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36 new Relais & Châteaux in the 2011 Guide “La Route du Bonheur” spans the globe

In 2011, Relais & Châteaux has expanded by 36 new properties, chosen after a rigorous selection process involving inspections of more than 100 establishments.

The new members include 12 in Europe, 1 in Morocco, 12 in Asia, 5 in the United States, 4 in South America, 1 in New Zealand, and even 1 in Vanuatu. Each and every one, whether historic or contemporary, located in the city or the countryside, is unique in its charm, elegance, excellence of service and quality of hospitality. These small properties with an average of 30 rooms are often family enterprises, and they all bear the mark of the soul of the innkeeper which impresses on them their own character and personality. With these 36 new properties, the famous “Route du Bonheur”, an invitation, in the 1950s, to tour the byways of France, today appears in the guise of a extraordinary journey around the planet. Follow the Guide….

In Europe, all the refinements of a unique art de vivre

In France, near Lyon, in the heart of the former spa resort of Charbonnières-les-Bains, Le Pavillon de la Rotonde & Spa waits to be discovered: an oasis of well-being and contemporary art de vivre with cuisine by Philippe Gauvreau, Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux. In the golden triangle of the Lubéron, La Bastide de Capelongue is the Mecca of refinement and Provence-style gastronomy in the capable hands of Edouard Loubet, also a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux. In Saint Tropez, the Pan dei Palais, a delightfully sumptuous hotel dedicated to a Punjab Princess, offers princely life on the Côte d‟Azur.

In northern Europe in the Netherlands, there is Kasteel Engelenburg nestling in the middle of the forest set within 250 acres of landscaped grounds. This is a splendid 16th century castle, complete with a 19th century conservatory garden with a tropical atmosphere. The German island of Sylt, in the North Sea, is a favourite with artists and boasts a stunning natural landscape and its own individual culture; here you can retire to Landhaus Stricker, a secluded getaway with sporting facilities. Farther north still, in Tallin, Estonia, there is a legendary property: a medieval monument reinterpreted through contemporary design. The Three Sisters Hotel is the place where celebrities and royals choose to stay in the region.

A visit to the UK? Why not enjoy an aristocratic sojourn, one and a half hours from London, in Hampshire at Lime Wood, a tastefully-refurbished classic Regency country house. Or maybe the refined art de vivre at The Bath Priory Hotel, with its magnificent gardens. It‟s the ideal base from which to explore the town of Bath, in South West England, classed as a World Heritage Site and well-known since antiquity for its hot spring baths.

In Italy, there are three new properties where the art of hospitality is both generous and refined. In Florence, the Relais Santa Croce, a former private mansion that has been sumptuously refurbished, can be your pied-à-terre when you visit the city and savour the Florentine art de vivre. On the island of Ischia, thermal hot springs, well-known since antiquity, lavish their healing properties on guests at Terme Manzi Hotel, a gem of 19th century architecture. In the heart of the region of Apulia, with its wealth of history and mystery, you can stop off at Relais Villa San Martino, a former villa surrounded by magnificent gardens.

All roads lead to Santiago de Compostela, and, for centuries now, hikers and pilgrims have converged on that small Galician town. The tour of Europe ends at A Quinta da Auga, a unique ecological hotel set in a magnificently-restored 18th century former paper factory.

Finally, across the Mediterranean you are in Casablanca where the Doge Hotel & Spa awaits, a jewel from the heyday of the 1930s, and the ideal place to stay if you want to explore the capital of Art Deco architecture.

In Asia, dream palaces and historic residences where you can step back in time and history

As we leaf our way through the Guide, we turn to Asia. First to savour the art de vivre in Eternal India, at the Serai in Jailsamer, staying in a sumptuous, air-conditioned tent with bathroom and terrace in the middle of the Thar desert, in Rajasthan. In the Madhya Pradesh, Prince Richard Holkar is your host at Ahilya Fort, an 18th century fortress overlooking the sacred Narmada river. And if you want to recharge your batteries through meditation and Ayurveda, what better place than Shreya’s Retreat in Bangalore: only 25 guests at a time go there to gently practise yoga in its myriad forms.

