My partner and I stayed at Le Mail Plage for a week at the height of the French holiday season. It's a basic self-catering hotel in a great location – 100m from the beach and a similar distance from shopping for essentials and the daily morning market (for excellent local produce and tat). There are cafés and restaurants within touching distance, and more of the same in the quaint, pedestrianised village centre, a five-minute walk away.
Apartment 36 (sleeps six with mezzanine, low-ceiling double bedroom, which my wife frequently banged her head on, a single on the landing, a single in the hallway and a pull-out sofa) and offers a view of the, well, car park. That said, it was quiet; most people dump their car for the duration of their stay and take to bicycles. The tiny WC is separate and doesn't have a sink; anyone taller than 6ft would be best advised to sit sideways on the pew with the door open (if your family/partner will accept such a display of openness).
The pool looked fine and never seemed overly busy but we didn't try it, preferring to walk to the beach or cycle to other beaches further afield.
The self-catering side is well taken care of, including a microwave, four-place hob, dishwasher, toaster, coffee machine (bring a kettle if you like your tea hot) and all the kitchen utensils you could want. But you need to bring sheets/pillow cases, towels, tea towels, iron, rubbish bags, washing-up liquid and anything else you use in normal day-to-day living; the hotel doesn't give so much as a bean of a welcome pack.
The front desk were very helpful and the free-in-reception wi-fi (bring your own computer) worked but wasn't great. There's a wi-fi hotspot at the tourist office in the village centre that I didn't try.
Our conclusion was that we would have been better off renting a house. We could have had a similarly positioned three-bedroom property for less than the £1000+ we paid, and we'd have had our own outside space.
As for Île de Ré itself, we'll be going back in the not too distant future.
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- Also Known As:
- Residence Le Mail Plage Ile De Re/La Couarde-Sur-Mer