Loire Valley Hotels
Route de Chançay
Tel: 33 2 47 52 11 01
Yet another of the Loire's four-star châteaux with a revered restaurant, this handsome early 16th-century building has steep slate roofs, a balustraded double flight of entry stairs, and oeil-de-boeuf windows. Inside, the succession of fine, beamed public rooms are attractively furnished in homage to Louis XVI. Each of the ten bedrooms up the imposing oak staircase (there's no elevator) has its own decor and character: One is full of floral-print bedding and curtains and a black marble fireplace; another has blood-red walls and a huge wooden canopy bed. There are also five rooms in the adjacent 19th-century Clock House. Most accommodations overlook the château's 15 acres of formally landscaped gardens, which hide a decent-size swimming pool.
Closed mid-January through mid-March.
Tel: 33 2 47 55 50 11
A country retreat hidden in the woods a few miles northwest of Tours, the historic manor of the Lords of Beauvois spans the 15th to 17th centuries in its architecture. Bedrooms come in two distinct styles and moods, so you can choose between Louis XIII baronial in the circular tower and older wing (massive chestnut beams, stone fireplaces, and heraldic upholstery) and the bright Louis XVstyle rooms in the newer wing (large windows and flamboyant fabrics, some rooms with canopied beds). Service is superb and there's an excellent restaurant, serving cutting-edge cuisine in an ornate old-world setting. In addition, the hotel can organize wine tastings on the spot in cellars that extend deep into the bedrock. The other big plus here is the grounds: Beyond the decorative formal garden on the terrace, the swimming pool, the tennis court, and a fishing lake around which Louis XIII is said to have gone hunting, there are 345 acres of private woodland traversed by footpaths and cycle tracks (bikes are available to borrow).
Route de Herbault
Tel: 33 2 54 20 72 57
A publishing magnate with aristocratic pretensions built this ivy-covered faux château in 1860. The estate covers 173 acres of woodland and includes two swan-filled ponds (one for fishing, the other just for looks). There are also 19th-century greenhouses, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and flower gardens. Not all the 25 guest rooms and 11 apartments (by far the best accommodations available) are in the main house, and the carriage house has been carefully designed to reflect vernacular styles. Most accommodations are spacious and strike the right balance of antique and modern: It's not unusual to find a room with arcs of rough wooden beams and fat antique chests of drawers set off by a flat-screen TV and walls of glass overlooking the gardens. A treat to stay at and impeccably run, this is also the perfect base from which to visit Château de Chambord (François I's 440-room pleasure palace) or Chaumont-sur-Loire, just across the river. The Michelin-starred restaurant serves seasonal fare in three dining rooms.
2 Rue Traversière
Tel: 33 2 47 05 37 37
This converted 19th-century townhouse offers exceptional service and midsize, light-filled rooms mixing traditional furnishings (big, old mirrored armoires and ladder-back chairs) with bland functional pieces and halogen lamps. Accommodations tend toward Laura Ashley due to the flowery curtains, bedspreads, and carpeting in rich primaries. It's located in the city center, about a seven-minute walk from the train station and a short hike from the Loire. The prices are excellent and the included buffet breakfast is stupendous.
9 Quai de la Loire
Tel: 33 2 41 50 18 21
Situated in a pretty riverside village between Chinon and Saumur, this boho boutique hotel looks as if it's straight out of an interior design magazine. The 11 suites and bedrooms, each different, have been lovingly decorated by the owner, with whitewashed beams, lots of pearl grays and soft beiges, and nautical touches that recall the village's past as a navigation stop on the Loire River. The best rooms are Les Grandes Sablées, with its pebble lamps and river view; Jardin Secret, with its private terrace; or Sous la Lune, a starry attic suite. Rooms come with flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi, and amenities include an indoor heated pool, spa treatments, and personal trainer on site. Montsoreau's château and monthly flea market are just outside town. Renting bikes and packing a picnic is a great way to explore the area.
34 Quai Charles Guinot
Tel: 33 2 47 30 40 40
If you're looking to combine secluded luxury and a taste of French small-town life, this elegant 18th-century manor house near the royal château of Amboise is a good option. Beautifully refurbished about a decade ago with parquet floors, antique furniture, and toile de Jouy fabrics, the salons and 15 spacious, well-equipped bedrooms have the aura of a private home. Drinks are served on the terrace in the big, walled garden. There's no restaurant, but there are plenty of places to eat in town.
86 Quai de la Loire
Tel: 33 2 47 52 88 88
Five miles east of Tours, this elegant, 18th-century, white-stone mansion sits on the banks of the Loire. It was built on the site of an ancient monasterythough we doubt the monks enjoyed an outdoor swimming pool. What gives this hotel its real appeal are its 12 troglodyte guest rooms. Hewn from the cliff face, shimmering white rock still forms the ceilings, but the rooms feel anything but cavelike with contemporary wallpaper and clean-lined furniture lending a comfy, modern feel. One room has prints of Asian characters on the walls and bedding, while another has a motif of bold red tulips. The hotel's restaurant has a tree-shaded terrace and, as you might expect, serves traditional French cuisine and local wine.
Closed late January to late March.