Our itinerary takes us through Sri Lanka and its tea plantations, where you can stay in the four restored planter‟s bungalows of Ceylon Tea Trails near the Central Highlands, a World Heritage Site. Bali offers a total change of atmosphere, with the four architect-designed villas of Villa Mathis and a sensuous spa in an immaculately-preserved, secluded Garden of Eden. In Luang Prabang, the capital of the former kings of Laos and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Satri House is a delightful garden-hotel set in the heart of a garden-town. And in Thailand, Supanniga Home offers three villas right in the middle of the countryside.

China may be hurtling forward at a prodigious rate, and yet it does not turn its back on its historical and cultural treasures. This is clearly the case with the three new Relais & Châteaux where you can step back in time. In Shanghai, Sun Chine hotel is an elegantly-restored historical residence from the time of the Concessions, with many mementos from the 1930s. And if you are looking for fine dining, you must try Family Li Imperial Cuisine, where Ivan Li, Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux, is rediscovering culinary traditions from the time of the Qing dynasty. Jing’s Residence, the former mansion of a silk merchant, set in the heart of the ancient fortified town of Pingyao, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers charm, elegance and authenticity.

In Japan, Kitano Hotel in Kobe pays tribute to French-style art de vivre in a Western-style 19th century residence, and offers the opportunity to enjoy the cuisine of Hiroshi Yamaguchi, a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux. In Tokushima, Kokin Aoyagi is the restaurant of the highly- renowned Hirohisa Koyama, Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux: in his view, gastronomy is an art and a philosophy, a meditation courtesy of flavour.

In America and Oceania: the delights of the New World

Let us set off for the American continent to the north of the state of New York, the Bedford Post, a warmly hospitable inn set in the midst of a forest, belongs to Richard Gere, Relais & Châteaux Ambassador for 2011. Nearby in the Hudson valley, there is a breath of Tuscany in the air at Glenmere Mansion, with its spectacular gardens and contemporary art collection, set in 150 acres of grounds. In Washington D.C., The Jefferson, an urban oasis with a cosy art de vivre, can be found just 5 minutes from the White House.

For something completely different, why not take a magical break in North Carolina, at Westglow Resort and Spa, a neo-classical building once an artist‟s studio, set in 40 acres of grounds. And if you want to enjoy one of the best culinary experiences in Southern California, indulge yourself at Addison, the restaurant is run by Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux, William Bradley.

In South America, three stunning historic properties have joined us this year: in Mexico, Villa Maria Cristina is an elegant French 19th century townhouse in Guanajuato, in the Sierra Madre Oriental; in Peru, Inkaterra La Casona is an exquisite 16th century colonial manor in Cusco; in Brazil, Hotel Santa Teresa is an old colonial fazenda in the historic, and currently „trendiest‟, quarter of Rio de Janeiro.

The Lapostolle Residence in the heart of the Clos Atalpa domain, is one of Chile‟s flagship wine-growing areas, renowned for its outstanding architecture and unique landscape.

Far in the southern hemisphere in New Zealand, just minutes from Queenstown, on Lake Wakatipu, Matakauri Lodge awaits us, with its legacy of ancient Maori legend. The last stage of the journey, quite literally to the end of the world: waterfalls, volcanoes, coral reefs… and, most importantly a superb eco retreat, in the heart of the beautifully-preserved archipelago of Vanuatu. Ratua Private Island is a private island where you can play at being Robinson.

More than ever before, these 36 new properties, with their exceptional art de vivre, allow Relais & Châteaux to assert their values, their original style and their presence “all around the world, unique in the world.”

