This delectable old walnut-oil mill, with its Michelin-starred restaurant, belongs to that rare breed of hotels that gives you the sense of being pampered without costing a fortune. The setting on the banks of the Dronne is truly romantic: the gardens are lush, secluded, shady and bursting with colour. A Japanese-style bridge crosses the river into a grassy area with scattered seating and a discreetly positioned swimming pool and tennis court. Inside the rough-stone 17thC building, oak beams, stone fireplaces, mill machinery, rich fabrics and a wealth of antiques – oil paintings, silverware and solid Perigord dressers – combine with abundant flower arrangements to create an intimate yet highly indvidual style.
In the land of foie gras, Alain Gardillou manages to build on culinary traditions to produce remarkably light and inventive dishes. Breakfasts, too, are a treat: home-baked rolls, fresh fruit, eggs and yoghurt, beautifully served. Bedrooms vary in size, but do not dissapoint. Rooms are pretty, cosy and filled with antiques; two have four-posters. Others have recently been redesigned to create more spacious rooms, including large, immaculate bathrooms. Several of the rooms have a private terrace overlooking the river and the park. The quality of the food is so good the restaurant could be a destinantion in itself.