With its blend of villa-style privacy and slick hotel service, Terre Blanche feels is more plugged-in Provençal country club than hotel. While predominantly choreographed around golf (two 18-hole Championship courses are preened and polished to perfection), couples will be drawn to the enormous cloistered spa and vast pool area where hours are lost under sandy-hued cabanas with Pays de Fayence rosé on ice.
As far as the country club reference goes, newly-weds can choose the pace of their honeymoon at Terre Blanche. A lazy afternoon could begin with a Provencal-style lunch followed by a poolside siesta, then a deep tissue massage and sauna in the cavernous spa. The morning was, perhaps, more energetic – a joint pilates class in the fitness centre, a bircher muesli and brioche breakfast, fuelling up for a joint golf lesson.
Set the scene
Set in the green, leafy hills of Provence with views of ancient, honey-hued towns, Terre Blanche is a collection of terracotta-tiled villas and suites, all connected by manicured paths and all offering what many South of France hotels simply cannot: space. Guests zip through acres of preened gardens and contemporary sculptures (the owner is an art aficionado) on golf buggies. These arrive at the main hotel’s imposing entrance for a relaxed lunch, or at the main pool area, where towels are swiftly placed on sun-beds and the hills of Fayence surge in the distance. The tone here is country-club-smart-casual, when not sharpening up for the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Le Faventia. The day’s intentions are typically revealed at breakfast, where golfing attire, kaftans flung over swimsuits and hiking gear all convene for a feast of crêpes, local cheeses and fresh pastries.
Terre Blanche’s rooms have the privacy, size and off-grid appeal of a villa – all with separate sitting rooms, bedrooms and terraces (even the lowest category), giving couples the space they envisaged. The style is unfussy and refreshingly simple, with regional shades of terracotta (the floor, the sofa throws, the chairs) dressed in thick cream curtains and linen lamp shades. Balconies wrapped in nature and large enough to throw a small cocktail party on are stellar sunbathing or rosé spots with the evening chorus of birds and crickets. Showers are the heavy sort that seem to reach every crevice of your body as if you were having a bath (though don’t skip the deep tub with salts) and double sinks add a lick of luxury to the honeymoon. Smart coffee machines are a welcome touch for any caffeine fiends unable to make the golf buggy ride to breakfast before their first fix.
At the top end, rooms are genuine villas with their own gardens, pools and pretty Provençal views, as well as the 5* service that’s often a headache to organise separately. Our Travel Editor’s favourite for honeymooners is Villa Provence, whose enormous terrace and hot tub feel suspended in the tree canopy.
Food and drink
A key element that sets Terre Blanche apart from a country club is its culinary standards. Worlds away from the limited menus of traditional clubs, where alternative milk requests are met with bewilderment, the layout and food here is cleverly tuned to modern palates and lifestyles. Five restaurants peppered throughout the hotel’s 750 acres all twist to the flush of green and Provencal sunshine like flowers. Le Gaudina is the heart of the hotel, a brasserie-style, light-filled space just off reception which spills onto the terrace for sunny breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas. And breakfasts are worth rolling out of bed for – expect warm crêpes, plates of local hams and cheeses, thick yoghurt drizzled in honey, freshly baked croissants, pain au chocolat and almond cakes.
Marginally more refined (though typically dressed in golf whites), Les Caroubiers clubhouse leans over the lush fairway and serves up traditional French plates such as Confit du Canard and Croque Monsieurs, as well as Mediterranean salads and brasserie-style burgers. Couples can dip into seriously laidback Le Tousco for a shaded lunch by the pool. The one to get dressed up for is Le Faventia, where a variety of seasonal tasting menus, playfully riffing on Provençal cuisine, thrill foodie newly-weds. Plates of roasted seabass with Provencal ravioli, roasted blue lobster and fig with Greek yoghurt sorbet pair beautifully with views over the pretty pool and distant hills.
Following its previous life as a family home, the estate was acquired by Sean Connery and a few contemporaries in 1979 and later sold to a German businessman, art lover and keen golfer Dietmar Hopp. Having initially commissioned Four Seasons to run the hotel, he decided to take full control and ensure Terre Blanche was free to carve its own path. This move has ensured impeccable levels of service and the hotel’s singular style – notably art and sculptures scattered throughout the grounds and a pioneering approach to environmentalism.
Absolutely. Although Terre Blanche has cleverly carved out areas that are child-free, allowing honeymooners without children the peace and quiet they came for. For those honeymooning with children (a growing tribe), a complimentary kid’s club for children 3-12 years old, children’s pools and menus ensures a smooth holiday with little ones in tow. Babysitting is available upon request (and at an extra cost) and highchairs, bottle cleaning and tracking down a bike with a baby seat is never too much trouble for the Terre Blanche team.
This is where Terre Blanche really shows off. The spa takes down time seriously – an enormous terracotta building with a monochrome pillared pool, a sauna-steam area and 12 treatment rooms, which could be a hotel in its own right. Using KOS Paris and Valmont, 100% natural treatments run the gamut, from targeting eye bags and wrinkles through skilful facials to slow, candle-lit massages à deux. Couples can easily spend a full day in the spa, floating from treatments to the indoor or outdoor pool, inhaling the fresh herby air in the gardens or the hot, cleansing mists in the steam room.
A breezy 45 minutes from Nice Airport and only half an hour from Cannes, Terre Blanche is a cool, country refuge for the Cote D’Azur set as well as European and American guests wanting to dive into the region’s delicious produce and green open spaces, as well as spa and groomed fairways. The hotel can fix honeymooners with a vintage car for visiting Provence’s famous lavender fields, or a local perfumer where couples pick wildflower then learn from the master nose how to craft their own bespoke scent.
Doubles from: £405
Book at: terre-blanche.com
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