The south of France conjures up images of sleepy villages, sandstone buildings, shuttered windows and sprawling vineyards - and Crillon Le Brave is all of those things, with an added touch of je ne sais quoi.
Perched on a hill at the foot of Mont Ventoux, the hotel is positioned within an old Roman settlement, where winding alleyways are surrounded by vine-covered walls and flower-filled courtyards that lead onto individual stone buildings. Like a village itself, the hotel started 27 years ago as just one house, but now offers 36 rooms, each with its own story. From farmhouses to the village school, every dwelling played a part in the cultural development of this chocolate-box village - and in recognition each building has been separately named, making it feel like you're staying in a private house rather than a hotel.
Touches like the retained individuality of each building are what sets Le Brave apart. Steering well clear over-commercialisation, the hotel strikes a balance between Provençal charm and modern luxury, making guests feel at home in its secluded fold.
A sophisticated, organic air is created by whitewashed walls and burnt-orange tiled floors, offset soft-toned furnishings. All rooms have gorgeous views thanks to the hilltop location, while master suites come with private terraces. If you're on romantic getaway, and you're feeling particularly starry-eyed then opt to stay in the honeymoon suite where you can soak in twin free-standing baths while relishing views of Mont Ventoux.
What's for breakfast?
Hit the buffet on the panoramic terrace to gorge on miniature French pastries washed down with freshly squeezed orange juice.
How about lunch and dinner?
The staff at Restaurant Jerome Blanchet certainly know what they are doing when it comes to wine pairing, so plump for the tasting menu taken out on the terrace. In winter, the restaurant relocates to the stables where a huge roaring fire makes for a romantic atmosphere.
At Bistro 40K, the experience lives up to its name by sourcing all of its food and wine from within a 40km radius of the hotel; a simple menu showcases the best produce which arrive in generous portions.
Is there a bar?
Bar La Grange is the hub of the hotel. During high season, there are regular live jazz performances - if that isn't your thing, slip out to the terrace to enjoy your rosé in peace looking out at the sun setting over Mont Ventoux.
Despite its remote location, the hotel has plenty to keep you occupied year round. During the summer, borrow bikes and go for a leisurely pedal along the paths that play host to the Tour de France. Cool off in the swimming pool and you'll soon realise that there aren't many parts of this hotel where the views aren't spectacular.
If the outdoor pool isn't relaxing enough, take a trip to the spa. This peaceful haven is made all the more enchanting by its stripped-back, rustic setting and the intoxicating scent of the region's freshly picked lavender. Come winter, choose from truffle-hunting trips, carol concerts and skiing on Mont Ventoux. The hotel will have put their open fire places to work ready for you to cosy up next to upon your return.
Things you should know
Hire a car.
Within a short walk you'll find…
The meandering streets of this tiny village are just a taster of what the rest of the region has to offer. Hire a car to and plan your excursions to coincide with the daily markets held in surrounding towns.
Nightly rates at Crillon le Brave are available from €320/£278 per room per night for two people sharing including breakfast. To book, email [email protected], or telephone +33 (04) 90 65 61 61; www.crillonlebrave.com