When we think of Champagne we envisage golden effervescence, we smell those floral notes and feel the cold crystal flutes. And with Champagne houses considered an important decision, if not taking centre stage for most weddings, the region of Champagne surely demands a little attention, or even a vineyard hopping honeymoon? Smooth hills combed by pruned vines, historical chateaux passed down through generations, vintage cars winding through saking lanes – could there be a more romantic setting? When it comes to choosing fizz for your wedding, only the best will do, and nowhere quite dazzles like The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa.
If you find it hard to say ‘Champagne’ without feeling its fairy dust sparkling through your veins, this is the place for you.
Set the scene:
Royal Champagne is a legendary hotel in the world-famous wine region of Champagne, Epernay. While its interiors epitomise French elegance, with references to the grapevines on the walls while bubbles are found in the metal work, there is a laid back atmosphere – laissez-faire if you will, just with free-flowing Champagne from the region’s top houses. And despite being a relatively new hotel, Royal Champagne is unapologetically classic with natural materials of oak and stone used throughout the building. The hill its perched on is essentially a heart-stirring viewpoint – gazing out across an verdant landscape dotted with the charming little villages of Champillon and Hautvilliers and the city beyond it.
Honeymooners can lean into the history of some of their favourite houses, learning what makes Champagne, well, Champagne, and following head sommelier, Philippe Marques (master of Champagne’s skeleton key), on a seriously privileged tour through the cellars of some of the top, family-owned private houses.
Peering out over an endless view of vines, rooms and suites are both spacious and calm, with light wood hues and golden walls resembling Champagne bubbles. The bathrooms have limestone basins, free-standing tubs, rain showers and toiletries from Hermès. Bathrooms double up as little spas, with rain showers, photogenic free-standing baths and heavenly Hermès products. Details abound, such as the Morpheus meditation box to lull you to sleep by the sounds of nature.
Food and drink:
Led by award-winning chef Jean-Denis Rieubland, Le Bellevue Restaurant & Terrace is set beneath a thousand crystal pendants that send the sun’s rays dancing across the room. It’s a fittingly dramatic scene for the beautifully presented plates of food that arrive in theatrical fashion. Flavour hunters should opt for the Étape Gastronomique – set under a golden patinated ceiling, the dishes are paired perfectly by the sommelier, who takes you on a journey through the Champagne houses by pairing each course with one of his cuvées. But nothing can be more romantic than the chef’s table – from the heart of the stainless steel kitchen, watch Jean-Denis’s brigade in action while devouring the fruits of their labour. As expected, there is also an impressive after-dinner selection by the glass in the bar.
Royal Champagne is no doubt the darling of Epernay. Designed by Reims-based architect Giovanni Pace, this is a 21st-century take on an amphitheatre that embraces the lush bounty of the wineries and the surrounding UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a top-to-toe restoration and revamp pre-lockdown in 2018, the result is an elegant -everything is high-end, but in a chic, not-too-showy Parisian way.
While children are welcome and can even enjoy the pool without timed restrictions, this hotel is one for the grown ups. Saying this, a babysitting service is available for little ones (upon request) and the staff are delightful and charming with children.
The bubble theme continues in the spa, where they can be found in the metal work, the lights suspended from the ceiling by Giampato & Coombes and scattered across the walls of the treatment rooms. Beneath it all is a vast (and delightfully warm) pool, and outside, a picture-perfect infinity pool, perched high up over heart-tugging views of Moët & Chandon’s vineyards.
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