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Inkaterra La Casona - Peru, Cusco
Hotel and restaurant in town
This exquisite 16th century colonial manor was one of the first Spanish buildings in Cusco and is located just steps away from the picturesque main square. Once occupied by the conquistadors of Peru, it is now an exclusive boutique hotel that has been carefully restored to retain its historical heritage and décor. With suites set around a Spanish courtyard, the manor offers sober elegance without sacrificing authenticity. Inkaterra La Casona is the perfect place from which to explore the Incan Capital. ...Read more


Hotel Santa Teresa - Brazil, Rio de Janeiro
Hotel and restaurant in town
The atmosphere of this old colonial fazenda, an oasis in the heart of the historic district, combines traditional authenticity and “tropical chic” design. Whether by the pool or in the tropical gardens, the Santa Teresa boasts spectacular panoramic views of the Bay of Rio and the Centro. The unique décor of the rooms features jacaranda, cinnamon, ipe wood, natural fibres and golden slate. The wellness-centre invites relaxation to the rhythm of the Xingu massages and Amazonian oil baths. The rising-star chef reinterprets contemporary Brazilian cuisine using fresh and local ingredients, and today one of the best table in Rio. The lounge of Bar Dos Descasados, an exclusive meeting place designed by the Carioca artist Zemog, offers a selection of the best Brazilian rums, under the one-hundred-year-old arches of the former senzala slave quarters of the mansion. ...Read more


The Serai, Jaisalmer - India, Jaisalmer
Hotel and restaurant in the desert
A stay at The Serai brings alive the famed Thar Desert of India's western frontiers. Pitched on a private 100 acre wilderness of desert scrub, this oasis exudes coolness, calm and chic like nowhere you can imagine. At the centre of the camp, a pool rises above the surroundings and is inspired by the traditional architecture of Rajasthan's legendary baths and step wells. Amidst this sprawling haven the SUJAN Spa offers its therapeutic treatments in enclosed gardens. The culinary experience at The Serai resonates with the tastes of Rajputana and an eclectic selection of menus made with home grown farmed produce. Dining options are unlimited. Quite frankly there is no better place from which to explore the surrounding desert heritage or Jaisalmer's iconic Golden Fortress. Camel safaris and excursions into the endless desert are not to be missed. ...Read more


Pan Deï Palais - France, Saint-Tropez
Hotel and restaurant in a village
A French General, who fell in love with a beautiful Punjab princess by the name of Bannu Pan Deï, built this luxury residence for her in 1835 in Saint-Tropez, as a token of their love for each other . This is the legend of Pan Deï Palais, a haven of peace in the midst of the business of the villages along the Côte d’Azur. It is as if you are inside a maharajah’s own mansion: the exotic garden casts its Asian spell and each room has its own individual character under the watchful eye of a Hindu god. The tranquillity of the spa is a foretaste of the serenity and well-being to come. During the day, enjoy the peace and quiet next to the pool, under the drapes of the Balinese beds or the recliners with their pure white sunshades. In the evening, this area becomes a sophisticated bar, just the place to enjoy a cocktail. The restaurant is also a very sought-after spot in Saint-Tropez. Sophisticated dishes of Indian, Asian and French inspiration take you on a genuine voyage of discovery. ...Read more


Bastide de Capelongue - France, Bonnieux en Provence
Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in the country
In the heart of the Luberon golden triangle , why not try the fragrant gourmet cuisine of Grand Chef Édouard Loubet at this elegant, sophisticated Provençal bastide. Serenity and art de vivre are the hallmarks of this prestigious hotel which offers its guests a simple and magical experience: to breakfast by the side of a fountain, to sip iced herbal tea next to a pool surrounded by lavender, to go and pick food in the morning and then take a cooking class with the Chef, or simply to enjoy the setting of the sun and the magnificent views over the village of Bonnieux. ...Read more


Kasteel Engelenburg - Netherlands, Brummen
Hotel and restaurant in the woods
Located amidst elegant vistas of landscaped gardens, a golf course and old trees in a private forest, the 100 hectare estate of Kasteel Engelenburg offers unforgettable excursions in this beautiful region. This 19th century castle is a historical monument, with hand-carved fireplaces, high ceilings, period furniture and sumptuous suites that evoke the splendour of bygone days. The restaurant, in a 19th century conservatory with a tropical atmosphere, is an absolute delight, as are the lounge with its collection of 300 Scottish Single Malts, the medieval wine cellar. The pretty hotel rooms are all individually decorated. ...Read more


