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Le Barn Hotel

Bonnelles, France

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PROPERTY FEATURES

The Premises 

Less than an hour from Paris, country retreat Le Barn is the stuff of urbanites’ dreams, bringing considered design to the Rambouillet forest. The sprawling estate borrows the generous proportions and unpretentious atmosphere of a Midwestern ranch, and its inch-perfect interiors – the work of Parisian design studio Be-Poles – have more than a touch of the Shakers about them. The food, on the other hand, is every inch a French affair. Dishes in restaurant La Serre are a masterclass in Gallic country cuisine, served in a sun-soaked greenhouse. Beyond the glass, the oak- and elm-studded grounds are covetable for their looks alone, but they’re also home to first-rate stables, a Scandinavian spa, biking trails, a lake and more. Dabble in a little or come for the lot; this is the countryside at its most accommodating.

Le Barn Hotel

le Moulin de Bretigny Bonnelles, 78830France

SMITH EXTRA

Compliments of the House 

A regional speciality, such as locally made jam or paté

At the Hotel 

CHECK-OUT: Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Rates include a buffet breakfast of pastries, rustic bread, farm-fresh eggs, just-squeezed juices and more.

FACILITIES

Vast grounds with walking trails, stables, a pond and a volleyball court; spa with a hammam, sauna and nordic hot tubs; projection room; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV; minibar stocked with local products; tea- and coffee-making kit; and eucalyptus-based bath products made specially for the hotel.

PACKING TIPS

It really depends on how much you plan to do. Some come to kick back and enjoy the fresh air from the comfort of the Scandinavian hot tubs, others go all out with horse riding, biking, running and fishing. If you’re into golf, don’t forget your clubs – there’s an excellent course nearby.

ECO-FRIENDLY

The hotel recycles waste and water, and composts anything organic from the kitchens. The ingredients used in the restaurant are either grown on their own farm or sourced from local producers and markets.

SPA

Le Barn has a sauna, hammam, Scandi-style hot tubs and a treatment room staffed by an ayurvedic masseur (who’s there every day) and an osteopath (who comes twice a week). Between them, they’re able to provide everything from muscle-soothing sessions to a tailored program for chronic aches and pains. Yoga classes are run seasonally and on request.

POOL

There’s no pool, but you can take a dip in the wood-fired Nordic hot tubs instead: they’re outside, surrounded by decking and separated by neatly planted borders.

ALSO

All public areas are wheelchair accessible, and there are several specially adapted rooms.
Next to the bar and restaurant you'll find l’Atelier, where cooking and cocktail-making classes are held. You can also accompany the chef as he collects the day’s produce at the farm, picking your own fruit and vegetables.

Rooms 

It might be the most expensive of the lot, but the 55sq m Le Barn Suite is well worth its price tag. Beautifully furnished by Parisian design studio Be-Poles, it has a large living room, a kitchen, a cosy bedroom and a spacious private terrace with a barbecue.

Food & Drink 

Unforgettable Features 

La Serre (meaning greenhouse) is Le Barn’s gourmet restaurant. The space is split in two, with the main room leading to a second space encased entirely in glass, bathing every corner with daylight. Simple wooden furnishings lend an organic edge, and potted plants are scattered across the floor, shelves and window sills, echoing the verdant landscape outside. The look is entirely fitting, as chef Marc Pagel is devoted to the land, doing all his cooking with produce that’s either grown onsite or sourced from nearby farms and markets. The menus are seasonal and ever changing as a result, but you can expect rustic staples like chicken casseroles, Gravlax salmon and veal blanquette. Thin-base pizzas are fired in the restaurant's wood-burning oven, which was made bespoke.

Liquid Bliss 

The bar stays in the organic vein with plenty of wood, potted plants and a vast Indochinese-style painting depicting a leafy and exotic vista. Comfy armchairs and sofas are arranged around the edge of the room, leaving space for the centrepiece: a tall, custom-made stove clad in cream tiles. The bar’s part of the lobby, so you couldn't hope for a warmer welcome when checking in on a cold winter’s morning.

Experience the Extraordinary 

Le Barn’s location is its trump card – under an hour from the centre of Paris, yet worlds apart in character. On the hotel’s leafy grounds, you can play pétanque, badminton and croquet. Put the spring back into your step with a limbering yoga class, or swing into the saddle of one the hotel’s trusty steeds. The surrounding forest is criss-crossed with walking, running and biking trails, and the valley is traversed by the scenic cycle route that runs from the centre of Paris all the way to Mont St Michel on the coast. Then again, the hotel’s just as suited to doing very little at all: weary city dwellers looking to slow things down will relish soaking in the open-air hot tubs, boating on the pond and wandering in the woods. If you’re serious about improving your riding, arrange a session at Haras de la Cense, the natural horsemanship centre that backs onto the estate. Founder and entrepreneur William Kriegel (who’s also one of the partners behind Le Barn) developed his own technique, the La Cense Method, which focuses on nurturing the bond between horse and rider. The hotel’s other neighbour is the Château de Rochefort golf course, an 18-hole wooded course that’s open all year-round. If you’ve never seen the Sun King’s palace, now’s as good a chance as any – Versailles is only 45 minutes away by car.

Transportation 

Le Barn is in the commune of Bonnelles, about 45km south of Paris.

Planes 

Paris Orly is the closest of the capital’s airports, just 35 minutes’ drive away. You can fly directly from London Heathrow, Manchester and Birmingham airports. If you’re coming from elsewhere, you’ll probably touch down at Paris Charles de Gaulles; from there, it’s around an hour’s drive to the hotel.

Trains 

Catch the Eurostar from St Pancras International to Paris Gare Du Nord, then hop onto Metro line 4 (the blue one) to Montparnasse-Bienvenue, where you can take regional services to Rambouillet. From there, it’s a short cab ride to the hotel.

Automobiles 

If you don’t mind driving yourself, a car will come in handy:there’s plenty to see in the surrounding countryside and public transport’s thin on the ground. The Smith24 team can arrange your hire, and there’s free valet parking at the hotel, too.

Location

le Moulin de Bretigny Bonnelles, 78830France

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