Madame de Sévigne, a Prestige Room with opulent 18th-century style and wonderfully verdant views. The turret room, Tour des Amis, was our least favourite: the space is tight, there are steep stairs and the décor is very simple, though it's the only room with a view to the sea. The less expensive courtyard rooms are also lovely, but you trade the terrific green view for a cobblestone one. These are Family Rooms, some ideal for a couple with a child, others sleeping 4 in a double bed and bunk beds.

In Bien-Etre we particularly liked Le Loft, a Luxe Room with glorious garden views, a bright interior and ample space for lounging around. Also especially appealing is the romantic Pavilion Princesse, another Luxe Room, which has a four-poster bed and is hidden away in the garden. We stayed in a Prestige Room, Rose de Parme - beautiful in a restrained, almost English country house way, with cream walls and fabulous pink toile soft furnishings. It has 1 double bed and 2 singles (all deliciously comfortable), the latter set back in a sweet curtained recess to give more privacy.

Bathrooms throughout are decently sized and well-equipped, but not extravagant. Most have showers only; all have hairdryers. There's no air conditioning, but the proximity to the sea keeps the temperatures from getting too sultry.

Features include:

  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is served buffet-style in the dining room or, weather-permitting, in the gardens. It's a traditional, simple French spread: croissants and jam, fresh bread, cheese, ham, eggs, fruit, coffee and fresh orange juice. Paper napkins have replaced linen ones - unfortunate but understandable, since on-premise laundering uses so much water.

Tea time in the garden, or anytime for that matter, is very relaxing and comes with biscuits, if you ask. There's no room service, but each room has a minibar with soft drinks and you can order coffee throughout the day; there's also a bar for wine and evening aperitifs.

No other meals are served, but there are plenty of restaurants in lively Saint Martin. Good recommendations include Bistro du Marin for lunch, La Sarassin St Martin for delicious galettes, and Le Serghi for dinner. All are located near the harbour, just a short stroll away.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Rent a bicycle (there’s a 10% discount for guests at Yootoo in Saint Martin) and venture forth to explore - the Pallardys really know their island and will recommend the best beaches, their favourite restaurants (simple or gourmet) and the most interesting sights. Most importantly, they'll tell you how you to avoid the summer crowds
  • Wander past Saint Martin’s pretty 17th-century blue and green shuttered townhouses, with flowers out front, visit the church of St Marie and stop off at Vauban's citadel
  • Lick a cone, sip a glass of wine or try Ré's own micro-brewed beer at one of the many quayside cafés
  • Enjoy a stroll through the daily markets which take place in any of the villages in summer, browse Saint Martin’s chic boutiques for stylish presents, or head to pretty La Flotte for lunch and a spot of antiquing
  • Ile de Ré has some beautiful beaches - perfect for sunbathing or for long windswept walks
  • Visit Bois-Plage (3km away) for surfing and sailing (summer only); stop off on the way for a game of tennis at the club en route
  • Go bird-watching on the reserve near Ars (15km away)
  • Play golf at Les Portes (15km away), or hire a boat from Saint Martin to go fishing
  • Back at the guesthouse, find a shaded spot amid the flowers in the peaceful gardens and enjoy a good book, or head to the small Spa Bien-Etre for a massage or a few laps in the counter-current pool (a watery version of a treadmill)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Nightlife
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Windsurfing

Kids

The décor is not the most child-friendly, but kids of all ages are welcome. Parents had their children on quite a tight rein when we visited, but this might change during family holiday time (mid-July to September).

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

A variety of Family and Superior Family Rooms with combinations of double, single and bunk beds are on offer, baby cots and extra beds are available on request, and babysitting can be arranged.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Families Should Know:

No under 18s are allowed to use the spa facilities.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 7 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Rooms
8/10
Food
9/10
Service
8/10
Value
8/10
Overall

Staff were pleasant and helpful however we felt overall value was very poor. Everything had an extra charge, including use of spa facilities.

