Hotel Highlights

  • Dramatic decor: antiques and mid-century design classics
  • Gourmet food from a first-rate chef
  • Impeccable service

Overview

The Dordogne's Château La Thuilière hotel mixes a decadent concoction out of French grandeur and modern Spanish design amid the renowned wine region. At this cutting-edge castle with blood-red trim and a gothic back-story of an aristocrat’s lost love, the artful medley of stained-glass and Philippe Starck furniture sets a seductive scene.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Château La Thuilière with us:

A glass of champagne on arrival

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Château La Thuilière

'Great escape' Half-board

Facilities

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Château La Thuilière - Dordogne - France

Need To Know

Rooms

Five, including two suites.

Check–out

Midday; check-in from 4pm. The hotel owners request that guests let them know their estimated check-in time before arrival.

Rates

Double rooms from $188.33 (€136), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude buffet breakfast (€9.50 a person).

Also

Ask in advance and the owners will organise cookery classes, tours of nearby vineyards, bike rides and other local pursuits.

At the hotel

Gardens, library, billiard table and free broadband (in the hall). In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, Nespresso coffee machine, fresh flowers, free bottled water and Miller Harris bath products.

Our favourite rooms

The XL rooms are exactly that, with sweeping views of the park and grounds, and sleek ensuite bathrooms equipped with invigorating rain showers. Room 3 has a soothing neutral palette and a balcony; Room 9 is more romantic, coloured with soft honey hues.

Poolside

The hotel's unheated 36sq ft pool is near their winter garden, sunk into parkland, with a day-bed-strewn deck and serene green views.

Packing tips

Lace and silks for candlelit dinners in the restaurant; dog treats for Patch; slippers for fireside lounging.

Also

Four-legged friends can come too, for €20 a day including a bowl and blanket. (The owners’ spaniel, Patch, will keep them company and there's a large park for them to fetch sticks in.) Smokers can light up on the terraces.

Children

This hotel is better suited to couples - leave the children at home!

Food & Drink

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Château La Thuilière - Dordogne - France

Hotel Restaurant

Guests should let the château's gracious hosts know at least 24 hours in advance if they wish to dine at the restaurant on the first night of their stay. It's worth the trouble – a five-course tasting menu served in the dramatic dining room is €39 (excluding drinks) and includes dishes such as duck ravioli, marinated mackerel with exotic fruits, and eggs from the hotel’s hens, served on truffled potatoes. Breakfast is a generous spread of local produce, laid out on an old monastery table in the basement kitchen.

Hotel Bar

There’s a well-stocked honesty bar in the drawing room, formerly the dance parlour. Owner Jordi rustles up delicious G&Ts.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 9am until 10.30am, and dinner is at 8pm.

Room service

A menu of light snacks can be ordered to your door, including quiches, salads, cheese plates, Iberian ham and other snacks. In your room there's coffee and bottled water.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Stays here have an element of fantasy – model the bold colour, luxurious fabric, or seductive cut that you wouldn’t dare wear back home.

Top table

Meals are a sociable affair – guests are seated around a communal table.

Local Guide

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Château La Thuilière - Dordogne - France
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Sample foie gras, truffles, wine jelly and other gourmet fare at La Tour des Vents (+33 (0)5 53 58 30 10) at Moulin de Malfourat, Monbazillac. The restaurant is perched on a hill, with sweeping views of the Dordogne. Expect artistic creations and vibrant flavours from Restaurant l’Essentiel (+33 (0)5 53 35 15 15) at 8 rue de la clarté, Périgueux. There are a variety of tasting menus to choose from, ranging from €37 to €110. Restaurant Etincelles (+33 (0)5 53 74 08 79) at Le Bourg, Sainte Sabine Born, adds a sophisticated modern spin to traditional cuisine. Dishes include sturgeon with lentil and hemp crumble, Périgord lamb with fennel and cabbage, and asparagus shortbread with mango, strawberry and fruit coulis.

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Bordeaux winelands

Château La Thuilière

Château La Thuilière, 24400, Saint Front de Pradoux, Dordogne, France

Planes

Bergerac airport is 30km away, served by Ryanair (www.ryanair.com); Bordeaux is 100km, served by British Airways (www.britishairways.com) and Easyjet (www.easyjet.com).

