Hotel de Toiras – Ile de Ré, France
Hotel type: 5* luxury boutique hotel.
Location: In the heart of St Martin de Ré, on the Ile de Ré, just 25 minutes from La Rochelle airport.
Style: Grandiose & classic French.
Rooms: Nine individually styled rooms & nine suites with a garden or harbour view.
Ideal for: Family breaks and romance.
Swimming: A ten minute walk to the beach at La Cible and access to the pool at Villa Clarisse (€50 per person).
Dining: Fresh & local produce is served at George’s where you can enjoy fantastic seafood on the terrace, accompanied by wine from the owner’s vineyard. This can be followed by a cocktail in the Salon D’Olivia.
Children: Très family friendly, cots available upon request.
Activities: Explore the 200km of cycle paths on Ile de Ré, discovering picturesque villages and miles of beaches. Alternatively the island offers surfing, kite surfing and paddleboarding, as well as a nine hole golf course to keep everyone entertained.
Spa: In-room face and body treatments are available and can be reserved in advance.
Accessibility: One of the rooms is especially adapted.
Low season price from: €430 per night in a Deluxe Garden View room, including breakfast.
High season price from: €510 per night in a Deluxe Garden View room, including breakfast.
Open From: End of March – Mid November.
Le Toiras enjoys quite possibly one of the best locations on the Ile de Ré. Right at the entrance to the harbour in St Martin de Ré, this 17th century shipowner’s house, is also one of the island’s most exclusive hotels. With its typical French salon feel, and extraordinary attention to detail, it’s a haven the moment you step over the threshold. The interiors are an elegant mix of luxurious fabrics, antiques and an abundance of original features. The service is also hard to beat. All in all, it’s the perfect place from which to explore the beguiling Ile de Ré, and one to which you’ll definitely want to return.
Furnished and decorated by some of France’s leading artisans and international names, Le Toiras has a charm and character all of its own. Each of the rooms and suites is classically designed and uniquely styled – named after famous painters and historical figures and with their stories evident throughout. The word “boudoir” definitely springs to mind. Evangeline – the Privilege Room – with a king size bed, has a harbour view and is decorated in soft blues. The Premium Rooms – Baudoin, Mancini, Sévigné, Suire & Loti look out over the garden, whilst Maréchal de Toiras has a harbour view. They all feature comfortable double or queen size beds and some can interconnect. The Deluxe Rooms – Baudouin & Drouant both have relaxing views over the garden. The Suites are exotic and spacious, providing a sophisticated island retreat. The Presidential Suite George Washington features a separate living room where you can take breakfast looking out over the harbour and fortresses. The wonderfully romantic Honeymoon Suite Madame de Sévigné also has harbour views and a separate living room. The Duc de Buckingham is a Premier Suite with harbour views – we love its very regal feel. The Deluxe Suites – Maréchal de Toiras, Aziyadé & Loti – are all elegant and look out over the harbour and the roofs of St Martin, with space enough for a comfortable seating area and a mezzanine with a sofabed. With views over the garden, the Junior Suites – Midy, Vauban & Champlain – all have sofabeds for children and their décor depicts the history of those who emigrated to the New World. For families, many of the rooms and suites can be interconnected to create a larger apartment.
One of the things we love the most about the Ile de Ré is the food. A wander around the markets in St Martin de Ré and Le Bois Plage, with their abundance of fresh produce is a trip to another world. Le Toiras uses the island’s bounty to create some truly fabulous dishes, and the seafood is something else. On the large terrace at George’s overlooking the bustling harbour, you can breakfast, lunch and dinner – it’s the greatest spot for dining and people watching. The Blue Note Bar and the Salon d’Olivia offer elegant surroundings for cocktails or tea, opening out onto the very splendid terrace and gardens.
Le Toiras gives families a very warm welcome and the island itself could not be a more perfect place for children. The paths are safe to cycle and what better way to find a beach or a creperie? The rooms and suites can accommodate families, and cots can be requested for children up to three years old.
For a very small island, there are a remarkable 200km of cycle paths on the Ile de Ré, and a bicycle is the best form of transport to explore. Along the coast, you’ll find empty beaches and miles of salt flats, interspersed with picturesque villages for lunch stops and browsing the countless boutiques and galleries. The waters around the island are perfect for a sedate boat or fishing trip, and Le Toiras can organize pretty much anything with the vessels berthed just feet way in the harbour. On the western coast, facing the Atlantic, you’ll find surfing and kitesurfing, whilst the coastal marshes are ideal for paddleboarding. The island has a nine hole golf course – a tee off time can be reserved for you, and back on the mainland close to La Rochelle, there’s an 18 hole course. However, once you arrive, it won’t take you long to relax into the pace of the island, and just spend your days quietly exploring.