Landhaus Stricker - Germany, Sylt OT Tinnum
Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in town
Well-being and relaxation: Landhaus Stricker is the ideal place for a wonderful holiday on Sylt , an island reputed for its exceptional natural surroundings and particularly fresh air. You will feel in top form there whatever the weather, whether browsing through the library, or lounging on the beach, well protected by a strandkorb, the wickered beach chair used on the North Sea coasts. The 700 m² private spa provides fitness, relaxation and treatments. The water in the covered pool is maintained at just the right temperature. And as a finishing touch, there are culinary delights to be sampled at the Bodendorf gourmet restaurant. Why not treat yourself to dishes created by Grand Chef Holger Bodendorf in a perfectly idyllic setting. You could try tuna with cucumber or American-style stew pot with meat tortellini, carrots, braised in ginger and pureed, and finally, for dessert, Manjari chocolate and orange. ...Read more


The Three Sisters Hotel - Estonia, Tallinn
Hotel and restaurant in town
This sophisticated hotel, ideally located next to Saint-Olaf’s church, right in the heart of a city that combines medieval charm with hectic modern living, enjoys a tranquil setting in the old town. The Three Sisters Hotel is a remarkable combination of three merchant houses built in 1362, with passages and secret stairways that link the different floors. The contemporary décor is the perfect foil for magnificently-restored period features, such as the ceiling frescoes rediscovered under fourteen layers of wallpaper and the wooden crane once used to hoist supplies into the house. This fascinating abode attracts celebrities and royal families. Restaurant Bordoo is the perfect place for a late breakfast, a leisurely lunch or a gourmet dinner paired with one of the many wines from its cellar. ...Read more


Relais Santa Croce - Italy, Florence
Hotel and restaurant in town
The former Ciofi Jacometti Palace in the heart of Florence, restored in a manner that faithfully respects its architecture and original frescoes, is home to the Relais Santa Croce. It is an ideal setting, both charming and intimate, just a stone’s throw from the city’s main attractions. The magnificent rooms and suites with views of the rooftops and Basilica combine period furniture with contemporary design, elegant details and a sumptuous finish. The attentive, impeccable service gives the impression of being welcomed into a private residence. The restaurant Guelfi e Ghibellini offers a seasonal menu that skilfully combines tradition and innovation. ...Read more


Terme Manzi Hotel & Spa - Italy, Casamicciola Terme - Ischia Island
Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in a village
Located on the magical island of Ischia, in the village of Casamicciola, the Terme Manzi Hotel & Spa is an architectural gem built in the 19th century. This elegant and sophisticated palace, with its beautiful furnishings and decor, is where the mind and body become one to embrace the warm thermal waters of the Gurgitello Spring, well-known since antiquity for their regenerating, healing and therapeutic properties. They best combine with the fabulous qualities of organic volcanic clay for a revitalizing synthesis, the mud therapy. At all three restaurants, Grand Chef Nino Di Costanzo chooses from the genuine ingredients that the Ischian sea and countryside have to offer, creating dishes that bring together the great Mediterranean tradition with new Italian culinary creativity, and will take you on a journey to discover the “emotional cuisine”. ...Read more


Hotel & Spa A Quinta da Auga - Spain, Santiago de Compostela
Hotel and restaurant in town
A river runs round the estate and the majestic buildings dating back to the 18th century, which are near a magnificent wood, and have grounds that exude tranquillity. This is a natural, romantic escape within the World Heritage city of Santiago de Compostela, the final destination on the St James Way pilgrimage route, with an amazing historical town centre. The hotel’s restaurant offers regional delights, seafood and meat dishes. The spa is a haven for the senses and pure bliss for the mind and body. Enjoy a wide range of cultural, oenological and sailing activities. ...Read more


Hôtel & Spa Le Doge - Morocco, Casablanca
Hotel and restaurant in town
In the heart of Casablanca, discover the enchanting Le Doge, an elegant Art Deco residence. Erected in the 1930s, the building was commissioned by an Italian businessman as a gift to his wife, whom he had met in Morocco. Each of rooms and suites is dedicated to a different Art Deco artist giving each space its own unique ambience.The décor has been carefully hand-selected and admirers of the Art Deco style will be awed by the incredible collection of period pieces. The sophistication, elegance and refinement of Le Doge is palpable in its gourmet restaurant and its hanging garden, with the crowning glory of this exceptional hotel, with sweeping views over Casablanca’s beautiful Arab League park. ...Read more


