At Loire Valley’s Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé, it’s easy to get lost in the feeling that somehow you have traveled back in time and become royalty. As you pull into the grand driveway, massive gates peel away in unison to reveal the awe striking facade of the château set behind expertly manicured grounds. At the front door, guests are greeted with a glass of locally crafted champagne and a warm welcome from the staff. There is no formal check-in at this property, furthering the feeling of home.
The storied history of Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé inspires the castle’s opulent, but inviting, 18th century decor. Once the summer home of Baron Jacques Pineau de Viennay, the property’s interiors found new life at the hands of Paul Allen Design after an extensive renovation. The structure still remains one of the most important examples of French neoclassical architecture standing today. Each of the seventeen rooms is uniquely designed to embody French country elegance with modern amenities. 12-foot windows are swathed in rich drapery and walls are coated in finely printed wallpaper. The polished antique furniture is the final touch to each room. Buly 1803 soaps are the perfect amenity to round out the luxury of each accommodation.
Dining is an experience unto itself at Hotel Château du Grand-Lucé. A three course menu, which changes nightly, is a culinary journey through France helmed by Maxime Thomas. Whether you would like to dine at a secluded table for two overlooking the pond or have an intimate picnic atop a Hermés blanket littered with pillows in a secret garden, the incredibly attentive staff will accommodate your every whim.
Flanking the staircase into the expansive eighty acre garden are two statues gifted to the Baron by Louis XV. The symmetrical gardens are home to the hotel’s vegetable and flower supply used in many of the creative dishes and cocktails on site. In the sunken exotic garden, a former fountain acts as the hotel’s pool. Beyond the formal French garden lies a rolling pasture and oak forest. Walking the expansive grounds, neoclassical sculptures left on the grounds by the Baron act as breadcrumbs guiding guests through the woods.
Below, Managing Director Michael Gregory highlights the most outstanding pieces of Hotel Château du Grand Lucé.
What’s the most requested room?
The Baron Suite.
What makes it so special?
Quite possibly the most extravagant suite in Europe, and definitively irreplicable, The Baron Suite was built for Baron Jacques Pineau de Viennay, the former owner of the château. With 17-foot tall ceilings and stunning Versailles patterned oak floors, the corner bedroom is magnificent in scale and reflects centuries-old proportions. Views from the massive casement windows, to the formal gardens, are resplendent, and the light streaming in from the Loire Valley sunshine is brilliant. This suite has three entrances including a private entrance directly from the west garden, a marble-clad bathroom with garden views of its own, a petite sitting room, private library with a collection of French literature, and the pièce de résistance – the Salon Chinois, aptly named for the canvas covered walls painted in the Chinoiserie style by the artist Jean-Baptiste Pillement. Pillement, whose work today can only be found at the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s private garden palace at Versailles, the Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery in Washington D.C. This suite has been filled with a carefully curated art collection framed in loads of gold gilt, layered with French fabrics and furnishings, and saturated in an au courant splendor with unapologetic luxury.
What is the rate?
What room is your personal favorite?
My personal favorite changes constantly but at the moment I think it’s the Pied-a-Terre King Studio.
Located in an adjoining building to the main Château, accessed through the Galerie de Chasse, this suite is breathtaking. The space is tremendous, with 12-foot tall open beam ceilings, point de Hongrie oak wood floors, open floor plan, two sets of magnificent casement windows with stunning garden views, dining area, sitting area, la petite cuisine, and an exquisite marble-wrapped bathroom. The furnishings are decidedly French and definitively au courant with a gorgeous painted King Louis XV style bed, dark velvet sofa, gold gilt bergère chair in a splendid Jean-Paul Gaultier floral, oak campaign table, a judicious mix of curated art — a substantial mid-20th century garden abstract paired with 18th century portrait and a 19th century classic Parisian oil. The result is Baron Jacques Pineau de Viennay’s vision, translated centuries later.
Any fun facts about the hotel or rooms?
A former country home of the Baron Jacques Pineau de Viennay, the Château has played host to some of the greatest philosophers and minds from the Age of Enlightenment — Voltaire, Mozart, Rousseau — as well as nobles, writers, design teams (Louis Vuitton), and some of France’s most recognized individuals. Built in 1760, the château has been returned to its former splendor after a private restoration, offering a stunning tribute to its noble provenance and rich history. Guests can luxuriate like nobility on the French countryside and enjoy the château’s 17 beautifully appointed suites, and 80 verdant acres of meadows and magnificent gardens. Jaw-dropping touches throughout the historic property include canvas-covered walls painted in the Chinoiserie style by renowned French Rococo-era painter Jean-Baptiste Pillement (1728-1808), statues in the garden that were gifts from King Louis XV, custom fabrics from French luminaries like Pierre Frey and Nobilis to the most au courant – Christian Lacroix and Jean-Paul Gaultier, and fine art and furnishings throughout.