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“Food intolerance indeed misunderstood - friendly, costly, and weird”

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Hotel La Chapelle St-Martin
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Nieul
Certificate of Excellence
farnham
Level Contributor
33 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Food intolerance indeed misunderstood - friendly, costly, and weird”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2013

We have just read the unfortunate coeliac sufferer's review of La Chappelle Saint Martin and wish we had seen it before we stayed there last week. My wife's experience - as a coeliac for over 30 years - was almost identical save, fortunately, for the awful effects of unexpected contamination. She had checked with the hotel upon booking that they understood gluten free food need. Yes, no problem, she was assured. And, yes, when we sat down for dinner on our first night there the maitre immediately mentioned the sans gluten need, which won them a star in our instant reaction. Gluten free bread appeared. This was good, well done. But then came an amuse bouche looking suspiciously flour-inclusive. That was returned untouched with thanks. Then something green was offered, apparently a second amuse bouche? We tried it, hmmm, wife unsure and growing suspicious. The haricots verts salad then followed, oops that made us question the forerunner. Confused glances amongst the staff, some accusatory...we sensed a
screw-up had just occurred. But nothing was said. Perhaps our stay in August immediately followed the fellow coeliac's disaster previously described here? However, after this poor start the main course - VERY significantly comprising instantly recognisable ingredients - was close to a triumph - most palatable, beautifully cooked and charmingly presented. In other respects the hotel staff were absolutely charming and really tried very hard to help, except when we returned mid-afternoon on a Saturday having had nothing since breakfast and asked if room service could perhaps provide a snack? The response was a hunted expression and news that the kitchen closes on that afternoon. NOT four-star service then? The nearby supermarket in Nieul came to our rescue with bananas, crisps (gluten free) and a BLT sandwich for monsieur. Car parking beside the adjacent main road junction OUTSIDE the hotel's walled grounds gives little confidence and is hardly four-star. Decor is modern weird, maroon and roal blue, black and olive or grey, Russian kitsch glitzy beading on dark chairs, and the breakfast room - for example - is gloomy in the extreme, black and grey with 3/4 drawn curtains admitting little natural light. Large grounds look attractive at first sight, but a walk round reveals little care and two very neglected looking muddy-watered ponds. They try hard, and for many might succeed, but we left feeling disappointed, and as is often the case with relais chateaux, in receipt of precious little value for a bruisingly expensive bill. Why do we do it? Because one day, some day, we might hit gold... But not yet...sadly.

Room Tip: Don't go for suite with garden terrace, they are boxes in an extension with shutterd French wind...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank D50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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201 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Milano, Italia
Level Contributor
45 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2013

Preliminarily some notes which may be of interest for everyone:
the décor is very old - not old-fashioned.
Room: the bathroom has an hold wall hairdryer, the bed is the kind where you jump when your companion moves, the bathroom window curtain is missing, the wall has the signs from a previous bedshape. The décor in general is lacking, however the park is beautiful and the pool relaxing.
The dinner was uneven. Very good lobster carpaccio and wonderful cheese platter. Everything else was forgettable - was was unforgettable is my appalling experience as a coeliac (suffering from gluten intolerance).
My husband and I spent 2 weeks on holidays around France. I suffer from coeliac disease, therefore we booked our hotels and restaurants in advance and informed them of my dietary requirements with lots of notice - and in French, of course, as we're both fluent speakers.
In two weeks, I only had two bad experiences, and this place was by far the worst.
We reminded this requirement upon check-in and we received a dismissive no problem answer.
This is the full account of that night, for those who are interested:
Aperitif: we are served some "amuse-bouche". As they look pretty "gluten" we ask if they are gluten-free. We receive a puzzled stare back from the waiter, who then rushes back to the kitchen.
He comes back to take the platter away. However, my husband is not coeliac - only I am!
When we explain this, we receive another puzzled stare.
I might be wrong, but it seems like they think "gluten free" is some fashionable diet, rather than health requirement
I inform the maitre that I suffer from a genetic disease and I receive back a lecture on the potential dangers of excessive dieting...
Moments after, the waiter comes back with two big platters with prosciutto and a terrine with truffles.
I acknowledge that was a nice gesture to compensate the fact that I had not received any amuse-bouche.
The waiter realizes it's quite difficult to eat this food without bread, so hurries back to the kitchen and comes back with bread. As I am opening my mouth to ask if the bread is gluten free, the waiter suddenly realizes what he's doing, leaves the bread in front of my husband and hurries back again into the kitchen to hunt some gluten-free bread.
By the time he is back with the gluten free bread, we have finished our champagne and we would want to flee the place as it's apparent they don't have a clue about gluten-free. Needless to say, we're in the middle of nowhere and it's too late to go to Limoges.
As we move to the dining room, a waitress serves me normal bread. As I ask, puzzled look, then the waitress comes back with the gluten free bread happily sitting in the same basket with the normal bread. My bread dish still has crumbs from the previous attempt to serve normal bread, I have to expressly ask for it to be removed.
Never heard of cross-contamination (contamination croisée ... these words exist in French, too!)
We had to ask for every single dish if it was gluten-free, and there were many sauces so it was not possible to tell it from the appearance. At some point, a pidgeon lands in front of me accompanied by a puff pastry on one side, blatantly "gluten". I ask - and the plate is replaced.
I end my dinner wondering what I had in the other dishes, where I was assured they where gluten-free (starch? glucose from wheat? breadcrumbs? amidon modifié?)
Needless to say, I was very sick all night long.
When I informed the reception the following day, they said they were "surprised", remarking they had procured the gluten-free bread! As if this is all you have to do when you have coeliac guests.
The champagne, mineral water and wine we ordered with our meal were offered by the hotel, I assume as a commercial gesture after all that happened.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Gatt0ner0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
46 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2013

