Our travelling photographer Joann Pai brings us to Royal Champagne, an elegant, newly renovated hotel by a renowned architect, with world class cuisine and a lavish spa.
There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the re-opening of Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa in Champillon. Originally a 19th century Post House where Napoleon has passed through, the new, modernist extension was designed by local architect Giovanni Pace, who’s known for his work at the renowned champagne house of Moët & Chandon and more recently Champagne Janisson & fils.
We arrived just as the sun was beginning to set over the picturesque vineyards. It felt only natural to pop a bottle of their Leclerc Briant champagne and enjoy this breathtaking view from our terrace to property kickoff our weekend here. On our way to dinner, we took a stroll around the property and realized that all rooms, including common areas, were designed to soak up this spectacular view. The bottom floor is reserved for the spa and an indoor and outdoor pool facing the vineyard. The top floor holds their 2 restaurants, a bar, and a rooftop dining area that stretches with length of the new building. With the property built mostly with local quartz stones and glass, we felt really connected to the surrounding landscape.
Michelin star chef Jean-Denis Rieubland, who hails from the 2-star Restaurant Negresco in Nice, oversees both restaurants, Le Bellevue and gastronomic Restaurant Le Royal. We had the pleasure of enjoying the signature menu at Le Royal. The first dish – crab, caviar, mango and citrus fruit marmalade with kaffir lime already blew our minds. Flavors were very fresh and delicate. Followed by Turbot with seaweed butter, artichokes, baby carrots, Solferino of seasonal vegetables, and the main meat course Veal sweetbread stuffed with chorizo, fricassee of girolles, caramelised pearl onions, Xérès jus. Both exquisite. Then to finish the meal, a light fig meringue tart. The meal was perfection from beginning to end. We have no doubt that Michelin stars will follow shortly.
The next day, we took advantage of the beautiful fall weather and took a ride around nearby villages on their electric bikes then enjoyed the outdoor pool. In the early evening, we headed down to Leclerc Briant’s 25bis in Epernay for a tasting. Leclerc Briant was the first to completely transform the champagne house to biodynamic production. We left very impressed with the selection we tasted- they were all quite complex, full bodied, rich. Our favorite was the cuvee divine. We return to the hotel for a last evening swim. With Champagne being only 40 minutes away from Paris by train, we wondered why we haven’t spent more time in this beautiful region.