The lowdown: Nestled down a country lane just minutes from Tourtour, a picture perfect provence town, is the former residence of French expressionist painter, Bernard Buffet. With a fleeting glance towards the ochre façade, accented by traditional sky blue shutters, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had arrived at a private residence more than several decades prior. Fast forward to present day and this hidden gem has been sympathetically evolved into a warm, luxurious and enchanting boutique hotel. The latest addition to the Sibuet family’s repertoir of beautiful and unique French hideaways, Domaine de le baume is set within 99 tranquil acres. While away the day via the rose gardens at the pool, walk around the beautifully manicured gardens, olive grove and orangery, or, explore the rustic area around the river before arriving at the idylic waterfall - where you can enjoy a massage. We’d defy anyone not to relax and fully unwind here, it’s absolute bliss.
The Rooms: There are 10 beautifully designed rooms, all referencing 18th Century style. Lithographs of Buffet’s paintings adorn the walls and each room has it’s own unique interior and colour, courtesy of the clever design eye of the hotel’s fabulous owner. If you’re feeling flush, don’t miss the show stoppping Annabel Suite. When we arrived the suite had just been booked by European royalty and you can’t help but see why, when you absorb the stunning views over provence from it’s private terrace.
Dining: With a Parisian chef, an olive grove, vineyard and even beehives onsite, it’s not surprising that the terrace resatuarant offers exceptional French cooking. All produce is sourced locally and the wine cellar stocks a complement of great wines. The freshly baked bread at breakfast is so good, it’s impossible to avoid (try it with the locally produced olive oil and there is no going back), while the chef’s signiture risotto is quite genuinely best in class.
What to do: Beyond exploring the beautiful and surprising 99 acres of French grounds and it’s dramatic views , on foot, or (if you’re feeling really lazy) the hotel’s golf buggy, massages are available in a treetop cabin - against the stunning backdrop of the waterfall. If you want to step it up, it is possible to book some yoga sessions in the garden, or, a local and very entertaining petanque player can come to the hotel’s green to show you how it’s done. Outside of the hotel , charming 12th century Toutour is deinfitely worth a visit, if nothing else to view Buffet’s beautiful bronzer sculptures, plus it boasts a medieval castle. If you wanted to venture a bit further you can get to up-and-coming Marseille or oh-so-chic Nice in just over an hour, or Avignon in forty minutes.
The details: Doubles from £380, including breakfast and dinner with wine, visit http://www.domaine-delabaume.com for details