Hotel Highlights

  • Affordable chic
  • Family-run hospitality
  • Innovative menu in a fabulous dining room

Overview

Basking in the Dordogne Valley, hotel Château les Merles is a neoclassical country estate revived with with high-style Philippe Starck furnishings and sleek modern finishes. After dining on delicious Perigordine cuisine, take a moonlit turn around the groomed grounds with top-notch vineyards, inviting pool, tennis courts and golf course of this 17th century manor .

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Château les Merles with us:

A free glass of champagne, a selection of regional amuses bouches and a bottle of wine from the vineyards of Château les Merles

Facilities

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Château les Merles Hotel – Dordogne – France

Need To Know

Rooms

15, including two suites and one apartment.

Check–out

11am, but late check-out is sometimes available. Earliest check-in, 4pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $131.89 (€95), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €1.00 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (€15 for adults; €6.50 for under-12s; free for under-6s).

Also

The château has a tennis court and a narrow and challenging nine-hole golf course (you can borrow clubs). Horse riding can be organised with the local stables.

At the hotel

Treatment rooms, swimming pool, restaurants, bar, tennis court, nine-hole golf course, bicycle hire, playground, gardens, DVD library, free WiFi throughout.

Our favourite rooms

Suite 7 is spacious and has a fine view over the Dordogne valley. Suite 8 has high ceilings, classical styling and views over the swimming pool and golf course.

Poolside

Outdoor pool, sunbathing patio with sleek black parasols open 9am–8pm.

Also

The apartment must be booked for a minimum of three nights. Dogs are welcome, for €15 a night.

Children

Warmly welcomed. Pre-booked day-care facilities are available. An extra bed is €20 a night for under-13s, otherwise €40 a night, .

Pet‐friendly

Pets are welcome, for €20 a night.

Weddings

This property is suitable for weddings

More details

Food & Drink

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Neri Hotel – Barcelona - Spain

Hotel Restaurant

La Bruyère Blanche at Château les Merles serves excellent New Périgordine cuisine, with a strong emphasis on fresh and seasonal local ingredients. The château sources all its wines locally in the Bergerac region.

Hotel Bar

The Bistrot is an informal lounge bar with a menu of tasty and unfussy dishes. You can try wines from the château’s own vineyards, as well as a large selection of renowned local wines.

Last orders

Drinks are served in the Bistrot until midnight; food is available all day, with lunch and dinner menus served 12 noon to 2.30pm and 6.30pm (7pm in winter) to 10pm respectively. At La Bruyère Blanc, last orders for lunch is 1.30pm, and 9.30pm for dinner.

Room service

Breakfast is available between 8.30am and 10am. An imaginative ‘world food’ menu is available between 10.30am and 7pm.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Country chic: informal with a splash of style.

Top table

Out in the courtyard on a summer’s evening.

Local Guide

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Château les Merles Hotel – Dordogne – France
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

L’Imparfait on Rue des Fontaines in Bergerac (+33 (0)5 53 57 47 92) serves a short, seasonal menu, which changes every day according to what’s good and fresh at the market that morning. L’Enfance de Lard on Place Pélissière in Bergerac (+33 (0)5 53 57 52 88; closed on Tuesdays) serves well-prepared meat dishes. Its open fire creates a cosy atmosphere in the cooler months. In St-Émilion, Le Clos du Roy on Rue de la Petite-Fontaine (+33 (0)5 57 74 41 55; closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) has inventive fish and seafood dishes, and a bulky wine list.

Local bars

The vine-shaded tables at Le Treille on Quai Salvette in Bergerac overlook the Dordogne and are a pleasant spot for a drink.

+ Enlarge
Bergerac's route des vins

Château les Merles

Tuilières, 24520, Mouleydier, Dordogne, France

Tuilières, on the banks of the Dordogne, is in rural surroundings near Mouleydier, east of Bergerac.

Planes

The nearest airport is Bergerac (www.bergerac.aeroport.fr), a 20-minute drive away, served by several budget carriers. Bordeaux airport (www.bordeaux.aeroport.fr/en) has a greater choice of international routes, as well as French connections, and is within a two-hour drive of the hotel.

