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“Beautiful! But....”

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Chateau de Challain
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, Illinois, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Beautiful! But....”
Reviewed December 26, 2012

My husband & I stayed here during our honeymoon. We only spent one night here but it was an interesting experience to say the least. While the chateau is one the most stunning & beautiful places I have ever seen, our one night here started off on the worst foot. To start, let me say that the chateau is located in a very small town, where almost no one speaks English. This is also not at all like a traditional hotel where it’s open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, with staff on hand at all times. With that being said, my husband & I arrived on a cold rainy Tuesday afternoon only to find that the large main gate was locked. We spent an hour driving & walking around the town, in the rain, trying to find a way onto the property or at the very least, someone to help us. After an hour, a gentleman pulled up to the gate & attempted to help us. Although he didn’t speak any English & I only speak minimal French, he understood that we were locked out of the chateau & needed to check in. He tried calling the chateau number a few times but there was no answer. Luckily, he knew a chateau employee & was able to call that individual to come help us. Fabian arrived a few moments later & informed us that he didn’t have anyone booked to stay at the chateau tonight, guests were scheduled to arrive 2 days later. After looking at my confirmation email & the deposit I’d already paid for my reservation, he realized his error & rushed to get everything ready for us. This involved unlocking the gates, unlocking the entire chateau, turning on lights, opening the shutters, turning on the heat, etc. Since no one bothered to mark down our reservation, there was not one single soul on the entire chateau premises. Fabian did everything in his power to make the remainder of our stay enjoyable, though. His customer service was exceptional. After the stress of thinking we were never going to get into the chateau, I wanted a glass of wine to drink. Luckily, Fabien had some for us to enjoy immediately. The chateau itself was amazing! We did not experience any of the cleanliness issues other guests have mentioned on this site. However, we stayed in a Tower room & I do think there is a bat somewhere in one of the windows in the bathroom area as there were very creepy, bat-like noises coming from there all night long. The grounds were beautiful; both the dinner & breakfast Fabian prepared for us were wonderful; our room was breathtaking. The whole chateau is something straight out of a movie or book. However, had it not been for the gentleman who stumbled upon us that afternoon, we would never have been able to stay here. We would have been forced to drive 3 hours back to Paris & find another hotel (one that’s actually opened everyday, with staff actually there!) for the night. We read reviews prior to booking this place & one couple mentioned arriving to check in only to learn their reservation was never saved or marked down. Turns out they booked through a third-party. We thought booking directly through the chateau website would help us to avoid having this issue. Clearly, that’s not the case. Furthermore, Fabian admitted to us during our stay that the owner tried to remind him a week prior that he had guests staying at the chateau on that Tuesday afternoon yet he thought she was incorrect & ignored her reminder. After all this was said & done, we checked out the next morning to learn we’d be charged for the bottle of wine Fabien gave us & the full amount for the dinner he prepared. It’s not that I have an issue paying for this but I felt some service recovery was warranted, seeing as how we were first greeted by a locked gate, next greeted by being told we had no reservation with them, & last told that the owner of the chateau remembered our reservation but not the actual employees there. My husband has a few years of Marriott hotel experience & I have a few more years of both Marriott & Hilton hotel experience (I currently work for Hilton) and I can assure you a situation like this would NEVER have been handled this way! At the very least, a complimentary bottle of wine would have been provided (we had to pay for ours!) or a discount on a meal offered (we had to pay full price, $150!). I understand I’ve written a novel here & I’m sorry. I just want to caution future guests who might stay here. Just because you book through the website & just because you pay a deposit, does not at all mean you will actually have a reservation here. This experience certainly put a bit of a damper on our honeymoon experience in France. I can assure you, our experience was definitely not worth 600 euros!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank KLewis1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FranceReka, Owner at Chateau de Challain, responded to this review, December 28, 2012
I want to apologies for your arrival not being what it should of been. You bring to my attention a need....to must have guest give an approximation of their time arrival in the days before.

For Chateau Challain is a home not a Hotel and we have normal needs and once in a while to make a quick trip may be needed yet you are the only one home so a Note on the door is all we can do.

I realize this was not the situation you were not expected yet you had a reservation. This is a human error... mine! I forgot to write it in the book for when I had received it it was during the preparation for a wedding on that day. I had call to remind my staff member a few days before so I am unsure what happened so I want to offer you a refund. I am very sorry for your experience and I think you can see from others this is not the normal practice in our home.

The reason we do the B&B is so all can experience the atmosphere of an era gone by. We want you to feel at home in our home even if we are not able to be there. Thanks Cynthia
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English first
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 7, 2012

Absolutely Gorgeous! Setting was taken from a story book! Staff was very friendly and did everything to accommodate our wishes.... I would recommend for the most romantic of events, we had actual fireworks at our party and we felt like we were at Disneyland.

Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Bobby N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SANTA MONICA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed November 4, 2012

I was the host of the wedding that reviewer "purdueup" attended. I disagree with every word and letter of her review. In fact, each and every time I see any one of the other guests we hosted, they cannot help but bring up what an amazing experience it was to stay at Chateau de Challain, and how grateful they are to have had that opportunity.

I encountered absolutely no issues with cleanliness. Of course, this is a castle that was built in the century before last, and is therefore not going to have every comfort and accommodation of a recently built hotel. A Holiday Inn would give you maid service and fresh towels every day, but I cannot imagine anyone exchanging the opportunity to stay in a chateau for those types of accommodations. And of course, no one was forced to stay in the chateau. While all of our guests very much wanted to stay in the chateau, more than half had to stay in small hotels and bed & breakfasts in nearby towns.

Purdueup's comments with respect to the food are perhaps the most shocking. We arrived at the chateau on Friday afternoon. A cocktail hour with over 20 types of heavy hors d'oeuvres began at 7 pm. The following morning, breakfast was served until past noon, at which time a crepes and gallettes station was set up right next to the kitchen so that the guests staying at the chateau could have freshly made crepes and gallettes all day long, at their convenience. Following the wedding ceremony, at approximately 6 pm, there was another cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres, followed by a four course dinner. Breakfast was again served the following morning. I will leave it to the reader to determine whether this amount of food constitutes "unavailable." As for the food being “awful,” I count myself as having a sophisticated palette, as did many of my other guests. I, and everyone else I spoke with, enjoyed the food very much.

Finally, I will comment on the staff. First, I have been working with Cynthia (the owner) for nearly nine months planning this wedding, and at no point during that time did she conduct herself in a manner that is anywhere close to being called "rude." She did everything she could to accommodate not only my requests, but also the requests of my guests. She went above and beyond. Second, her staff was similarly helpful, available, and gracious. In fact, my husband lost in the chateau a ring with great sentimental value, and after notifying her staff, they searched for it and found it over a month later, and Cynthia shipped it back to the states for us.

I looked forward to my wedding at Chateau de Challain for many months, and it exceeded even my very high expectations. I could not think of a negative thing to say about Chateau de Challain, and I have a great deal of confidence that the rest of my guests feel the same way.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank NINA B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
canada
Level 6 Contributor
113 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
Reviewed September 17, 2012

First of all let me tell you that I we have had a wonderful time in this Chateau thanks to Fabian who bent overbackwords for us during our stay. He made our 10th wedding anniversary a memorable time and we thank him for that a million time. The owner is very lucky to have him! Thank you for the beautiful flower Bouquet JeanMarie.( I hope I remembered your name correctly)

We would have given this Chateau a 5 stars if it wasnt' for the following issues:

1. Our bathroom was a MESS! We found escrement stains still in the toilet bowl. The shower had not been cleaned as well and there was black hair on the bottle of shampoo and conditioner ( why don't you get small package of soaps and toiletries as it would be more sanitary?)
We felt that to find a big bottle of squeezed shampoo in the bathroom of such a nice place was a disgrace not to mention the cacca in the toilet! We ended up asking for cleaning supplies and cleaned our bathroom on our own...
The Bathroom also need a bigger supply of towels. One large for the shower and a face cloth is not enough. A medium size towel is needed especially if one needs to wash the hair.

2.We had booked a tower suite from their website, paid for the deposit and told later that the room was not available.

3. We couldn't pay with a credit card as there was not internet connection or something like that. We have stayed in 10 chateaux during this trip and never had this problem. We had to come up with 600 euros in cash. It was not a big deal for such a small amount but what if we had stayed longer?

4. Stuffed animals in the chateau....too many....too much... too heavy!


We want to make clear that :

we had to mention the above to keep trip advisor a truthful environment, and to let the owner know as a constructive feedback not destructive as in honest truth the above did NOT affect our experience. We would definately reccomend this place and go back. It has been the best Chateau experience we have had.
The owner did a great job with the decor and to keep the hotel in such great condition. She just needs to supervise the cleaning and booking more.

Breakfast was wonderful, Fabian was wonderful. We had a lovely cerimony. Thank you again to the supernice Pastor, and for having organized the beautiful ceremony, flowers, appetizer and the FABOULOUS DINNER. A+++ - Super romantic. Beautifully decorated, We felt at home.

The garden and the gazebo are absolutely fantastic, we like that they keep the entrance of the chateau clear from cars. We loved Chateau Challain we felt that the prices are very fair for what they offer and we will definately go back next year hopefully.