Trains

Mussidan station is 5km away, with services connecting to Bordeaux (www.sncf.com).

Automobiles

It takes an hour to drive here from Bordeaux; there is plenty of free parking close to the château.

Reviews

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Château La Thuilière - Dordogne - France

Anonymous review

by Adam McDougall , Silver screen celabrater

We were wobbly with pleasure after 48 hours at Château La Thuilière. Slack-jawed and wobbly. Little tears, little soft tears of joy leaked out, as curly-mopped Patch the spaniel emerged onto the landing to bid us farewell in his own regal, poochy manner. Beautiful Eduard placed our receipt in a discreetly branded envelope of impeccable paper stock, along with two exquisite buttons ...

Read more

Château La Thuilière

Anonymous review by Adam McDougall , Silver screen celabrater

We were wobbly with pleasure after 48 hours at Château La Thuilière. Slack-jawed and wobbly. Little tears, little soft tears of joy leaked out, as curly-mopped Patch the spaniel emerged onto the landing to bid us farewell in his own regal, poochy manner. Beautiful Eduard placed our receipt in a discreetly branded envelope of impeccable paper stock, along with two exquisite buttons of semi-sweet chocolate. Warm, kind Eduard. Jordi, he informed us, passed on his best wishes, but had gone to the market in Mussidan to pick up the ingredients of that evening’s five courser. Of course Jordi had. Lovely, twinkly Jordi, whose garden pea cappuccino with goats’ cheese foam had induced uncontrollable, goofy sighs of delight. It’s fair to say we were a little emotional as we left. No, not that kind of ‘emotional’ – not that. Although our honesty bar bill revealed that we had indeed been very, very honest over the course of our stay. No, it wasn’t that. We were just extremely relaxed. And now perhaps a little distraught. Now in the car, holding hands in silence, each of us staring ahead, slowly sucking our complimentary chocolates in silent, mournful dissolve.

‘You are two people? You have little luggage? You would like a... fun car?’ said the hire clerk at the airport, with a little wink and an arch of the eyebrow. Filthy. Course we did. As we fun-carred through the gates in our convertible, the sight of Château La Thuilière brought us to a halt. A long, white gravel driveway snaked under huge pines, past a sunken swimming pool and an ancient glasshouse full of tomato plants. At the summit of the gently sloping parkland approach stood the Château itself, a grand 19th-century objet d’amour over four stories, built as a wedding gift by a local marquis for his beloved. In the cool, dark wood-panelled reception hall, Jordi, Eduard and Patch greeted us from behind a beautiful old antique bureau. Patch and Eduard gave us a tour of the ground floor: the elegant billiard room; the tapis-walled dining room with its magnificent, long communal dining table; the lounge and music room, piled high with books on design, art and our hosts’ homeland of Catalonia. The local legend of Saint Front – a daring apostle who, legend has it, killed the pesky village dragon – had certainly inspired the marquis. Eduard pointed out dragons carved into various panels and on the ends of the bannister. The old boy had also commissioned a suitably fabulous stained-glass portrait of himself back in the day, done up in full knight’s armour, the cheeky devil.

With the shutters and windows open in our large, airy suite, voices drifted up from the balcony below – guests returned from the pool, freshening up for dinner. Another two guests had plonked themselves in hammocks, highballs poking out above the canvas. Strutting out from beneath them came Frank, a gallus, flamboyantly trousered cockerel, performing his daily pre-prandial inspection. Eduard came over to smile at us (and possibly just at life itself), before softly reading that evening’s menu.

Oh, there was a rich potatoey parmentier with a soft-poached golden yolk (apparently delivered by one of Frank’s concubines earlier that morning); an insanely succulent, singsonging piece of red-peppercorn-infused cod, cooked sous vide (posh boil-in-the-bag). There was a splendid bottle of something from nearby Bergerac to accompany. Jordi appeared at our table in his immaculate chef’s whites, suddenly, wide-eyed and Wonka-like, to gleefully introduce that evening’s cheeses, the names of the local producers and a few tasting tips. There was dessert, and that was, well, whatever – by that point we had melted into our blankets in a kind of blissful fugue state. Torches and candles had been lit around us and coffee and digestifs would shortly be served in the lounge.

