We recently returned from our three week holiday touring around Europe. It was a holiday where we camped in our family tent some nights, broken by hotel nights in relative luxury to keep the Wife and I sane. The kids love the tent, and the whole European camping experience, but for us grown ups, the prospect of a freshly made bed as opposed to a sleeping bag was always a welcome break.
Having had a very disappointing stay at our last hotel in Italy, we hoped that the Chateau de Villersexel wouldn’t be a similar disappointment. It wasn’t, it was in fact a highlight of our entire holiday.
We’d had an awful drive up from Lake Geneva, but eventually arrived in Villersexel. It took a bit of work finding the place, but after a bit of driving around in circles, we pulled up onto the gravel driveway in front of the imposing Chateau. We knew that we were early, so sat in the car waiting for check in time.
After a little time, the owner of the Chateau opened the doors of his house, and beckoned us across. What an absolute gent, offering us all a very cordial and friendly welcome. His English was good, and he was full of good humour.
He took us on the long walk to the Montebello Suite, and up the majestic staircase. We had a number of rooms that made up the suite, with each room being good sizes, the like of which you’d expect to find in a stately home. Our children had a great room, where the owners had thoughtfully laid out small gifts on the pillows of each of the beds.
It was great to have so much space, and for us as parents we finally had privacy away from the children, which was fantastic.
It’s not really a hotel, which we knew before we arrived, it’s a family home, granted the grandest of family homes. The furniture was an eclectic range of styles and types, and some would say it was akin to being in a bric a brac shop. I say that with the deepest of respect for the owners, as it’s not a boutique hotel, it’s a grand house with lots of character. The accommodation was clean, and had everything we needed as a family, plenty of towels and hot water. They provided tea and coffee making facilities. The bathroom facilities were old, but perfectly useable, with toiletries and razors laid out. The children had access to the bathroom and wc via another room, so if they needed to toilet in the middle of the night, they could visit without disturbing us.
The owner asked us if we wanted reservations making for an evening meal at a local restaurant, which we did. I’ll review the restaurant some time soon. Safe to say we had a nice meal out that evening.
The next morning we waited in our room for breakfast… it was soon apparent that my poor French had lead me to believe it was to be a room service breakfast, it wasn’t… it was downstairs :-) my mistake… so we were embarrassingly late, well slightly late anyhow :-) We sat with the other French guests, and had the options of bread, cheese, and yoghurts etc. It was very expensive for what it was, but at the end of the day we didn’t want to seem like ignorant Brits, and be rude not eating breakfast in the Chateau.
Soon after breakfast the owner showed us around his home, a small tour and history of the mansion, and the former buildings on the site. Obviously he spoke French, because my Wife and I were the only English speakers there, but he took the time to chip in with English sentences here and there, which was appreciated, as did some of the other French guests, which was very nice of them.
Overall our stay was a delightful experience, and a welcome break from our camping holiday :-) The owners did everything to make us feel welcome. There’s a common misconception in the UK, and indeed the US, that the French are an unfriendly bunch. We’ve travelled across France, East to West, and North to South, and it has to be said that we’ve always been welcomed by friendly, helpful people. This visit was no exception, and our stay in Villersexel was fantastic, and we have nothing but praise for the owners, and thank them both for a great time.
Just to address any previous reviews where they talked about the place being spooky or morbid.. I really don’t know what they are talking about. It wasn’t spooky in the slightest… perhaps it was as the owner had told us, that “his ghosts were on holiday in Scotland” :-)
Thanks for reading.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This is a private Château whose actual owners' family dates back from the time of Charlemagne. Corinne and Jean-Pierre Potet are living there with their three children. This is their home and they will definitely enjoy to receive you as paying guests. They are all absolutely charming and will do their utmost to make your stay there unforgettableThis Chateau offers a unique venue for all types of events, including weddings, fashion shows and receptions. ... more less
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