Escape the London bubble and check into Champagne’s first proper – not to mention long-overdue – five-star hotel
If your idea of heaven is sipping your morning coffee overlooking rows of Moët & Chandon vines, you’ll want to know that the painstakingly created Royal Champagne Hotel, between Reims and Epernay, is now open.
Those who have made the pilgrimage to the land of the fizz will recall that accommodation is at best patchy; and often, ahem, rustic.
Which is why the new five-star hotel and spa is a genuine boon for the Champagne region. It’s proper luxxy. The concierge here can get you direct access to scores of champagne houses. An infinity pool looks lovingly across the nearby stretch of Moët vines. An indoor pool leads the way to a high-end spa where Biologique Recherche treatment is offered – more unctions and potions and face-lifting wonder creams than you can shake a stick at. The rooms are a glorious retreat, complete with calming interiors and lazy views out over the wineries and the UNESCO World Heritage Site that surround it.
Oddly, the spa’s plinky plonky treatment-room music seems to be piped into public areas, too. But no matter – the stunning champagne bubble-themed décor and extraordinary food and wine served in both the fine dining gastro restaurant and the bistro make up for any minor flaws.
As you’d expect, there’s champagne of every hue, as well as an array of non-fizzing wine. The view from the restaurants and terrace is timeless; a kestrel hangs on piano wire above the vines; an occasional tractor burps its way across the distance as workers tend the precious grapes.
Napoleon reputedly once stayed in this former post house, and while he probably didn’t indulge in a spa, he probably did indulge in champagne. Very sensible. This is a destination hotel indeed.