HOTEL REVIEW: HÔTEL CHAIS MONNET & SPA, COGNAC.
Located in the heart of Cognac, the 2-hectare Hôtel Chais Monnet, part of The Leading Hotels Of The World, is the first 5-star property of its kind in the region. With a gastronomic restaurant, a brasserie with 120 seats, a jazz bar and a spa, Chais Monnet sets the bar when it comes to casual contemporary luxe.
Hôtel Chais Monnet opened its doors in November 2018, as the first five-star hotel in Cognac country. 65 million euros was spent into transforming the Monnet family’s historic cognac warehouses by the Charente river into a luxury 5-star spa hotel which was spearheaded by Paris-based architect Didier Poignant.
The hotel is chic, yet traditional with original wooden beams and casual contemporary luxe at its best. Think of Chais Monnet as Soho Farmhouse’s French cousin (not too surprisingly, given the owner is Javad Marandi who also happens to own Soho Farmhouse Oxfordshire).
Located in the heart of Cognac, a town rich in history and heritage and only a short drive from Bordeaux, Hôtel Chais Monnet is easily accessed by car and nearby Saintes is 27 km from the hotel, while Angoulême is 46 km away. The nearest airport is La Rochelle – Ile de Re, 109 km from Hôtel Chais Monnet, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service.
Country Chic Rooms
The hotels 92 rooms, 13 apartments and suites are spread across four buildings, including the restored ‘chais’ warehouses with original beams. All rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated in neutral colours, classic furniture with a luxurious yet rustic charm. The rooms in the old buildings have wooden beams and historic details and all rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi, TV, Nespresso machine, minibar and air-conditioning.
The separate marble shower room has an impressive rainshower and Fragonard bath products to boot.
A personal favourite is the oak parquet floors crafted by local artisans and the luxurious and soft pillows.
Dinner & Breakfast at La Distillerie
La Distillerie is the beating heart of the property. An atmospheric brasserie with 120 seats located in the former cognac warehouse itself. This is where the daily breakfast buffet is being served where cold cuts, crepes, waffles and local cheeses compete for your attention. The coffee is phenomenal and so is the service and, of course, the croissants.
In the evenings, La Ditillerie is transformed into a lively and fun restaurant with a menu highlighting the best of the region’s bounty with ingredients sourced from less than 75 miles away. Try the French veal ravioli with chestnuts and mushrooms as a starter followed by the slow-cooked lamb from Occitania which is a dish that has stayed with us since we left. And Cognac’s close proximity to Bordeaux naturally ensures a fantastic selection of wines on the wine list.
Le 1838, a romantic jazz bar
The jazz bar is stocked with more cognac references than any other bar in the world. Located in its own converted building, it’s sleek yet cosy and offers a relaxed and romantic vibe under its vaulted ceiling. Live performances take centre stage in the evenings which can be enjoyed together with a cognac-based cocktail before or after dinner.
The cognac connoisseur can pick from several hundred local varieties behind the bar, or mix it up in a cocktail (which is how the young people in the city enjoy their Cognac) – try the Retro Sound if you like something sweet (Cognac with Tonka Bean and Chocolate Bitter) or the Bepop (Cognac, St Germain, Bitter Burlesque and local sparkling wine) for something more refreshing. Kick back on one of the leather Chesterfield sofas and enjoy the piano man playing a jazzy repertoire.
The Club – Spa
The large swimming pool glassed in during winter and open-air during summer is worth getting out of bed for and so is the heated jacuzzi and sauna. Open daily from 7 am to 9 pm it’s possible to pop in more than once during the day, for a morning swim followed by a relaxing session in the jacuzzi after a walk around town.
Local activities worth exploring are cycle tours along the river (which was traditionally used to transport the Cognac), a visit to world-famous Cognac houses such as Martell (located next to the hotel), Rémy Martin and Courvoisier or a car ride further south to the many Bordeaux chateaux for world-class wine sampling.
Who is Hotel Chais Monnet for?
Families will enjoy the large bedrooms, the swimming pool and the relaxed vibe throughout the hotel.
And, needless to say, anyone interested in Cognac, its history and bordering Bordeaux will enjoy a luxurious stay at Hôtel Chais Monnet, which is, a destination itself worth visiting for its impressive architecture and gastronomy.