Cinthya, Fabian, we are looking forward to our next visit and cerimony. :)

Thanks again

Room Tip: we stayed at the Empress Room and we loved it
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank SIST
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FranceReka, Owner at Chateau de Challain, responded to this review, October 8, 2012
While it is a challenge to keep a 76,000 sq ft Castle clean we regret and apologize to our client for being shown to a room that was only 1/2 cleaned by staff before going to their lunch. Communication between staff will continue to be a priority for us so that all the hard work of our staff does not get erased by such a mistake. Again we are sorry for this mistake happening in our home.
As for the internet connection, we are sorry that it went out at such an inopportune time ,,, it rarely happens in the countryside but does occur.
However,we so appreciate the input that our clients and friends have posted to help us raise the standards and quality of our home to the level that we would like to have when we would stay, while traveling to visit other Castles. Please remember that this Castle was built for the Rochfoucauld-Bayer family as a Hunting Castle and so there are two rooms that have Lions ,Giraffe,Elephant Etc to preserve the authenticity of the Castle but there are over 100 other rooms in which to spend time ( as our home is open for you to freely explore) just in case these are not your style
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 6, 2012

WOW, doesn't come close to explaining how beautiful Chateau Challian is. A couple of friends and I stayed at the Chateau for two nights and and had wonderful food and everyone working at the Chateau were so nice and made our stay ever more enjoyable. The owner Cynthia was the most gracious host and the Chateau is her heart and sole and every detail of referbishing the Chateau was done with love and a whole lot of Euro's. I would recommend that anyone reading this must go and enjoy Lorie Valley"s most beautiful Chateau. You won't reget one minute!

Room Tip: Every room at the Chateau is absolutely breath taking, you just can't go wrong..
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank charlotte p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Level 6 Contributor
122 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2012

I have booked a full board one night stay at the castle for a surprise for my partner on the way to our country house in Brittany. The place it self was fabulous and beyond our expectation. Luckily we had the castle just for ourselves as we were the only guest of the night.

We first had a warm welcome from Cynthia who really makes us feel like home (As she would say "this is not a castle but a home so make your self like being at home"). We could enjoy the afternoon relaxing and walking around in the garden guided by Zeus the german Shepherd who pose himself like the guardian of the place. We also took a self tour around inside the castle. Every room was well designed and furnished. Cynthia did a very amazing job in the restauration and in finding all the furniture that perfectly fit together.

A nice and romanic table was set for us on the terrasse as we choose to dine at the castle that night. It's of course not included but it's avoid us to drive out 35minutes all the way to Angers which is the nearest big city. As the chef was not there that day Cynthia cooked herself, but pity she didn't join us.

The next morning we had the breakfast set up for us in the kitchen below the ground level. It was perfect although the croissant was cold but the decor was truly amazing.

We are looking forward to be back next year for a longer period.

Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank ACVK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 18, 2012

My wife and I (from Vancouver Canada) had prebooked a 3 week self-organized vacation in the Loire Valley to see the museum Chateaus. We wanted a 4 star or better accommodation with breakfast and dinner included (1/2 board) in a chateau that was spacious and elegant and had a wow factor. Having never been to the Chateau Challain before we did not know what to expect. We stayed for 2 nights June 4 & 5 of 2012 and knew immediately this was it...wow...beyond our wildest dreams. Cynthia the owner joined us for after-dinner drinks and a genuine conversation on the first night and the chef joined us for drinks and gave us a tour after dinner the second night as Cynthia had flown back to the U.S. As a result that special personal connection and kindness have led us to book for next year (July 2013) for 7 nights. Food, chateau (accommodations), and staff were excellent. When we arrived Cynthia said "this is a home so make it like your home." We will be returning to our French home and look forward to seeing everybody including Zeus the gentle German Shepherd...the boss.

We stayed at 9 chateaus including the Hilton Waldorf Versailles and although all were excellent it was the personal touch at Chateau Challain and Chateau Bourron with the Count and Countess of Bourron that made these 2 Chateaus far above the others. (Chateau Bourron which is near Chateau Fontainebleu is better than Chateau Versailles for sightseeing and also as a bonus 1/2 hr away from is Chateau de Vaux le Vicomte a historical story of financial graf).

Room Tip: The rooms are all excellent pick the one that strikes your fancy.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank DianneW2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Chateau de Challain

Property: Chateau de Challain
Address: Chateau du Mesnil, 49440 Challain-la-Potherie, France
Location: France > Pays de la Loire > Maine et Loire > Challain-la-Potherie
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Challain-la-Potherie
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An Elegant Neo Gothic Chateau on the western Loire Valley. Renovated in Luxurious style from and era past.Hosting B&B Suites as well as Magnificent Events,Weddings and Private parties.Located in the countryside with easy accesses to Large towns and historical Places.You may come as a stranger but you will leave as a friend. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Chateau De Challain Hotel Challain-La-Potherie
Chateau De Challain La Potherie

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