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Relais & Châteaux, Trophies of Excellence

Relais & Châteaux has turned quality into a virtue that is shared by all its members. For each of the 5 Cs, the Association’s values of excellence, one or more trophies pay tribute to those members who have taken quality very close to perfection.


The « Welcome Trophy », or the art of receiving. Fore more than 17 years, Relais & Châteaux and Moët & Chandon have singled out two properties that have distinguished themselves through the excellence of their welcome and their service. The winners of the Trophy 2007 are the Relais Gourmand restaurant “Ristorante Da Vittorio” in Italy and the Hotel “Lucknam Park” in the United Kingdom.

The “Corporate Retreat Trophy” for exceptional seminars. This award is presented for the second time in partnership with Nespresso. It singles out two properties that have distinguished themselves through the standard of their welcome at business meetings or seminars. This year it is presented to “Château de Brindos” in France and to “L’Auberge Saint-Antoine” in Quebec.


The « Passion Trophy », the passion for a profession. In partnership with Hennessy cognacs, this trophy is awarded, for the third year, to owners who have imbued their properties with a unique character thanks to their passion, personal commitment and their creative vision. The properties selected in 2007 are “L’Hostellerie de Levernois” in Beaune and “Londolozi Private Game Reserve” in South Africa.


The “Women of the Year”, a tribute to women. This trophy highlights the character of the property, each with its own unique style, but also the character of the management. For the second time, Relais & Châteaux pays tribute to these managers of teams and locations who demonstrate both charisma and charm. This annual distinction is placed under the aegis of another exceptional woman who has gone down in history: Louise Pommery the founder of the renowned champagne company. Two women are honoured this year: Christine Guérard “Les Prés d’Eugénie - Michel Guérard” and Anne-Sophie Pic “Pic”.

The « Lounge Bar Trophy », as many different atmospheres as locations. The region, its history and traditions all put their stamp on these distinctive havens: the ideal place for a quiet drink, a relaxing chat with friends or to savour some delights. The Lounge Bar Trophy, in association with Grand Marnier, is awarded to two properties that have distinguished themselves through their warmth, ambience and the diversity of products on offer in their lounge bars. The winners this year are “Whatley Manor” in the United Kingdom and “Le Jardin des Sens” in Montpellier.


« Environment Trophy », or respect for nature. This trophy is presented to two properties that have taken particularly interesting steps to protect the environment and their natural setting. In partnership with San Pellegrino, a natural mineral water from a thermal spring in the Dolomites, the Trophy 2007 is awarded to “Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve” in South Africa and “The Little Nell” in Aspen in the United States.

« Spa Trophy », the key to well-being. With its unique collection of 146 spas, Relais & Châteaux has raised relaxation to an essential part of a stay. This Trophy is awarded to two properties that boast a truly outstanding wellness and beauty centre. It is sponsored by Laurent Perrier Champagnes with its Ultra Brut champagne that is completely sugar free. The selected spas are “L’Albergo Giardino” in Switzerland and the “Domaine de la Rochevilaine” in France.

Other prizes pay tribute to the calm and beauty of the setting like:
- The « Garden Trophy », in association with Porto Rozès, is presented to the “Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons” in the United Kingdom and “Casa Velha do Palheiro” on Madeira in Portugal.
- The « Tranquillity Trophy », in partnership with Glenmorangie malt whisky, is awarded to “La Torre del Visco” in Spain and to “Matahari Beach Resort & Spa” in Bali.


« Relais Gourmands Trophy », the prize for excellence. Only a handful of Relais & Châteaux are admitted to the very select circle of Relais Gourmands every year. Sometimes just one master chef is chosen who is deemed worthy of bearing this prestigious label alongside his peers. Passion, experience, creativity, savoir-faire, perfect ease are just some of the attributes required to become a Relais Gourmand. This excellence trophy is presented in partnership with Taittinger Champagne that has always had close links to the haute couture of fine cuisine. This year three Relais & Châteaux properties have achieved the standards of cuisine and service entitling them to the Relais Gourmands label: two hotels in Austria, the “Palais Coburg Hotel Residenz” in Vienna and “Hanner” in Mayerling as well as “L’Hostellerie de Plaisance” in Saint-Emilion.

Rising Chef Trophy”. Presented for the first time in association with the kitchenware company All-Clad, this trophy pays tribute to three rising stars of ambitious, cosmopolitan cuisine: Chris Meredith “Gilpin Lodge Country House” in the United Kingdom, Norbert Niederkofler “Hotel & Spa Rosa Alpina” in Italy, Margot Janse “Le Quartier Français” in South Africa.

The 5 Cs make up the Relais & Châteaux Quality Charter but they also characterise the philosophy which all its members subscribe to.

