Hôtel de Tourrel, Provence

A boutique bolthole housed in a 17th-century palais complete with rooftop pool and gourmet restaurant

When I think of the sun-soaked village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, images of Van Gogh, fields of lavender and sweet calissons – the local nougatine treats – all spring to mind.

Design-led hotels that are as chic as anything one might find in Paris haven’t always been synonymous with these historic streets, and so I was delighted to discover the Hôtel de Tourrel housed in a 17th-century palais on a recent visit to the area.

We took refuge from the midday heat in the restaurant (first picture), where the Mediterranean-inspired menu is overseen by chef Benoit Fauci (formerly of the Michelin-starred Les Chênes Verts in Tourtour) and changes weekly in accordance with market finds. Chef Fauci works exclusively with village suppliers to create three-course meals at lunch (€48, with cheese or dessert) and dinner (€58), only offering two options for each course, each one executed deftly.   

Our meal began with a charcuterie plate for sharing, followed by a soup of onions and green vegetables topped with an egg parfait. Slices of tender cabillaud(cod) with brightly coloured piperade was another standout dish. The garnishes were as beautiful as they were tasty, with delicate tempura-battered blossoms and fennel slaw adding an unexpected edge to more traditional dishes such as duck. The fruitcake with homemade glacé and wild strawberries was outstanding.

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After our meal, owners Margot Stangle and Ralph Husgen – an architect and advertising executive who have lovingly restored the exquisite property – let me peek into a few of the seven suites (from €350-€690, July and August, example second picture). Light and airy, original features – such as Strecco – have been kept, but whitewashed walls, parquet floors and a midcentury aesthetic lend a hip, streamlined vibe. Atop the building sits a rooftop pool that’s temptingly plungeworthy.

Had I known about this boutique bolthole sooner, I most certainly would have booked a stay, but as it is, the Hôtel de Tourrel gives me reason to return.

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For alternative places to stay in Provence, try Domaine de Baume, or for something a bit more sporty in the region, this outstanding golf clinic would be worth a visit.

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