Dinner is normally served at the communal dining room table but, for the two nights we were there, was served at separate tables in the garden. Yet there was ample opportunity to get to know our fellow guests, each night after dinner, as we sprawled across beautifully curated pieces of furniture, replete and knowing. In the course of our stay we got to know, among others, a German architect, a Brazilian food scientist, an English antique collector and a Belgian philosophy professor. Clever old us. That said, both days, apart from during cocktail hour, after dinner, or at the communal breakfast table, we really didn’t see much of anyone. With just seven rooms and such brilliantly discreet – but completely attentive – service, you feel as though you’ve been invited to stay at the home of a wonderfully sophisticated, thoughtful and generous friend.

We made a couple of modest excursions, purely out of a sense of duty. We walked from the Château grounds through fields of sunflowers to a nearby ninth-century church, the key to which Jordi kept in a secret drawer. We drove into town and popped into Super U – who can resist a French supermarket? We bought flan and carottes râpées and pastis and tins of French diluting juice. There were speakers in the car park trolley bays. Speakers, blaring out funk. So we danced.

Back at the gaff, it was time for Tanqueray. And Frank. And Patch. And Eduard with the menu. And Armagnac and cigarettes and music and chat and bed again. And after an, er, light breakfast of coffee, croissants, organic yoghurt with homemade apricot compote, local cheeses and saucisson, home-baked bread and white chocolate cake, it was time to say goodbye.

And we sat in our fun car for a long time under the trees, holding hands. Devising a wedding. And a car park reception.
 

The Guestbook

Reviews of Château La Thuilière from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on 21 Aug 2013

We loved

We came here as part of our honeymoon and really wish we could have stayed for longer. On arrival we were told our room had been an upgraded to XL suite which was a lovely surprise. The two hosts, Jordie and Eduoard (as well as their beautiful dog!) were so welcoming and helpful throughout our stay. Prior to arriving Eduoard helped organise a kayaking trip in Brantome (well worth it if you're feeling particularly active). The house has been stylishly renovated and the grounds really are spectacular. Make sure you leave enough time to make use of the small pool. The hosts go to a lot of effort to ensure that it feels like home. In the evenings we relaxed in the grand rooms making use of the extensive honesty bar and took drinks outside overlooking the wonderful grounds. We had dinner in the grounds of the Chateau both nights cooked by Jordie himself. The five-course dinner is different every night of the week and Jordie takes real pride in explaining where the ingredients are sourced locally from. We still can't believe that a simple carrot veloute topped with a scallop could be delicious! All in all, if you're looking to get away, relax and enjoy a slice of luxury at a very reasonable price then look no further.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 5 Aug 2013

We loved

My boyfriend and I enjoyed some proper time out at this gorgeous chateau near Bergerac. The owners are lovely and nothing is too much trouble for them. The chateau has six or seven guestrooms, so it is very peaceful and guests are encouraged to treat the place like home. There aren't staff milling around intrusively, so you can do your own thing without being disturbed… If you do require any help, though, there's a bell and someone will be over to help within minutes. We liked the well-stocked honesty bar and the beautiful furnishings; the character of the chateau has not been lost, only enhanced, with gorgeous, rich (and fairly masculine) decor. Dinner is a slow and delicious affair, with the option of al fresco dining on the lawn or around the grand 20-seat communal dining table if the weather turns. There is one evening menu of five courses, costing €39 a head, and all the food is sourced locally and prepared magnificently. I am still dreaming of a very simple starter dish of tomatoes with roasted pistachios and goat's cheese foam – incredible! There is a small pool to relax by (or in) and free bikes for guests to use to explore the local area. The chateau is in a great location to visit many of the attractions in the Dordogne and I would definitely recommend hiring a car, so you can get out and about as there's so much to see, but also because the nearest shops are a bit of a trek by foot. We visited Bergerac twice in our four-day stay as it was so lovely and I would encourage anyone to head over there if they have the time.

