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“Really perfect.”
Review of Hotel Le Senechal

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Hotel Le Senechal
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Ars-en-Re
Certificate of Excellence
London, UK
Level Contributor
88 reviews
81 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 393 helpful votes
“Really perfect.”
Reviewed August 27, 2012

Really, I cannot fault this awesome hotel. We stayed in the 'Loft de la Tour', a stunning two bedroom suite overlooking the famous black and white clock tower. It had its own tower room, kitchen, two bathrooms and was decorated in the gorgeous Ile de Ré style, with exposed beams, muted colours etc. The hotel itself is gorgeous, all hidden flowering courtyards and comfy places to sit. The swimming pool is absolutely tiny and has only about 8 loungers, but perfect for a refreshing dip before any children arrive... All in all, a very lovely 3 star with stunning rooms and a really tasty breakfast too.

Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank Holly29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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190 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Paris
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed August 26, 2012

This is a great holiday hotel in a fabulously beautiful village. The rooms are all different, but are all decorated in the "style récup'" (a French loft-vintage-shabby-chic). My favourites are the little houses, with two or three bedrooms, that are bigger than the hotel rooms, with their own kitchenette, dining table and terrace, but that have the same daily cleaning services as the hotel. Much better service and design than any holiday house I have ever rented for the price. You can get around Ars-en-Ré by bicycle and the daily fresh food market is incredible and easy to cater from. Easy access to beach/tennis by bicycle or on foot, and a pretty terrace restaurants in the centre and port.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank English_girl_Paris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2012 via mobile

Lovely hotel and central but room very small and hot! Spent 3 sleepless nights there! Came away to relax and enjoy and left exhausted! Also thought that we were going to a nice hotel for peace and quiet but it was full of upper class French with children with attitude that were left in the pool late every afternoon to look after themselves which meant a couple of hours of hell for other guests.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank DerynCaerdydd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed June 6, 2012

Ever wondered what an Eric Rohmer film would feel like, well spend a few days in the sun with the family on the Ile de Re (and pray that it doesn't rain).
Just spent ten days at Le Senechal with our 20 month old. Whilst we all adored the hotel (it's lovely), and even though the Management very graciously waived the 20 euro (!) per day (!!) baby supplement, this is probably not the place to bring young children.
We stayed in "The Loft", which was delightful, apart from: the non-child friendly polished concrete floor; open plan (i.e. no separate sleeping area for child/ren); advisable to bring your own cot; and stair-gate for the unguarded flight of concrete steps up to the room; a microwave with the kitchenette would also have been helpful. But these are nit-picking comments about a hotel which is really for grown-ups with an appreciation for superb interior design, lighting, architecture, hugely pleasant surroundings and have discerning taste. Every detail has been thought out and designed to beautiful effect, hence no stair-gate.
The proprietors were rather more keen on flower-arranging and potting plants than tending to their paying guests, however. The staff appear to be all female. Hence, you will not be offered any assistance whatsoever in lugging cases, cot, toys, food, etc from the road side (there is no parking, except around the corner fifty metres away in the square on a time-limit 'pay and display' or 'gratuit' 250 metres away on the edge of the village). This relaxed, apparent insouciant, "hands-off" approach to the business of hospitality was interesting and probably more attractive to those seeking a private hideaway with no fuss (and carrying little luggage).
The swimming pool is really not worth the trouble of getting your bathers on. It's exactly as in the photo; i.e. tiny; slightly aquamarine green in colour, but heated. It would be better employed as a water feature with lilies and "Dedon" seating instead of the faded reclining wooden loungers which had seen better days. I wondered whether having a pool qualified the hotel for an extra star. It does not need it.
In terms of room tips: avoid any ground floor room along the side or rear of the hotel as this abuts an alleyway up and down which the youth of Ars en Re tirelessly wring the last cc out of their exhaustless 50cc mopeds.(Fortunately, "The Loft" is raised (above the garage), has aircon and well insulated and shuttered windows, but still the din was at times intrusive).
By far the nicest rooms are 22 and 25 - go for these and you won't find better. Fantastic views of the island and lovely light, airy interiors.
Breakfast at 15 euros each or 18 euros in your room might be considered a little bit steep to some, particularly when you can enjoy a walk of 150 metres by the Church to the bakery on the corner of the square and buy 1/2 litre of fresh orange juice with croissants for 2 for under 10 euros.
As for restaurants, O de Mer is a must. Le Clocher is worth avoiding, unless you enjoy waiting for several chimes from the clocher between being seated and attended to by some of the rudest waiters in France.
As for what to do: park your car, hire a cycle, grab a picnic lunch from the market and head straight for Les Portes and the beaches along this stretch of the coast. The cycle ride through the nature reserve and salt beds is otherworldly. Leave your bike in the dunes and join the locals in prising oysters off rocks at low tide. Very elemental. Wonderful stuff. Enjoy...