Trains

The Bordeaux-Sarlat train line stops at Bergerac, a 20-minute drive from Château les Merles. From Paris, connect at Bordeaux; from Lyon and the east, change at Libourne (www.sncf.com).

Automobiles

A car offers the best way to explore this rural riverine region. South-westerly Tuilières is 600km from Paris; travel on autoroutes via Orléans (A10), the A71, A20 towards Limoges, then the N21 to Bergerac. The hotel is close to the N21, which runs through Bergerac, and between the A20 and A62. From Bergerac, take the D660 east. Car hire is available from Bergerac train station and all regional airports. Driving to Bordeaux will take an hour and 45 minutes; the natural park of Landes de Gascogne is two hours away; and Toulouse is just over three hours. There’s parking at the hotel.

Reviews

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Château les Merles Hotel – Dordogne – France

Anonymous review

by Susie Boyt , Shopping scribe

We’re definitely coming back,’ I said to Mr Smith as we parked the hire car and walked, just after midnight, into the white, pebbled, candlelit courtyard of Château les Merles. A long table of late diners were finishing off their puddings underneath the stars. ‘Hang on – we haven’t even checked in yet,’ he pointed out, as we sat down in a pair of white-...

Read more

Château les Merles

Anonymous review by Susie Boyt, Shopping scribe

We’re definitely coming back,’ I said to Mr Smith as we parked the hire car and walked, just after midnight, into the white, pebbled, candlelit courtyard of Château les Merles. A long table of late diners were finishing off their puddings underneath the stars. ‘Hang on – we haven’t even checked in yet,’ he pointed out, as we sat down in a pair of white-upholstered Philippe Starck chairs and were immediately brought welcoming glasses of champagne and a plate of canapés. (These included specialities of the Dordogne region: we pounced on foie gras, tomato tartlets and some deliciously crisp radishes and endive.) Within seconds, the cares of the day, the plane delays and the car-hire queue were distant memories.

The air, which was scented with the lavender and thyme that border the courtyard, further aided our relaxation. The 17th-century château was breathtaking in the crescent moonlight. After checking in, without actually having to get up from our table, we were shown to our suite. It was decorated in a style I am christening ‘convent de luxe’: dark wood, antiques, lots of white upholstery, crisp snowy linens and huge windows everywhere. ‘Who’s hidden the nuns?’ I asked. But any concealed nuns were sybarites, too: black satin slippers lay next to our bed in special boxes, and a silver bowl of berries from the château’s organic garden was waiting for us. There were two parallel white sofas in the little sitting room, and a dark-velvet chaise longue for stretching out and reading and chatting on, side by side. In the gleaming black and white bathroom we found a similar blend of monochrome luxury and simplicity.

Even if our beds were of that silly Siamese-twin configuration (locked together but made up separately), it wasn’t the end of the world, as they were extremely comfortable and welcoming, and we couldn’t have had a more delightful awakening in the morning. Manic birdsong roused us and I pulled back the shutters to reveal the hotel’s swimming pool sitting picturesquely in the lush gardens. Fear of missing breakfast (as well as general lethargy) prevented us from taking a quick dip there and then and, instead, we returned to the courtyard restaurant to sample the château’s morning delights.

A table inside was spread with organic garden fruits, home-made bread, viennoiserie, a variety of cheeses and hams and other local delectables. I’ve never eaten a dish of freshly picked blackcurrants for breakfast before but I can recommend it. We sat for ages eking out the meal with supplementary cappuccinos and extra croissants, basking in our new setting. As we sat, we observed a few other guests in tailored shorts lugging huge golf caddies across the courtyard on their way to the morning’s round, and felt intense relief that we had no such taxing agenda ahead of us.

As breakfast drew to a close, our thoughts turned naturally to lunch, so we got into the car and drove to the local town of Bergerac, about ten minutes away. We wandered round the narrow streets of the old town, buying hats, looking at antiques and hunting slightly obsessively for some pink and gold dessert plates while dodging statues of Cyrano, the town’s most famous romantic hero and, along with goose liver, the region’s most celebrated export.

Lunch, at the hotel’s recommendation, was at the excellent (and modestly named) L’Imparfait in a quiet back street, where we feasted in a shady courtyard on sea bream and lamb shanks. They were both exceptional. After some light shopping (more local wine, foie gras, some candlesticks), we made our way back to the hotel and stretched out on the sunloungers, coming to every now and then to summon some drinks via the phone, which was conveniently situated right by the pool.