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Trophies of Excellence

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat - South Africa, Cape Town
Lodge and restaurant in a game reserve
Only 270 km from Cape Town, located in the Cederberg Mountains, this natural haven of wide open plains and rugged rock formations allows one to surrender one's senses, while reconnecting with nature. This retreat is recognized for its splendid accommodation and facilities, authentic South African cuisine and generous hospitality. With over 130 rock art sites of ancient Bushman paintings, dating from ten thousand years ago and abundant flora and fauna, this malaria and predator-free wilderness sanctuary is a magical playground, ideal for restoring, mind and spirit. ...Read more


Casa Velha do Palheiro - Portugal, Funchal
Hotel and restaurant in the country
On the volcanic soil of Madeira, “the pearl of the Atlantic”, this former hunting lodge is a perfect example of the local tradition of quintas, lordly manor houses converted into charming hotels. Casa Velha do Palheiro was built in 1804 and its three buildings are havens of calm nestling in the celebrated Palheiro gardens, created two hundred years ago, alongside the renowned championship Palheiro golf course . It’s the ideal place to explore nature along the “levadas”, or Madeira's mini canals, and the stunning botanical gardens. Relax in the delightful spa, practice your golf swing at the golf club or visit the town of Funchal with its monuments and cafés where the famous Madeira wine is served. ...Read more


Da Vittorio - Italy, Brusaporto
Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in the country
The Da Vittorio residence nestles in the gentle hills that separate the bubbling vitality of Milan from the spectacular landscape surrounding the Lombardy lakes: an elegant villa surrounded by extensive grounds offering a perfect oasis of wellness and relaxation. The hospitality of the Cerea brothers and their gourmet restaurant cannot fail to charm – this is a culinary heaven considered to be a mecca for fish lovers since the 1960s. A procession of delicious shellfish and sublimely original dishes finishing with desserts with firework elements and a cellar with a treasure trove of authentic rare vintages guarantee a memorable experience. ...Read more


Les Prés d’Eugénie - Michel Guérard - France, Eugénie-les-Bains
Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux Hotel in the country and restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux
A small country palace, a romantic haven, a feast for the senses, for pampering your body and letting your mind wander. This family home is an invitation to happiness. Fairytale gardens, aristocratic abode and symphonic cuisine. ...Read more


Le Jardin des Sens - France, Montpellier
Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in town
“We created this restaurant in the same way we create our dishes: the first ingredient was our imagination.” At the age of 24, the famous Pourcel twin brothers found this abandoned house in the centre of Montpellier and it was love at first sight. These Grands Chefs opened their first property here: a “garden” where the flavours of Languedoc and the Mediterranean are manifestly sweet or salty, mild or bitter but always a joy. The attention to detail here is remarkable and there is a glorious twin assault on the senses. The hotel’s decor was entrusted to Bruno Borrione who bestowed a contemporary look, with a unique design to express a true art de vivre. ...Read more


Hostellerie de Levernois - France, Levernois/Beaune
Hotel and restaurant in a vineyard
On the banks of the river Bouzaize sits a large white house with an elegant French-style garden and a majestic park with century-old trees. Susanne and Jean-Louis Bottigliero, the owners of this property, have turned it into a truly charming haven that skilfully blends tradition and modernity. In the ancient kitchen there is a double-hearth chimney that dates back to 1750. Le Bistrot du Bord de l’Eau produces simple, delicious dishes and the Gourmet Restaurant serves traditional dishes with a modern flair. ...Read more


Londolozi Private Game Reserve - South Africa, Kruger National Park
Lodge and restaurant in a game reserve
This Private Game Reserve, endorsed by Nelson Mandela, is situated in the heart of the Sabi Sand game reserve. It is everything Africa ought to be – pulsing with the deep rhythm of the untamed Bushveld. The Reserve has been family run for 87 years where the fourth generation of the Varty Family welcomes you to this lodge situated in perfect harmony with the environment. It consists of three camps – Tree, Pioneer and The Private Granite Suites on the banks of the Sand River. The style is elegant and chic with the class of history. The cuisine highlights fresh, local ingredients and is served with flair surrounded by nature. ...Read more


Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa - United Kingdom, Colerne-near Bath
Hotel and restaurant in the country
Lucknam Park, the very name conjures up images of trees and tranquility, of stately nature and magnificent settings. This country retreat boasts sumptuous bedrooms and outstanding cuisine. Dine in the grand atmosphere of the Park Restaurant or go to the Brasserie for stylish, all-day dining. Luxuriate in the spa, which includes a well being centre and is regarded as one of the finest in the UK. Enjoy a beautiful horse ride over the estate, all levels of riders are taken care of, from beginner to advanced. Take a one day course in our cookery school.Or simply enjoy the 202 hectares of gardens and the magnificent 1.6 km long avenue of 400 lime and beech trees planted in 1827. If you want to venture out of this retreat, the lovely city of Bath is just 9 km away, but most who leave Lucknam Park find themselves wanting to return very soon. ...Read more


Maison Pic - France, Valence
Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in town
Few women have managed to make a name for themselves amongst the culinary elite. Anne-Sophie Pic has pulled off an even greater feat: the daughter of the Grand Chef Jacques Pic is known by her first name alone. The “Générations Pic” menu is a tribute to three generations of Pic family Grands Chefs. In a man’s world, Anne-Sophie Pic offers a “feminine” cuisine with a sensitive touch: “Taste evokes emotion. This idea of emotion is often linked to the past and so to childhood memories that are a major inspiration of my cuisine today.” A visit to her laboratory dedicated to the exploration of new flavours, is in a lodge with a modern and relaxing atmosphere, and should not be missed. ...Read more


