24-Hour Room Service: Château La Chenevière Normandy

Heading up the tree-lined gravel driveway to La Chenevière, my first impression is of a very elegant and very formal French chateau hotel. But while this four-star property falls into both categories with poise, it certainly isn't formal to the point of being stuffy.

It could so easily feel that way, given the grandeur of the 18th-century building – all honey-hued façades, shuttered windows and immaculate lawns – but the staff are so friendly and eager to please, it would be hard not to relax and feel at home.

Any guest hoping to practise their French here will be disappointed, since most of the staff speak good English. This is largely because the hotel is popular with Americans visiting Omaha Beach, where the US forces landed on D-Day. The beach, and the American cemetery, are two minutes' drive away.

La Chenevière was originally a manor house and farm, owned by the Gosset family from the early-18th century, through both world wars, until 1988 when it was sold to the Dickers, who turned it into a hotel. It remains under the same ownership to this day and is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

LOCATION

La Chenevière, Commes, Port-en-Bessin, France (00 33 2 31 51 25 25; www.lacheneviere.com). The hotel is set in several acres of grounds just outside the pretty fishing town of Port-en-Bessin, and is only 10 minutes' drive from historic Bayeux, of tapestry fame. It's extremely easy to find – we drove door-to-door from the ferry at Cherbourg to the hotel, after dark, in under an hour.

Time from nearest ferry port/international airport: Caen is 27 miles away, a 45-minute drive from either the ferry port (with a link from Portsmouth) or the airport, which has flights from Shoreham in West Sussex.

COMFORTABLE?

There are 15 bedrooms in the main manor house, and 14 more in the converted stables and outbuildings surrounding a courtyard to the side of the chateau. In either type, you can expect a high level of comfort. Our courtyard room was contemporary in design, with vibrant, modern fabrics in contrasting textures and colours, and it had wooden flooring, mini-bar and flat-screen TV. The bathroom had a Jacuzzi bath with a dinner-plate-sized showerhead.

Meals are served in the elegant restaurant on the ground floor; the picture windows overlook five acres of parkland, full of mature evergreen trees and beds overflowing with flowers in summer. Dinner here is an experience not to be missed, with bookings strongly advised at weekends. The restaurant is lively, but not obtrusively so, with soft lighting and an open fire for cold winter evenings.

Looking around the room, it seemed that most of our fellow diners were either enjoying a romantic break or meeting up with family, and this helped to create a cheerful ambience.

With starters at €15-€38 (£11.50-£29.20) and mains around €45 (£34.60), the à la carte menu is expensive, but the seven-course Anemone menu at €50 (£37) is extremely good value. Normandy produce features heavily, as in roasted half pigeon with quince confit.

There are two bars for pre- or post-prandial drinks, the more unusual being the Zanzibar in the basement, decked out in safari colours and African wood carvings.

After a night or two of indulgence, you may want to work off the calories in the heated outdoor pool (May to October only), or on the tennis court.

Freebies: L'Occitane toiletries in the bathrooms.

Keeping in touch: Telephones and TVs in bedrooms, free Wi-Fi on the ground floor of the chateau, plus free internet access on a PC in the main lounge.



Standard double rooms start from €240 (£185), including breakfast.

I'm not paying that: Château de Bellefontaine (00 33 2 31 22 00 10; http//www.hotel-bellefontaine.com), just outside Bayeux, has double rooms starting at €90 (£69), room only.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
peopleJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice