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“A Little Worn but Lovely” 4 of 5 stars
Review of La Bonne Etape

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La Bonne Etape
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Chemin du Lac, 04160 Chateau-Arnoux, France   |  
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Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Chateau-Arnoux
San Diego, CA
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“A Little Worn but Lovely”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2011

The staff is very helpful and very nice! They speak many languages and are eager to print maps and itineraries for you at the front desk. The rooms, however are dated and the "antiques" bit worn. More like Grandma's house than French Antique. The Frette robes were a nice touch. Not much to do in the village. We dined at a special chocolate tasting dinner in the gourmet restaurant at the hotel; pricey but very fresh, French and delicious - with wonderful service. If you get a package with breakfast, it is divine. A lovely tray delivered to your room with pastries, tea, coffee, juice, yogurt and fresh fruit from the garden. Not quite up to Relais standard in my opinion, but we had a nice stay and I got a deal on my package.

Room Tip: Ask for a view and a marble bathroom!
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bonneetape04, Propriétaire at La Bonne Etape, responded to this review, August 3, 2011
Dear Sir,
Thank you for taking time two months after your visit to post a comment on our house. I am happy to know you thoroughly appreciated the dedication to welcoming and helping of my whole team, the quality of cuisine and service.
Your opinion really matters, it may be right in many points, and I am sad to read it was not to the kind of decor you expected.

May I suggest a very light correction to your comment : when you say : "the rooms" I would rather go for "the room we occupied" and replace "are" by "is". It is really frustrating not to know the room you occupied, so that I could be able to answer more accurately, and act accordingly (the hotel was fully booked that night and I only have your pseudo, very hard to trace) We are renovating and remodeling every year and every room is different ; this renovation will be completed by next spring.
Thank you also for the compliment : " More like Grandma's house than French Antique. " That is exactly the ambiance we are looking to share with our patrons. Not like in an Antique shop, but like in a private house.
I will stick to this ambiance which is the signature of La Bonne Etape, while keeping improving the comfort of our times. My will and my wish is over all not to resemble the kind of rooms of hotel chains, which I respect very much, but which are all the same, and I sincerely hope Relais & Châteaux owners will not follow this trend to copy each other, and lose their soul.
I hope I will have the pleasure of showing you the improvements we continue to make and visit the hotel with you, during a next stay with us, so that you can make your wise comments on the spot and that we can discuss them directly. It would be a great pleasure and a great help for me.
I remain at your disposal and thank you again.
Very sincerely
Jany Gleize Propriétaire Chef de cuisine, Maître de maison
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147 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Russian first
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English first
San Francisco Bay Area
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2011

We chose to stay at La Bonne Etape imagining the luxury of a Relais and Chateaux property, along with a Michelin starred restaurant. We were somewhat suspicious of the "reasonable" rate we got for our package. (You get what you pay for....) Sadly this place is resting on past reputation and the glory days of the 60's or 70's. The outside has a lovely garden and well maintained pool area. There is a grand entrance and the dining room is meticulously furnished with classical art and antiques. Unfortunately, the rooms were in desperate need of a re-do. Beds were sagging. Antique furniture is decrepit; some pieces were pretty but not functional and the rooms we were in were both very tightly crowded and not spacious. It is typical of a very old property that architecturally can't keep up with modern trends.

Like many of the Relais and Chateauxs this one is family owned. They were helpful and pleasant, and we do not fault the kind service we had. Unfortunately they need a massive infusion of money to bring the hotel up to date, and the area is not particularly "hot" on the tourist map. This is the kind of country place that was built for travelers along the route of Napoleon, and rests on it's laurels to this day.

Our package included dinner in the modest country style restaurant around the corner on the busy highway. It was acceptable quality but there was only one young waitress who seemed overwhelmed working the dining room by herself, especially with limited English and a mixture of international guests.

Breakfast in the very formal dining room that is the Michelin starred restaurant was very basic with minimal selection that progressed to less and less over the three days we were there. We noticed that the "regular" items were not offered at all toward the end of our stay. Furthermore we were disturbed by the invasion of a surly waitress who was setting up for lunch service, going from table to table ironing the creases from the tablecloths while we tried to quickly eat our meal. The maitre'd seemed much more interested in readying the room for "paying" lunch guests than the cheap breakfast guests.

