A Charentais hamlet amongst the vines. A personalised discovery of the Cognac region. Welcome to Christine et Jean-Luc Montembault's hotel.
"Introducing our guests to every face of the region they're visiting."
They call it "their little slice of heaven in Grande Champagne". Christine and Jean-Luc discovered the Hotel Le Relais de Saint-Preuil, The Originals Relais, a little Charentais hamlet near Segonzac, in 2004. A former 17th- and 18th-century coaching inn, it had been abandoned. The couple decided to buy it and restore its original purpose: giving travellers a place to rest and eat. It took a year of renovations to bring the inn back to life. It now comprises ten lodgings spread throughout the hamlet in the form of double rooms, family suites and houses for four to six people. Some have something of an Asian flavour, pointing to the owners' unusual background in Indonesia and Hong Kong. "We wanted to create somewhere with a focus on the art of hospitality," says Christine. A place where guests are invited to enjoy slow travel and take their time while exploring, be it food and drink, heritage or culture.
The ten lodging names at the Hotel Le Relais de Saint-Preuil, The Originals Relais are all borrowed from former 17th- and 18th-century horse and carriage occupations: Le Cocher (coach driver), Le Postillon (coachman), Le Patachon (driver), La Malle Poste (mail coach), La Calèche (horse-drawn carriage), Le Coche (stagecoach), etc. Furnished in rustic, country, uncluttered style, they're comfortable and very spacious. The apartments or houses are fitted with an open-plan kitchen (dishwasher, washing machine, oven, etc.) with space for six. With its Asian style, the Palanquin room is a little different, featuring a large bed with a 19th-century Chinese canopy in a nod to the years Christine and her husband spent in Asia.
- Non smoking room
There's no restaurant at the Hotel Le Relais de Saint-Preuil, The Originals Relais but there is a table d’hôte with Charentais specialities from neighbouring estates. For fans of al fresco dining, Christine and Jean-Luc can recommend the restaurants best suited to your gourmet preferences. A buffet breakfast served in a lovely dining room with a charming Franco-Asian decor focuses on local, home-made treats such as yoghurt, jam and cakes made by Christine and Jean-Luc.
For Christine and Jean-Luc, showcasing their region is a key part of the services they offer. "We ask our guests what they're looking for during their stay with us and offer customised tour ideas."
Whether you prefer the sauna or swimming pool, you'll find both at the Hotel The Originals Relais de Saint-Preuil. Opposite the vines outside, the swimming pool promises some magical moments with exceptional views. For athletic guests, a gym with a selection of machines will help keep you fit.
ACTIVITIES AND SERVICESOn-site, you'll find a tennis court, a ping-pong table, a games area for kids, a barbecue and picnic tables opposite the vines and a reading room with books and magazines. Those who like to move around can choose from mountain bike hire, a golf reservation, or vintage car hire. Those seeking a relaxing break can book a tranquil massage with a qualified naturopath.
THINGS TO SEE NEARBYPut your faith in Jean-Luc to discover the region's wonders. Christine's husband can organise a tour, a tasting session, a masterclass workshop, a hot air balloon ride, a tour of a cooperage or an artisan visit among other sightseeing and cultural tours around Cognac and Angoulême. He'll even drive you to a vineyard where he'll open secret, normally locked doors into the secrets of cognac producers.
A work session amongst the vines! Or, even better, in the Relais's 70 m2 former cellar. In this white-walled room with exposed beams and high ceilings, Christine and Jean-Luc have gone for quality over quantity with just 20 places available. A video projector, internet connection, wall screen and adjustable lighting are available as well as a catering department for meals.