6/10, , August 2016

The only bad thing about La Baronnie Hotel & Spa, and the Ile de Ré in general, is having to leave! We enjoyed our mid-August stay so much. Our Standard Room (Laure-Marine) was large and extremely comfortable, with views over the rooftops to sublime sunsets every evening. We didn't opt for breakfast at the hotel, instead sauntering 30 seconds down the street to a boulangerie well-stocked with fresh bread and treats. The hotel staff were warm and welcoming, answering promptly to enquiries via email, sharing recommendations for dinner and details of local activities, and even booking evening meals on our behalf (all exceptional!). The island itself is wonderful: shimmering seas, unspoiled views of sandy beaches, salt marshes, and a landscape peppered with oyster shacks, vineyards, and charming towns and villages. A day didn't go by without catching the eye of a fellow cyclist or ambling tourist and sharing a smug, self-satisfied grin - 'Look what we found!'. We would return in a heartbeat.

10/10, , August 2016

We booked a superior room at Euro 259 a night then had to pay 20 euro a night for parking. Our room was in a tower and was more like a budget single - the bed was too small for two people. We felt it was overpriced for the room. The staff are pleasant and the location is great. It's disappointing also to go to a spa hotel which charges you to use any of the spa facilities. Overall we did not feel it was value for money given our tiny room and bed.

4/10, , July 2016

Rooms were charming. We were in the main hotel. <br>The hotel charges €17 per person per day for breakfast (and even more than that if you also wanted an egg - €5 for a boiled egg!). I think the hotel should include these costs within their rate (and increase their rate if necessary). We met several people there who really resented having to pay that amount for a breakfast (and not even a cooked one at that) that would be provided for free in other hotels (nice but nothing special - cereals, cheese/ham, bread/croissants) - and especially as you have to make your own tea and coffee. I also don't think you should have to pay for parking. <br>There's a bar there which they encourage you to use, and yet it closes at 10. The delightful Anthony (barman) stayed open and served us beyond 10 - but then there were 7 of us giving custom from 9.30 onwards so would have been a little crazy not to. Not sure when else you'd use the bar otherwise. The staff could not have been nicer or more delightful. <br>Our tips for restaurants are as follows (we were there for four nights): Cafe Jardin and Le Phare highly recommended - delicious food. Le Skipper was good too. L'Insolite also good (so we heard). <br>- Re: directions for getting there - simplest thing to do is just follow the signs to the hotel which you pick up shortly after you turn off the main road and head down into St Martin. Finally, best time to go is June or September (despite the weather!!) - avoid July and August as nowadays intolerable.

9/10, , September 2015

Thankfully, the bland corporate hand has not touched this hotel. It is more akin to staying in someone's exquisite house. Everywhere you go you can't help but feel the loving touch of the owners,whether it's the chic soft furnishings,the quirky curved door of the garden toilet or the inviting flower filled corners of their beautiful gardens. <br>Just a few paces from the bustling and oh so pretty harbour. People watching is unavoidable whether having a croissant and coffee at Eugine's (just at the end of the road down from the hotel) or sitting outside Le Serghi having dined exquisitely and very reasonably, feeling how wonderful life can be with the setting sun hovering on the horizon (at 9.30 pm) and the whoops of joy from the crowds on the quay wildly applauding a troop of acrobats. <br>Don't miss the Old Port of La Rochelle. End your holiday (or begin it) with lunch on the quayside at Iseo (4,Place de la Chaine),where South Asia meets France. Stick to the 2 course menue (€16.90) to leave room for an ice cream at Ernest le glacier (also on the quay). Not the most enticing name for an up-market eatery but with over 40 flavours from which to choose you might miss your plane.

10/10, , July 2015

While we love trying new places all the time this is one we would love to go back to. Excellent service. Only downside is that the chef does not know how to cook an egg! Either too soft or too hard or half runny and half hard, and his omelettes are burnt. A shame for a French establishment. The rest of breakfast is beautiful. It is the only meal offered, in a gorgeous garden or beautiful dining room. Staff is brilliant. On the quieter side so rambunctious children need to be kept fairly tamed.

10/10, , July 2015

Lovely, charming and quiet. The room was huge - almost like having an apartment rather than a hotel room. The gardens are beautiful and all the staff really friendly and helpful. We didn't want to leave!

9/10, , June 2015

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Rates for La Baronnie Hotel & Spa