We chose NOT to eat the very formal and expensive prix fixe menu for lunch and dinner. We heard that the Michelin star had been rewarded to a previous pastry chef and the kitchen was resting on those outdated reviews. Based on what was offered for breakfast we were happy we had a car to go to a wonderful place down the road for a spectacular and more reasonably priced dinner. Later on during our holiday we had the pleasure to eat and dine in several other Relais and Chateaux, as well as Michelin starred restaurants that were worthy of their ratings. This place needs to be re-reviewed by both because the standards here fall short.

If you are going to be traveling through this area, it might be worth a stop for Sunday lunch but otherwise we would not make this trip again.

Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bonneetape04, Propriétaire at La Bonne Etape, responded to this review, July 4, 2011
Dear Madam dear Sir,

Thank you for taking time to give your advice about our house « La Bonne Etape » and thank you for all the things you appreciated : “… a lovely garden and well maintained pool area. … and the dining room is meticulously furnished with classical art and antiques. …They were helpful and pleasant, and we do not fault the kind service we had.”

The rumour seems to be spreading all over this note of yours and weakens the rest of what could have seemed acceptable and for which I would have taken time to understand and answer each point in the very best way, as I am used to do.

On reading down your lines we step into the rumour field : is it possible to base your judgement on “we have heard that…” rumour does not seem a good advisor, and could even lead to mistakes and big errors, for instance when you say “ should be re reviewed for a Michelin star”, without tasting , without knowing, without elements of your own.
You compare our restaurant where you did not have dinner or lunch, as you said, with other restaurants where you say you had dinner or lunch. Is this acceptable ? It seems then that all the rest of your judgement falls really down.

Further most, “it might be worth a stop for Sunday lunch” : how can you guess this because you chose “NOT to eat … ? Please allow me then to consider your advice for “not make this trip” unacceptable.

I remain at your disposal

Sincerely

Jany Gleize Propriétaire Chef de cuisine, Maître de maison
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2010

The owner/chef, his staff and waiters all are world class professionals with a family embrace. Our every need was anticipated before we asked. The food was out of this world as well as the service. Eric, at the front desk is genuinely kind and wonderully helpful.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marin County, CA
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2010

The web site and publicity photos of this hotel are deceiving as they make it appear as if La Bonne Etape were situated in the middle of the countryside. They accomplish this by picturing the hotel’s rear which is pleasantly landscaped and surrounds a fine swimming pool. More important, however, is the fact that the front entrance sits across from a large modern concrete building. Furthermore, the hotel itself is situated a mere half block from the heavily trafficked main thoroughfare that runs through the heart of Chateau Arnoux, a rather scruffy and nondescript town.
The La Bonne Etape has two restaurants. One is formal, cold, and rather expensive, though it proudly sports a Michelin star. The other is modest, reasonably priced and features good traditional French fare. Naturally we chose the latter. We also chose to take our breakfast at a cafe around the corner. Like many French hotels, La Bonne Etape charges an absurdly high amount for breakfast. As my wife and I order only a croissant and coffee, we understandably get annoyed when the hotel charges over sixty dollars for breakfast for two. At the cafe the charge was less than ten.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bonneetape04, Propriétaire at La Bonne Etape, responded to this review, June 8, 2011
* Dear Madam, dear Sir,

* I am sorry to read you thought we wanted to cheat you. This is not the case at all.

* The pictures on the website show the surroundings and what is around the hotel, as well the swimming pool (the 6000 sq meters organic garden in the property is not featured on the website). The building is more than 70 meters long and at the eastern end where the hotel and the swimming pool are located, no one can hear the road you complain about (no sound of it, no view either).

* Full breakfast charged 21 euros compared to what is served at this standard : this is not overpriced.

I will take your complaint on the price as a suggestion to be more clear about what is proposed and thank you for that.

* A cup of coffe can be proposed as an alternative : you are right, this was not clearly written nor said to you.

* I hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming you another time in our house to make the idea you have change to a much better opinion.