Hostellerie de Plaisance - France, Saint-Emilion
Restaurant and hotel in a village
Wine enthusiasts will instantly recognise the name Saint-Émilion as one of the principal appellations of Bordeaux. The village itself is a gem, one of the most delightful spots in France. Savour some great wines at the Hostellerie de Plaisance, where hosts Chantal and Gérard Perse warmly welcome guests to their elegant but relaxed retreat with stunning views of the vineyards as well as the medieval village, a Unesco World Heritage site. The interiors are an excellent blend of sophistication and comfort. ...Read more


Domaine de Rochevilaine - France, Billiers
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront
Bertrand Jaquet, owner of Domaine de Rochevilaine, has a genuine passion for Brittany and his desire to share that love with his guests is evident. Be seduced by the breathtaking, typically Breton setting on the Vilaine estuary with its jagged cliffs and blue waters. Savour a Breton lobster like none other at the seaside restaurant, where dining feels a bit like being on the deck of an ocean liner. Listen to the sound of the waves during a restorative treatment at the excellent spa, perhaps “la table phénicienne” (the Phoenician table), a massage patented by the establishment. Another one of Bertrand Jaquet’s passions is art, as guests are bound to discover in the hotel’s wonderful art gallery. ...Read more


La Torre del Visco - Spain, Fuentespalda
Hotel and restaurant in the country
Far away from the hustle and bustle of the world, at the end of 5.5 km long forest trail, La Torre del Visco is the ideal place to recharge your batteries in completely unspoilt, rural surroundings. Enjoy the glorious scenery of the valley untouched by man and the modern world. The estate house with its tower dating from 1449 is surrounded by its own eighty-nine hectare farm, romantic gardens full of roses and olive trees bordered by the river Tastavins and the mountain range known as “Ports de Beseit”. The owner grows her own organic fruit and vegetables and makes her own olive oil for the restaurant. Inside the beautiful labyrinthine buildings, immerse yourself in a novel by the fireside, play chess, try one of the excellent wines from the cellar or join the chefs in the kitchen. For music lovers, the grand piano awaits. After sundown observe the clear night skies from the terrace. ...Read more


Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons - United Kingdom, Oxford
Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in the country
Just outside Oxford, the Grand Chef Raymond Blanc presides over a magnificent manor house, renowned for its hotel, cuisine and stunning gardens. For Blanc, “if the work itself is transient, the memory of the flavour remains”. In his vast garden, amongst the abounding lavender, Blanc grows almost 90 varieties of vegetables and over 70 aromatic herbs, which you are bound to find on your plate, in one way or another. Blanc swears only by “bio” and organic produce. This sublime food is matched by the suites of the hotel, which all have evocative names and distinctive feels, the exoticism of Opium, the haven of tranquillity that is Blanc de Blanc, the exuberance of Vettriano. Let yourself be enchanted in the native land of Lewis Carroll and J.R.R. Tolkien. ...Read more


Palais Coburg Residenz - Austria, Vienna
Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in town
Palais Coburg, in the heart of Vienna, offers a superb ultra-comfortable ambiance for you to enjoy. Each suite is decorated in honour of one of the high-society families that have marked the history of this somptuous hotel which, since the 19th century, has provided one of the most prestigious venues for receptions in the capital. The view from the spa over the roofs of Vienna adds the finishing touch to your superb feelings of relaxation. The gourmet cuisine of Silvio Nickol and the Basteigarten restaurant – “an oasis of green” – make Palais Coburg the top spot for culinary delicacies, and the cellars boast 60,000 bottles – one of the largest stocks of Mouton Rothschild, Château Yquem and Pétrus in the world. The magnificent ballrooms with all their festive splendour, the elegant lounges, and white vaulting of the former casemates, provide the perfect setting for private functions. ...Read more


Whatley Manor - United Kingdom, Malmesbury
Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in the country
Two hours from London, the Cotswolds is an enchanting world of wide-open countryside and honey-coloured stone buildings. It is known as the Heart of England, not because of its geographical location – it is in the Southwest – but because of the emotion that it inspires amongst its visitors. It is here that you will find Whatley Manor, a beautiful private manor house hotel set in twelve acres of English country gardens that are divided into 26 areas with different themes. There is also a private cinema and contemporary spa. ...Read more


Hanner - Austria, Mayerling
Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in the country
This lovingly refurbished hotel, dating back to the 1930's, is located just half an hour from the capital, in the picturesque Vienna Woods. The architecture, featuring stone, glass and local wood, offers the space and tranquility for dreams and reflection or to simply admire the objets d’art carefully chosen by Heinz Hanner, the owner and Grand Chef. This lover of contemporary art produces avant-garde cuisine. His duck foie gras with beetroot is sublime and the décor of the rooms is just as modern as the cuisine. ...Read more