Provencal Perfection: The Cabro d’Or Hotel

By on April 8, 2013

A haven of peace and pastoral luxe – the Cabro d’Or hotel takes the pleasure principle to a whole new level.

Ever since Lord Brougham stumbled upon the deep blue waters and cassia plantations of Cannes in 1834, Brits have been flocking to France’s southern belle region of Provence. The 1960’s firmly established the area as Europe’s ‘ultimate’ summer retreat, with a growing throng of sumptuous villas and luxury hotels opening up. Running from Hyeres in the west to La Napoule in the east, the Cote d’Azur remains the region’s most desirable coastal stretch, embracing a cluster of quaint fishing villages turned pleasure ports such as Le Lavandou and St-Raphael; stately Belle Epoque mansions and boutique resorts in sought-after locations ranging from the traditional Corniche d’Esterel to the showy chic of St Tropez.

For visitors looking to escape the Riviera glare however, there’s nowhere more endearing than the region’s rugged arriere-pays. This aromatic garrigue-covered hilly hinterland provides welcome respite from the coastal buzz. Landlocked Vaucluse encompassing the Parc Naturel Regional du Luberon has a wealth of picturesque villages scattered across its rustic countryside, while the principal towns of Orange and the departmental capital Avignon offer a cultural fix with their lively café scenes.

One serene rural hideaway engaging in-the-know visitors for over four decades is the idyllic La Cabro d’Or country house hotel in the valley foothills of bastide town Les Baux de Provence. The stay-and-play concept of celebrated hotelier and visionary Raymond Thuilier, founder of the Baumaniere collection of luxury retreats; this hotel was one of the first establishments to join the elite post-war luxury genre, better know as the Relais & Chateaux Group.

Opening its doors in 1961 as the country inn of the nearby Ostau de Baumaniere where horse-riders stopped off to revive themselves, the name Cabro d’Or (golden goat) owes its title to an extract from a poem written by celebrated Provencal poet Frederic Mistral, one that perfectly encapsulates the bohemian spirit and understated laid-back elegance of the place.

Secreted away in five acres of mature, verdant parkland complete with swimming pool and tiered terracing, present day owners Jean-Andre and Genevieve Charial have created a stunning outdoor backdrop to their 31-room country house retreat. Over the years the introduction of fragrant blooms, indigenous trees and vibrant foliage, have conspired to create a serene and green setting for guests, the piece de resistance of which is the hotel’s thriving organic garden cared for by Jean-Andre and bursting with unusual varieties of fragrant herbs together with tomatoes, soft fruit, courgettes and beans; fresh produce which resident Michelin starred chef, Michel Hulin, creatively integrates into the dining repertoire at the hotel’s award winning restaurant.

Accommodation options embrace an equally bespoke yet diverse portfolio – six junior suites, five family suites and 20 luminous rooms decorated in graceful Provencal style fabrics – a mix of rich and muted tones, elegant furnishings. Bedrooms are comfortable and spacious sporting large French-windows that open onto private terraces and secluded gardens. Modern day luxuries haven’t been overlooked either with flat screen TVs, and broadband fitted as standard, while well equipped bathrooms sport pristine ceramic fittings and vintage mosaic tiles. Embracing the present while preserving the quintessential charms of yesteryear is what the Cabro d’Or experience is all about – pastoral pleasure here is truly la France profonde at its best.