I would have awarded 3.5 stars if possible. This is my fifth visit to Le Prieure over the past 15 years or so: we go back every few years for a special occasion as it is in one of the most magical and delightful spots in France. The outstandingly good point about the Prieure is its location and setting, perched on a bluff high above the Loire with stunning views over the river to the plain beyond. The air is filled with bird song from morning 'till night, as well as a chorus of frogs and other sounds of nature. At night, it is silent and a wonderful sleep is almost guaranteed. The hotel is based around an ancient Priory so it is very atmospheric. We have stayed in the 'residences' - basically 1950s chalets in the grounds that have no view of the river - and we have stayed in a suite in the main hotel with vast terrace and huge rooms (room 9). This time we chose a superior room, which was entered from an external doorway beneath the hotel dining room. It had a slightly overgrown garden and fairly good views (though a little low to appreciate the view over a hedge). It cost 245 Euros per night, room only, with breakfast on offer at 21 Euros or 8 Euros for a "quick" breakfast, so the Priory is certainly not cheap. And that is really its problem: balancing its price with what it actually delivers. In the decade and a half I have been going it has done little to update or improve its facilities and decor. Yes, part of the charm is the old-school French design ot Toile De Jouy fabric-covered walls and heavy dark-wood furniture, but the bathrooms are very dated (and our drains smelled constantly for four days) and accessories like pictures and lamps now look more junk shop than antique shop. Plus points were supremely comfortable beds, good hot water pressure and free wifi, all important stuff, but whereas a hotel like Les Crayeres in Reims is exquisite and traditional, Le Prieure now looks a little tired and scruffy in places. Another gripe is with the bar and restaurant. Prices are extremely high for what is on offer. A beer was 7 Euros, a 125ml glass of wine in the bar was a) poor quality and b) served in a horrible little old fashioned glass, and c) 6 Euros. Dinner menus are 35 Euros, 62 Euros and 72 Euros per person. We ate the top two menus plus a la carte over three nights, and whilst the food was good - some of it very good - it was not really of the haute-cuisine standard to merit these prices. The furniture in the bar/lounge is also looking a bit old and shabby now. The grounds of the hotel are a big let-down: as others have noted, the flower beds immediately around the hotel entrance are lovely, but elsewhere in the extensive woodland and park setting the grounds are weedy and poorly maintained and areas like the grass around the swimming pool, little mini-golf course and tennis court all unkempt. Staff vary from very polite and welcoming, to off-hand. This is a hotel that sees a lot of functions, weddings and touring parties as well as individual guests, and like all such hotels it is easy for the management and staff to see you as a number passing through - which at 245 Euros per night room only is not how one wants to be greeted and treated. I realise this review is mostly negative, and yet we left thinking that some time in the future we would *probably* be back. The place is overpriced and the product is good but could be a lot better, but when the sun shines and you sit on the terrace or in the restaurant overlooking that view, it really is magical. Whether you will find that enough to compensate for the Prieure's shortcomings is another matter. It is a pity, because this could be one of the best hotels in France if the owners and managers cared a little more and spent some money updating sympathetically and sorting out some fundamental problems.
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- Also Known As:
- Le Prieure Hotel Chenehutte-Treves-Cunault
- Le Prieure France/Maine Et Loire