Room Tip: In terms of room tips: avoid any ground floor room along the side or rear of the hotel as this abuts...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Neil F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
Reviewed May 13, 2012

I have been many times to Le Senechal.
My first visit was as a young professional between jobs, enjoying my "garden leave" at the end of August up until early September. The hotel had just been acquired and renovated by its current owners, and it was well before it became the place to be in the island. In fact, it was even before Ile de Re became fashionable.
A word about the island: white sand beaches, over 100km of cycling slopes punctuated by oyster farms that serve the most divine platters on the spot for a dime, secluded villages often featuring a restaurant worth a stop...and in a nutshell, away from it all. It was there that I proposed to my wife. It was there that I took my eldest son to its first beach holiday when he was 3 months old. And it is there where my fondest holiday memories remain.
Le Senechal is on Ars en Re, the prettiest village of the island, with its black and white church tower, fruit and veg market, amazing restaurants, beach and country feeling, removed from modern civilization but close enough to get to.
The hotel was renovated in 2000 into a laid back, whitewashed walls and climbing plants, sunny yet secluded gem featuring a small swimming pool and many living areas small enough to provide intimacy to its occupants. The place doesn't look anything much from the outside, but the magic starts as you walk in: terracotta tiles, sisal or timber wood floors grace your feet as your eyes are enchanted by the typical decorum of the French Atlantic style: simple yet subtle furniture found in flea markets mixed with deep, comfortable seatings and beddings, dimmed lighting either in the bedrooms, or in the patio, lit with leds that form a patchwork of stars on the cobbled courtyard, climbing plants carefully chosen for the enjoyment of the sight and the scent.
My favourite room is suite 22: large enough with a living room benefiting from a working fireplace (nights are chilly in Ars except in July-August), large bathroom with bath and shower, bedroom with a 150 sf terrace overlooking the pool (and, as you would expect, protected from everyone else's gaze).
Staff is generally accommodating: breakfast served in bedroom if you wish, good tips on what to do and see around, where to go and what not to miss. Breakfast in the courtyard when sunny is also very enjoyable, reading the island newspaper or the Figaro, both available in high season from the local newsagent.
Many Parisians owning a house in the island prefer to check into Le Senechal rather than open their own house if visiting the island on a short break (I guess it is always a good problem to have when you need to set significant time aside to "open" your holiday home).
You've never been, you want the island experience, you don't want to be disappointed: book yourself into le Senechal.
Best period to go: first week of September. Everyone is back in Paris - however, restaurants, shops and hotels are still in full service, just recovering from the peak of the season. The weather is at its best: hot during the day, 28-30c, with the Gulf Stream warming the waters of the southern beaches of the island to 22c, but chilly enough in the evenings to light a small fire for the fun of it, or wear a thick woolly jumper to enjoy dinner al fresco, on a terrace overlooking the harbour.
When NOT to go: mid July and whole of August. Anything and everything you do not want to meet or see during your time off.
So a very enthusiastic reviewer.

Now the small print:
- Some staff can seem a little off-putting. After many years of going there, it is probably due to excessive shyness than intentional offence. This has been a laid back beach resort up until 10 years ago, and it still is off season, which explains the lack of international standards despite the internationally standardised pricing of rooms and suites..
- Room prices have gone up to what I consider over and above the reasonable limit. It is cheaper to rent a 3 bedroom house in the same village than a medium-sized bedroom if going for a week. Given that the place does not offer the full array of hotel services (no concierge, no room service safe for tea and breakfast, no laundry, no restaurant except breakfast and tea, no cable, no gym, etc), might as well rent a house and ask for daily cleaning service from local cleaning ladies.
- the island has become a French and to some extent international phenomenon. Crowded with tourists, easily accessible through the main viaduct, it has somewhat lost its past appeal during the peak season. That problem is reflected in the hotel clientele and less personalized service. Hence the importance of your timing...

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the internal courtyard - quieter and nicer views.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank JackfromParis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed November 7, 2011

We love visiting Le Senechal, out of the high French season ie August. Architecturally and in terms of decor, this is top-notch. We love the village of Ars and Le Senechal is right in its heart. Ars is well-positioned for cycling round the nice end of the island - go to Cycland at the port. Try the breakfast on day 1 but maybe the bakers across the square is a better option for many.

Room Tip: Best rooms are pricy but worth it. Website is excellent for choosing what is right for you.
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Tony_Sandra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
58 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed November 6, 2011

We've stayed at Hotel le Senechal twice now. Firstly, the island and Ars-en-Re are finds in themselves. It is a gorgeous little seaside village filled with all things wonderful and oh so French. It's also lacking a touristy feel and filled with locals, which makes it extra special. The hotel is smack bang in the middle of the village centre and is French to its core - colour schemes, room design, menus, the gardens. It has a truly lovely look and feel, and the staff are super friendly (particularly since we speak no French!).You need to be prepared for a bit of noise if you are on the ground floor and its summer. It is surrounded by 3 alleys and the mopeds do occasionally zip down them, plus there is no air conditioning so you need the fresh air through the window. We needed to be extra security cautious as we were on the ground floor and wanted the air (no screens), however, there is absolutely no sense of concern and I do believe the risk is very very low. You may want to request a first floor room away from the streets to manage both of these elements (we'll be doing that next time!). The cheaper rooms are also small but perfectly formed, so expect cosy! The breakfast is a decent continental spread for a reasonable price, or you might choose to go to the boulangerie/bakery which is less than a minute away. If you are driving, there is parking very close by which will cost about 7 euro a day in the meters. There are other options a few more minutes away. Go to Ars-en-Re and stay at Hotel le Senechal - you will not be disappointed.

Room Tip: Ask for a first floor room away from the front street
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Its_Small_World
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Le Senechal

Property: Hotel Le Senechal
Address: 6 rue Gambetta, 17590 Ars-en-Re, Ile de Re, France
Location: France > Nouvelle-Aquitaine > Charente-Maritime > Ile de Re > Ars-en-Re
Amenities:
Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Ars-en-Re
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Le Senechal 3*
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Charming hotel in the middle of the village, rooms are all different, patios full of flowers, a little heated swimming pool, a fire place, a hearty staff, an ideal place to spend a wonderful stay in ile de Re. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Le Senechal Hotel
Hotel Le Senechal Ile De Re/Ars-En-Re, France

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