Don’t expect

We could find very little to fault with Chateau La Thulliere, apart on our last night when there was quite a nosiy family staying. Our room (M) was above the billiard room, next to the stairs to the second floor – the sound of the music and billiard balls being hit was very clear, coupled with people going up and down the stairs, which made it difficult to get to sleep. I don't think many families generally stay over, though, so this may have been an isolated incident. Other than that, everything was perfect!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 13 Sep 2012

We loved

I loved this hotel and would definitely go back. The interior was of a high standard, stylish and with attention to detail. The owners were very welcoming. An old and quirky property with a twist of modern. Can't imagine anyone would be disappointed.

Rating: 9/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on 23 Jul 2012

We loved

Our stay at Chateau La Thuiliere was like coming home. We were never asked to formally check in. We were never asked for our names. The owners, Jordie and Eduard, simply knew who we were, welcomed us like long lost friends and talked to us like we have had known each other for years. They are both expert hosts and know how to make all the guests feel truly special and at ease. The rooms are masculine, yet romantic and the modern furnishings blend seamlessly with the chateau's original features. We have stayed in both rooms #1 and #9. Although you would be perfectly comfortable staying in your room all day, there are plenty of other common areas to explore. There's a games room with original (and cool on a hot day) floor tiles and a music room or lounge where you can sip a GT from the honor bar while reading one of the many books found throughout the chateau. The genuine, relaxed and very personal atmosphere of La Thuiliere makes it perfectly acceptable to walk around barefoot in cargo-pants or with shoes and a dinner jacket whatever works for you. There are plenty of things to do and see in the area (antiquing, wine tasting, canoeing, etc), but after a couple of days we just decided to spend our days unwinding and unplugging by the pool or in the gardens. There was simply no need to leave the chateau. Our standing 8 pm dinner reservation was itself something to look forward to. We were seated outside in the gardens under fabric canopies and soft lighting where we were served top of the line food and wine. There were no menus to choose from, no decisions to make. Simply lean back and enjoy the dishes that were made from locally sourced and fresh ingredients by expert hands. The fact that chickens as well as Patch, the resident dog, were walking around on the grounds among the diners gave the whole experience a romantic and relaxed feel. Absolutely wonderful! The owners, Jordie and Eduard, set a new standard in customer service, but it doesn't stop with them. Their entire staff excel at attentiveness and are truly happy to have you there with them. We are already planning our return trip.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 12 Jul 2012


This place is a gem and the two men of the house, Jordy and Edouardo, absolutely make it what it is. I thought I'd find the dark interiors too subdued but somehow with their eclectic approach it all works. Dinner was OK but we did arrive late so possibly just too much cheese too late in the day. Communal breakfast table and the feast therein was gorgeous, as was Jordy's enthusiasm for looking after his guests. The jambon was amazing. We were upgraded to the XL room with the balcony overlooking their truly special vista of land. These were the only rainy days of our sun-drenched holiday but it could not have been more perfectly timed in this cosy and romantic chateau. The walk to the 10th-century church was lovely, as is the story of how the chateau came to be true love.

Rating: 8/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 9 Jun 2012


Lovely service and food. Bit of a quiet area with Bergerac 30 minutes away so be aware if you go at the weekends, as nothing will be open. Take Mosquito repellent as the place is next to a forest. Overall an excellent couple of nights. They have a Gin menu with three brands of Tonic.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 2 Jun 2012


What an amazing place! Stunning design, an incredible atmosphere and from the moment we turned up we felt at home – very romantic and worth dressing up for. We weren’t sure about the communal dining set up initially, but we ended up loving it. It was the highlight of our stay – great fun, amazing food and wine and we made some new friends. Jordi and Eduard were perfect hosts and helped to make the night go with a bang. If you’re staying here, it’s worth making a trip into Bergerac; a lovely old town with loads of character. L'Imparfait (www.imparfait.com) is a good choice for lunch or dinner – traditional regional fare and a nice atmosphere. For dessert, a shop in the old square sells the most amazing selection of homemade ice cream. This is definitely a place we will return to.

Rating: 8/10 stars