Matakauri Lodge - New Zealand, Queenstown
Hotel and restaurant on a lake
On splendid, mysterious Lake Wakatipu, the cradle of ancient Maori legends and one of the most serene landscapes in the world, Matakauri Lodge offers stunning views of the mountain ranges. Each of the beautiful suites has a private porch, bedroom with sitting area and open fireplace, a walk-in wardrobe and bathroom. Eight of them are outlying, the three other are housed in the main lodge, which also boasts a spacious lounge, dining and living areas with views of the lake. A magnificent spa with pool, sauna and fitness centre all combine to make this the ideal retreat, just seven minutes from Queenstown. ...Read more


Le Sun Chine - China, Shanghai
Hotel and restaurant in town
Travel back in time to the heyday of Shanghai in the 1930s at Le Sun Chine, one of the few remaining historic dwellings from Shanghai’s French concession area. Listen to the gentle hum of ceiling fans and admire the period architecture with its columned balconies, antique furniture, embroidered hangings and high ceilings. Once the home of Shanghai’s famous Sun family, and listed as a historic site by the local government, the building has been lovingly restored. Each of the 1,200 furniture pieces were designed and crafted specifically for the hotel and the owner personally collected many of the antiques and books that line the shelves. The terraces, pool and exotic garden round off this living testimony to the turbulent history of the concessions in a truly unique atmosphere. ...Read more


Shreyas Retreat - India, Bangalore
Hotel and restaurant in the country
Dedicated to reflection, rejuvenation and self-discovery, Shreyas offers a seamless blend of the modern and the timeless, sumptuousness and simplicity, indulgence and enlightenment where guests can practice yoga without the austerity of an ashram. The small number of rooms preserves the intimacy and serenity of this large refuge. Welcomed by staff trained in yoga, guests can delve into sacred Indian texts, meditation and Ayurveda. Also on offer are yogasana, mantra meditation, deep relaxation, community volunteering, organic farming and revitalising massages. The cuisine is vegetarian and there is a no alcohol policy. A haven of peace for the perfect balance of body, spirit and soul. ...Read more


Ceylon Tea Trails - Sri Lanka, Colombo 2
Hotel and restaurant on a lake
Tea Trails is perched at an altitude of 1250 m in Sri Lanka’s Ceylon tea region, bordering the Central Highlands World Heritage site. Stay in one of four authentic tea planters’ bungalows, each one of which is unique, beautifully restored and decorated with period furniture. Observe life on a working tea estate, savour the gourmet cuisine, and be pampered by a personal butler. Each bungalow has its own charm; lakeside Castlereagh & Summerville, Norwood with panoramic views, and Tientsin, the most traditionally colonial of the four. This is the ideal setting for trekking and biking against the breathtaking backdrop of mountains, lakes, winding roads and waterfalls. ...Read more


Kobe Kitano Hotel - Japan, Kobe
Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in town
Kobe is the most cosmopolitan of Japanese cities. In the chic district of Kitano, foreigners who settled here from the 19th century onwards built residences in the style of their distant homelands. A French lifestyle is very much in evidence in this fine red brick building that is testimony to an entire chapter of Japan’s history. There is a courtyard and interior garden, elegant décor and, above all, the cuisine of Hiroshi Yamaguchi, who is skilled in the art of sublime dishes. On the menu is the famous fugu and its soft roe in crunchy potatoes, caramelised salsify and vegetable jus, or the incomparable Kobe beef in a salt crust. ...Read more


Aoyagi - Japan, Tokyo
Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux in town
Hirohisa Koyama has taken over the restaurant created by his grandfather on the island of Shikoku almost a century ago. Today Aoyagi is located in central Tokyo, but it is a calm and elegant hideaway with a graceful sense of Japanese incense and decoration. Well-known in France thanks to his popular book and lectures, Koyama is one of the greatest chefs in Japan. His cuisine is simple, good and beautiful, combining tradition and innovation. Life and experience are instilled in each dish to create gourmet stories rich in spirit. Always going forward, Koyama believes that the link between past and present must be continuity for change to happen. This is his philosophy of cooking. ...Read more


