What’s the draw?
It’s not a hard sell, is it? Brand-new and super stylish with unbeatable views, an infinity pool and a Michelin-starred chef behind the pass, The Royal Champagne Hotel and Spa in Épernay doesn’t just have something going for it, it has a whole lot and more. Once a historic coaching house rumoured to have been frequented by King Charles X of France, the newly renovated hotel offers unrivalled access to the surrounding Unesco World Heritage Site that is champagne country’s capital. For anyone with an interest in tasting, exploring and learning all about where the world’s favourite sparkling wine comes from, a stay (however short it maybe) is an undeniable must – not least because of its ideal location.
What to drink?
Sorry, that’s a silly question, all the bubbly on offer at The Royal Champagne Hotel must be going to our heads. Of course, you’re here for the champagne, and there’s good news, because there’s more than enough of it.
Headed up by chief sommelier Daniel Pires, the list ticks off many, if not all, of the major houses, with a few a biodynamic champagne makers and smaller labels thrown in there for good measure. Slink down the elegant spiral staircase and lay your eyes on the Champagne fridge beside the tasting table to get a proper look at all the hotel’s most notable vintages and bottles.
Ruinart Dom Ruinart 2006 –a fresh and aromatic blanc de blancs (all chardonnay) vintage champagne from the oldest established champagne house in existence – was our drink of choice during our stay.
Population: 1.3 million
Key city: Reims
Area: 25,606 km²
Champagne-Ardennes, to give it its full name, is one of France’s gastronomic hubs. Epernay, Ay, and Reims are arguably the best-known towns, home to visitor centres for the big-hitting champagne houses.
Explore Champagne in the best way possible by booking on to a Clos19 Experience or by organising a tour of some of the most famous houses through the hotel’s activity team. That said they both come at quite a price, so for those feeling less flush there’s always the option of renting the hotel’s electric bikes. Take them for a ride along the criss-cross of Taittinger and Moët & Chandon’s vines, your inner Ab-Fab diva will no doubt love it.
9 Rue de la République, Hameau de, 51160 Champillon, France; royalchampagne.com