I couldn’t imagine any possible improvement on the scene, but Mr Smith, post-swim, was nursing a very understandable complaint. He wistfully mentioned to staff that he was going to miss an important football game. A huge projector screen was instantly rigged up in an empty upstairs ballroom, and cold beers (and kir royales for me) were delivered to us throughout the match. So much more civilised than our local, we observed, looking up at the chandeliers.

Evening came, and all the corridors became crowded with small girls in tutus. The local ballet academy, it transpired, was putting on its end-of-term gala at the hotel. We watched from a nearby bench, drinks in hands, as the tinies performed before us, overseen by their stern Mamzelle in black leggings. Then we dined in the courtyard restaurant where a special buffet had been prepared. The local wine and produce were just delicious, and I felt so happy I genuinely contemplated joining the dancers for their Swan Lake finale. Mr Smith, however, kept a firm hold of my elbow, distracting me with spoonfuls of chocolate mousse and raspberry sorbet, until the dangerous moment had passed.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Château les Merles 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 14 Sep 2013

We loved

The very warm welcome and all aspects of service were excellent thoughout our short stay. Really nice restaurant. Location is extremely convenient for Bergerac Aiport, and as a base for day trips around the region.

Don’t expect

Only the weather could've been better!

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 20 Jul 2013

We loved

This is a perfect hotel for a relaxing break from the humdrum of life. There's a great pool and comfortable, relaxing sun beds. The simple but nice breakfast is complemented by excellent cuisine in the evening. The hotel has a nice ambience, relaxed, not taking itself too seriously. It's nice for families, too.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 10 May 2013

We loved

The hotel is beautiful and in a lovely setting. The staff were very helpful, too. The food at the hotel was of very good quality! Perfect mini break!

Don’t expect

Nothin.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 27 Sep 2012

We loved

The ambience, the room, the food. Our only regret is that we didn't stay longer.

Don’t expect

Nothing.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 2 Aug 2012

We loved

Initially, very friendly and warm welcome. Free champers and amuse bouches, then big room, classy features and large bathroom etc. Simply a great welcome, start and room. Then the gardens, pool, walk around area is very peaceful, prior to starting on a wonderful, top quality designed menu, sitting outside surrounded by candles, candles and more candles. Beautiful setting, great service, amazing food, perfect place to stay for 1, 2 or more nights. No stairs. Fantastic! Just loved it.

Don’t expect

Perhaps air-con could help or be needed, although we did have a portable fan.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 19 Jul 2012


As this was a brief overnight stay on the long journey between the Spanish border and London town we ate supper at the Chateau restaurant and were delighted to do so, an incredible meal of fresh fare in laid back lux surroundings. Breakfast must get a mention too, a farmhouse table of scrummy delights and the oh so helpful staff - on hearing we didn't want tea or coffee said with mock horror no coffee you must have some eggs then! And we did the most buttery silky scrambled offerings we'd ever tasted. Within minutes drive of this beautiful hotel though you can get lost in the stunning scenery rolling hills dotted in hay bales and scores upon scores of fields of sunflowers. Such a beautiful area to explore you can so quickly get off the beaten track and lose yourself in sun kissed fields though not before stopping at a village boulangerie for impromptu picnic treats.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 5 Jul 2012


This was the second time we have stayed at les Merles and we could not wait to get back to the familiar yellow stone chateau and welcoming staff. This time we hired a car which we would highly recommend. If you only want to do a little sightseeing like we did, more time for relaxing by the delighful pool, we recommend making the short drive to Monpazier and Issigeac. You will see some stunning countryside along the way with sunflowers bobbing their heads at you as you pass. If you’ve over done it on the scrumptious croque monsieur at the in-house bistro at les Merles then take a ten minute drive to Chateau de Lanquais where you can delve into the past of this fortress-cum-palace and walk it off in the grounds. Looking forward to next year already.

Rating: 8/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 11 Jun 2012


Excellent restaurant in a good location 10km from Bergerac. Make sure you go to

La Tour des Vents

, just 20 minutes away and has excellent views and a Michelin star.

Rating: 8/10 stars