* Very sincerely

* Jany Gleize Managing owner
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Austin, TX
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2009

Our room was very tired, the tub was not clean, the shower had mildew in several places, and the bath robes supplied by the hotel were old and should have been replaced. Noise from the guests in the room above us was very disturbing. Although we had booked the room room the hotel's English website and received a confirmation in English, the receptionist could not help us with any information as she spoke only French. Way too much $$$ for this sort of experience.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bonneetape04, Propriétaire at La Bonne Etape, responded to this review, June 8, 2011
Dear Madam,

First of all please accept my apologies for not answering before. I was not aware I could do it.

The receptionist did not speak English : the lady who welcomed you was my mother who is 80 years old, and who wanted to help as the receptionist in charge went to the doctor unexpectedly.

You are right, my mother did not welcome you in English, and I do apologise about that.

Is the whole of your comment a true image of what you experienced ? Please allow me to doubt this was so bad and accept also my apologies for the remaining part for which you are right.

Should you return to our house, please contact me directly so that we can discuss this matter over and so that you might have a better idea of La Bonne Etape, which would be nearer to the reality. Very sincerely Jany Gleize Managing owner
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
79 helpful votes 79 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2009

We wanted to spend the last two nights of our grand tour of Provence in style. When we booked the hotel, we had asked them to arrange a babysitter for both nights so that we could enjoy both restaurants in peace. The staff did this well ahead of our arrival, and had everything in place for us. This was typical of the level of service which we enjoyed at La Bonne Etape.

Initially, we were a bit disappointed by the location of the hotel (behind the modern grey Post Office building), but the interior compensated for this. We also took a walk up to the church on the other side of the road, and we were able to see the more traditional side of this very typical French village.

The gardens of the hotel are lovely, as is the pool.

The restaurant did not disappoint, and we absolutely loved it. It is well worth its Michelin rating. This is where you go for a real treat. We also enjoyed the bistro restaurant (Au Gout du Jour) which was of course, less formal, but the food was still outstanding. If you have time, visit them both to compare and contrast. You will not be disappointed.

The only real let down from a gastronmic point of view was the breakfast. The table was formally set and looked amazing, but all this for a very average continental breakfast. There were some mini plums from the garden, but we found them a bit sour. From looking at other guest tables, it looked like we were not the only ones!

Our room was fine, if not a little old fashioned. Some would call this faded chic, and I guess that it is typical of the 'Relais and Chateux' brand. Maybe it was the 1960's push button wooden radio on the wall which made it feel a bit ' fuddy duddy'. (Not that I'm a hip young thing - far from it!). Our bathroom was also a little bit passe - see the photo. If you are prone to sea sickness, this room wasn't for you. It was a shade of shocking pink with tiles shaped like shells on the wall, with a very large mermaid on the wall, in all her ample glory. It was something else! I accept that this is all about personal taste, and sadly it wasn't mine.

Other reviews have commented on the excellent location of this hotel for exploring the area and this is exactly what we found too.

Overall, we really enjoyed our stay and would say that it made a wonderful end to a great holiday. Go and enjoy the Bonne Etape - just make sure you don't get the mermaid bathroom!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MIchigan
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2009

We stay there for a for nights - Luxury Link package. Very good deal. Extremely well maintained hotel. Very clean , comfortable and unique. Old fashion , but with all modern amenities including AC, flat TV ( mostly french programs), excellent bathroom. Breakfast included in a package - extended continental in bedrooms or restaurant. We tried both restaurant. The main one - 5 course dinner again included in a package deal ( 1 star MIchelin restaurant) - one of the best we ever had. Wine and champagne quite expensive, but that what one can expect in this type of restaurant. Personnel very pleasant ( including owners) and professional.
Perfect localization for us. Every day we drove in a different direction.Mostly mountain type of road , well maintain, but step and high gradient - i liked that way. Rent a car , if possible - small, but with bigger engine. Lavender was in bloom and views were unforgettably ! Much less touristy, than western Provence .La bonne Etape is on perfect place to be a base to explore this part of France.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Bonne Etape

Address: Chemin du Lac, 04160 Chateau-Arnoux, France
Phone Number:
Location: France > Provence > French Riviera - Cote d'Azur > Chateau-Arnoux
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Chateau-Arnoux
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — La Bonne Etape 4*
Number of rooms: 18
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Also Known As:
La Bonne Etape Hotel Chateau-Arnoux
La Bonne Etape Chateau Arnoux

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