La Bonne Etape
What We Love
- A lush Provence oasis with Michelin-starred dining – includes suite and dinner optionsThe ravishing setting in the Provençal town of Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban
- Savoring impossibly delicious food in the restaurant – Michelin-starred since 1964
- Relaxing on a sun lounger by the outdoor pool when the weather’s nice
What To Know
- Sign up for a cooking class where the chef/owner will give you a tour of the 600-bottle wine cellar and the garden where the produce is sourced
- The house is a charmer from the 18th century
- Reserve a table at the Michelin-starred restaurant for dinner, and don't miss the more casual bistro for lunch
There’s nowhere quite like Provence for a heady dose of olive trees, lavender fields, vineyards, postcard-pretty villages, iconic landscapes and unforgettable sunsets. So it’s no surprise, then, that La Bonne Etape, a Relais & Châteaux charmer in Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban, is such a crowd-pleaser. Even A-listers agree (George Clooney raved about this “oasis” after staying here in 2011).
Owned by the Gleize family for generations, this former 18th-century post house screams luxury. Its 18 guest rooms and suites boast French design flourishes, sophisticated colors, rich fabrics and museum-worthy antique furniture. There’s a Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurant, as well as a lower-key bistro, both of which come with a sommelier to propose perfect food pairings. Elsewhere, you’ll find a supersized kitchen garden for home-grown produce, a 600-strong wine cellar, a lovely outdoor pool, and cooking classes, where you can learn some of chef-owner Jany Gleize’s tricks and techniques.
How to Get There
Easy to find. Clean and comfortable. Enthusiastic receptionist who was very helpful. The rooms at the front share a terrace, and there is screening so that each room has its own private part of the terrace. The terrace overlooks a road and as there is no air conditioning, and it can be noisy when the windows are open. The food is very good, with an excellent choice, either a la carte or a choice of several menus.
We visited when cycling on the Loire a velo. We hadn’t realised that on Mondays the restaurant was closed but the hostess helped us find a restaurant in Amboise and made sure we got there too. Really nice and way beyond what she needed to do to help. Really nice.
The location is just done the street from downtown Amboise, the Chateau and very quiet, even though it's on the main road. Slept very well with the windows open, beds were comfortable. Room size was standard French size room, but this one had a balcony to go out onto, so it was like an extension of the room. Bathroom, as well as the bedroom, was very clean. Shower could be a bit of a challenge for tall people. The shower ceiling is sloped due to the pitch of the roof. For smaller people like myself and my father, 5' 5" it wasn't a major problem. Breakfast was a big spread and was your standard buffet with breads, fruit, cheese, meats, coffee, juices, etc. Property is unique and with a little landscaping could be incredible. Felt we got a good value and would stay here again.
My friends and I had booked rooms in advance -- but when we arrived, we walked up the flight of stairs from the parking lot to the building, and had to knock on the door for some time before anyone came to the door. We found out that the restaurant was closed for 4 days that weekend (not sure if the owners were away) and it seemed that only a skeleton staff was on site. One of them did help us with the bags from the reception area up the next flight of stairs to the rooms, which were fairly basic but comfortable.
The young man at the reception counter was very helpful in recommending a place for dinner -- which turned out to be excellent. But when we drove back to the hotel after dinner there were no lights in the parking lot or on the building, so we had to use the lights from our cellphones to navigate the stairs up to the building, through the small lobby, and up the stairs to the rooms. There was no staff anywhere to be seen. Very disconcerting.
Breakfast the next morning was lavish -- we were the only people in the room, but apparently there had been a few more guests who left before we came down. The young man suggested we bring the car up to the front of the hotel at the road, and helped us with our bags.
Two nights here, 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts. Delightful service, good food. Room appropriate size for France. No a/c but a fan was provided. Madame was very helpful and her children were polite and smiled and spoke. Server Sam is excellent. He helped me with luggage as there are steps involved.