We arrived early for an overnight stay and were told that our room was ready. The check in staff were wonderful and suggested that they could supply a light lunch in our room. The table was set on the terrace outside our room, overlooking the grounds and we had a wonderful, but simple meal with cured ham, melon and thick slices of smoked salmon - it was divine! The room was spacious and Wi-Fi and other amenities were first class. As the previous reviewer mentioned, the toilet paper is worthy of a mention in its own right! The grounds of the hotel were lovely, and we seemed to have the place to ourselves for the afternoon. Dinner was delicious with attentive service and breakfast was a treat. Thank you to the English waitress for her attentive service. Overall, we felt really special staying at this hotel. Thank you to the staff.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank London1915
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hertford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 17, 2013

We stayed here for 3 nights while attending a family celebration locally. The hotel is very close to the Limoges-Bellegarde airport, although this does not in any way cause noise or disturbance. From the moment we arrived we felt welcomed, the staff having an uncanny ability of knowing when you're approaching and always being there to greet you! Our room was spacious with a large bathroom and separate toilet. It had a very large bed, comfortable pillows, free Wi-Fi and was very clean (and the toilet had the most luxurious loo paper I have ever seen!).

Service generally was excellent with just a couple of exceptions - one afternoon we went to the terrace for a drink and found that the tables were being laid up for dinner. Having brought our drinks the waiter then asked us to move to another table so that he could finish his work. We felt this was unnecessary and perhaps a reflection of his inexperience, rather than the hotel's overall approach. Also, one morning while being taken to our table for breakfast we were asked if we were eating at the hotel in the evening. This seemed a little premature.

The meals we ate at the hotel were superb. As others have commented, there is not a large choice and if you were eating there every night for a week it might feel a little repetitive. The quality and originality make up for the lack of choice though. Compared to other restaurants of this standard we thought that the meals represented extremely good value for money. Sadly the same could not be said of some of the drinks we had. This was the only real criticism we would make. From other reviews we knew that beer was expensive at 10 €. We were not prepared for a non-alcoholic cocktail costing 16 €. I would be shocked to be charged that much for a cocktail containing alcohol but for a bit of syrup, fruit juice and carbonated water, this seemed way over the top.

This review may read a little negatively but that is not the overall impression we would want to give. We would wholeheartedly recommend La Chapelle St Martin and will definitely return in the future.

Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Gail B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 4, 2013

We just dined at La Chapelle Saint-Martin, and had a similar experience, to when we'd last dined there almost exactly a year before.

The setting is excellent, and the food superbly put together and presented, as expected. Service is also very good - but before 21:00

The problem seems to come after 21:30 pm, when service becomes extremely hard to come by in the restaurant. The waiters seem to disappear entirely, petit fours get brought out with the dessert and left on the table awaiting coffee later. Finally on both occasions we've dined here, to get the bill, we've actually had to leave the restaurant, on account of simply not being able to find a waiter anywhere, go to the hotel main reception, and ask for the bill there. This has been around 10pm ! With a Relais and Chateau, I'd expect more.

I'd suggest an early start for dinner, before the service issues kick in. Following that rule, I think most people who enjoy fine dining would be happy.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank james l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 20, 2013

I stayed here in December for my Dads 50th birthday and it was amazing. The staff were so accommodating to everyone's needs and went the extra mile to make sure we all had the most fantastic time! The chef/owner Gilles is such a lovely man and his food is divine! I cannot recommend this place enough!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Victoria R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gilles D, Propriétaire at Hotel La Chapelle St-Martin, responded to this review, May 8, 2013
Dear Victoria,

Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It is always a pleasure for the entire team to make you feel at home in our beautiful property surrounded by a 35hectare parc.
We would be very pleased to welcome you again in the future.

With our best regards,
Gilles Dudognon
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Romsey, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 20, 2013

What a fantastic find, shabby chic hotel with a perfect blend of new and old.lovely grounds and a great choice of rooms.The Pavilion is great for families and rooms 10,22,23&24 are superb.
But then the food , the chef Gilles was trained by the Roux brothers and last night we were at the Waterside Inn in Bray, whilst the the food was excellent it was not a patch on the Gilles.
We have been lucky to eat at lots of fantastic places around the world, but this is the best food I have ever tasted.my favourite bolt hole in the world only 5 minutes from Limoges airport. We have been 10 times and I can not wait to go back

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Darren R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel La Chapelle St-Martin

Property: Hotel La Chapelle St-Martin
Address: 33 Saint Martin du Fault, 87510 Nieul, France
Location: France > Nouvelle-Aquitaine > Haute-Vienne > Nieul
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Nieul
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel La Chapelle St-Martin 4*
Number of rooms: 14
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Also Known As:
Hotel La Chapelle St-Martin France/Nieul

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