For adventurous cycling trips through Provence’s vineyard-combed countryside and sun-soaked villages or less demanding afternoons cocooned in this elegant country hotel’s outstanding spa.
Provence has long been a honeymoon hotspot, and for good reason. This is wine country, where long lunches are paired with the finest crisp whites and radically regional dishes lace menus. Lauded by artists and poets for its brilliant light and heart-tuggingly pretty countryside, the region is romance personified, as is Coquillade Provence. Firmly rooted in its community, couples can make the most of its connections with a full roster of activities such as visits to truffle farms and carefully-curated bike tours through historic villages. State-of-the-art spa facilities give Coquillade its edge, as does its position inland, away from the coast’s swathes of tourists and oppressive summer heat.
Set the scene
Coquillade is set in a typical 13th-century wine-making village. The drive to the hotel is particularly cinematic: vines eventually give way to striking cypress trees which emerge from a carpet of lavender at the hotel entrance. Rooms gaze out over the dramatic, hilly landscape of Luberon and the hotel’s own vineyards. Active couples can lean into a game of doubles on the tennis courts, work off the endless rounds of breakfast pastries in the gym or visit the cycling centre to plan an epic trip through the region. Adventures are rewarded with top-drawer spa treatments and cool glasses of the estate’s own rosé.
While room categories range from Junior Suites to Deluxe Suites, they all have that coveted lick of luxury honeymooners hope for. Exteriors have the feel of a Provencal French cottage while inside, a pared down contemporary scene unfolds (all respectful of the region’s earthy tones and natural materials, yet sharpened with contemporary fireplaces, restrained soft furnishings and exquisite antique lights). Crisp bed linens, sumptuous curtains and sofas give it a cosy home-away-from-home character. All rooms enjoy private gardens, patios or roof terraces – a boon for honeymooners.
The Sun Suite is our recommended room for newly-weds, mainly for its photogenic outdoor jacuzzi, garden and hammam.
Food and Drink
By virtue of the region’s culinary reputation and surrounding garden-of-France-bounty, Coquillade’s foodie offering is first-rate. Chefs pluck vegetables from the gardens for stylish plates at Les Vignes, the one to really dress up for. The organic egg and pan-fried oyster mushroom is the starter to angle for, followed by the Pissaladière (a Nice and Ligurian onion tart, not far removed from a pizza) and a divine crunchy and creamy caramel pudding with salted almonds.
Honeymooners can take a break from rich French gastronomy at The Bar, which serves up tasty plates of Thai food. The region’s wine can be explored by the glass on the hotel’s pretty terrace, perfumed by lavender and rosemary and animated by soft afternoon sunlight.
Cipressa is a more laid-back lunch spot, with a Sicilian-inspired contemporary Cabana lining the pool and a tasty Mediterranean buffet.
The wine tasting, located on the hotel’s 36-hectare vineyard is a real treat for those looking for a more traditional experience. The vineyard grows around 15 different types of grapes, which help produce its award-winning wines. Ranging from Red, White and Rosé
The hotel’s history harks back to the 11th Century, when the village-like structure was supposedly built by Cistercian monks from the Senanque Abbey. Fast forward a few centuries and the Swiss Rihs family decided to convert this old wine-making estate into a show-stopping Provencal hotel, with the food, wine and activities all harnessing the surrounding fertile countryside. Their contemporary art, furniture and internal architecture additions lend the hotel a typically French elegance, while keeping it rooted to its past.
Children are welcomed with open arms at the hotel, and are kept busy with a host of activities such as tennis, swimming, cycling, and an incredibly popular annual Easter egg hunt. Honeymooners without sprogs or the desire to be around others’ will be pleased to learn of Coquillade’s clever adult-only areas: the spa and the adult pool outside being serenity-only spots.
The spa is one of the hotel’s winning cards. The vast, airy space hosts a pillared indoor swimming pool, two steam rooms, a sauna, hot and cold plunge pools, and a jacuzzi, not to mention the treatment rooms and relaxation spaces to allow all those oils and pampering to soak in. Our highlight on the extensive list of treatments is the Tata Harper Custom Facial – a relaxing treatment for brightening and plumping up the skin. Another must-try treatment is the Signature Ritual Coquillade. This full body massage uses lavender and grape oils from the estate. The spa is the ultimate relaxing haven after a long day of cycling and hiking the herb-studded hills of Luberon.
La Coquillade has always taken environmental factors seriously, though its efforts were awarded in 2012 when it received the European Ecolable certification. One of the many, clever ways waste is minimised is through careful allocation of food when preparing for guests’ arrival. Eco-friendly cleaning products are used throughout the hotel, including the spa, and 99% of the bulbs used are energy-saving to reduce electricity consumption.
Coquillade Provence is approximately one hour’s drive from Marseille airport – one one of the breeziest, most scenic transfers you will ever experience.
Doubles from: £639 coquillade.fr
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