Bedford Post - United States, Bedford
Hotel and restaurant in the woods
Bedford Post, a genuine country inn located just an hour outside of Manhattan, is the ideal setting for a tranquil getaway. In the middle of pristine woodlands, this historic residence dating back to the 1780s now belongs to Richard Gere, his wife Carey Lowell and their partner Russell Hernandez. It treats its guests to a genuinely warm atmosphere and hospitality, an absolutely essential part of any stay at the Bedford Post. The pleasures of body and mind are attended to here with unremitting care. The Bedford Post offers infinite ways to relax, including yoga courses in the Yoga Loft, as well as more terrestrial delights in the property’s two restaurants. During the summer months, guests can enjoy al fresco dining at The Farmhouse which serves flavorful contemporary American cuisine while The Barn offers delicious brunches and breakfasts with homemade bread and cakes. ...Read more


Glenmere Mansion - United States, Chester
Restaurant and hotel in the country
This magnificent 150 acres estate sits in rolling farmlands overlooking the Catskill Mountains and Glenmere Lake. One hour from New York City, the sumptuous hotel and newly-opened Spa boasts the finest linens, furniture, a private modern art collection and spectacular gardens designed by landscape architect Beatrix Farrand. In the two restaurants, chefs offer a wealth of dishes featuring local farm produce. The picturesque gardens, pool, tennis, bocce and croquet courts make this the ultimate romantic Hudson Valley getaway… though you might think you are in Tuscany! ...Read more


Westglow Resort and Spa - United States, Blowing Rock
Hotel and restaurant in the mountains
Westglow Resort and Spa is an elegantly restored Greek Revival Mansion in the heart of a fabulous 42-acre estate with panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the former residence of the famous artist and author Elliott Daingerfield. The exquisite accommodation comprises impeccably decorated guest rooms and the award-winning spa provides an extensive array of indulgent treatments. In the restaurant, Rowland’s, the cuisine is sophisticated and the atmosphere delightful. ...Read more


Addison - United States, San Diego
Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux on a golf course
Over the years, Addison Restaurant has established itself as one of the finest culinary experiences in California. Grand Chef William Bradley’s artisanal approach to cooking, based on an admiration for French cuisine, draws inspiration from the seasons. Ever attentive to the purity of flavours, he enhances the products by drawing on their inherent properties. The collection of 36,000 bottles of wine, under the enlightened direction of Elizabeth Huettinger includes twenty special cuvees crafted with winemakers from across the globe. The wine and food pairings are in perfect harmony with the elegant and refined service. ...Read more


Villa María Cristina - Mexico, Guanajuato
Hotel and restaurant in town
Located on the most elegant boulevard in Guanajuato, this delightful 19th century French townhouse offers splendid views of the La Bufa mountain. The suites boast high ceilings, large windows and beautiful paintings and murals by local artists Jesus Gallardo and Gorki Gonzalez. The restaurant, bar and wine cellar are superb and there is an exceptional spa. The Villa María Cristina is a veritable jewel in the heart of Mexico. ...Read more


Lapostolle Residence - Chile, Santa Cruz
Hotel and restaurant in a vineyard
Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle, great-granddaughter of the creator of Grand Marnier, has chosen to develop the project Viña Lapostolle in Chile. The gravitational winery and Lapostolle Residence are nestled in the hills, with spectacular views of the Colchagua Valley. This unique setting, marked by a respect for nature, a cutting-edge design and a taste for quality, invites you to experience Lapostolle. A dedicated team of chefs prepares a special menu for each wine, with fresh produce that enhances the flavors of Chile, using organic vegetables from our garden and seasonal products of the highest quality. Awakening to the sounds of nature, yoga classes, biking through the vineyards and trekking the trails of our native forests are a good complement to the activities linked to wine, beginning with a visit and private tasting in our winery. ...Read more