OK so this this has nothing to do with Provence...but it's new and sounds extremely inviting so I thought you'd like to know. The owners of the 20-room Hôtel de Toiras, a Relais & Châteaux and the first five-star hotel on the tiny island of Île de Ré, opened a sister property last week: the nine-room Villa Clarisse. The two hotels are just a short stroll from each other. And guess what? Pierre-Yves Rochon did the interiors. He's the very-fancy French designer who did some of the most-famous hotels in the world, including the Four Seasons Georges V, the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo and the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, to name just a few.
Villa Clarisse occupies a beautiful 17th-century house in the heart of the port of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Charente-Maritime. Surrounded by 17th century fortifications, Saint-Martin-de-Ré is a sliver of land jutting into the Atlantic, 19 miles from La Rochelle. La Rochelle, in turn, is just off the Atlantic Coast roughly halfway between Nantes and Bordeaux. The Île de Ré has been linked to La Rochelle by a 1.8 mile bridge since 1988 and is known for its wonderful beaches, biking, hiking, forests, salt marshes and more.
All Villa Clarisse guest rooms are a minimum of 30 square meters. All feature original, working fireplaces and views over Saint-Martin. The hotel has a heated, open-air pool (open year round), a hammam and a spa with treatment rooms set within the hotel gardens.
Villa Clarisse serves breakfast, tea and light meals during the day. Guests are encouraged to eat their main meals at La Table d’Olivia in the Hôtel de Toiras where the modern French cuisine of exec chef Thierry Bouhier is enhanced by a consulting arrangement with the Michelin two-star restaurant Coutanceau in La Rochelle. The seasonal menu changes daily. Guests may book gastronomy packages that include lunch at Coutanceau and dinner at La Table d’Olivia.