It is very easy these days to find accommodation that suites our needs. There are hotels, inns, vacation rentals – we can even charter a houseboat. We can search by price, location, amenities, and style. Most of our choice meet our expectations and we are happy with them. Still, after a while all these places fade in our memory and we no longer remember much about them. But on occasion, we found a one-of-a-kind place that stays with us for years to come.
My accommodation search is usually different than for most travelers because I am using my strategy on traveling for free. Since I need to use points, miles, and credit card bonuses, my choices are often limited. For most lodging on my trip to Provence, France, I used my IHG credit card anniversary nights and points. Despite my limited choices, I am rather picky. For longer stays, I search for something unique and true to its location.
For my visit to Provence , I was determined to find at least one place that would reflect the charm of the region. I had a $500 opening bonus on my American Express card and I decided to use it for that purpose. I had a picture in my head of how the place should look. The closest match with my vision I found was Bastide de la Lezardiere in Fontaine de La Vacluse.
When I arrived, I felt I entered a picture postcard of Provence. The hotel’s internet pictures do not reflect how beautiful this property really is. Inside was equally impressive. I did not see any pictures of the interior before booking, so I was completely taken aback by the beauty I found there.
What Works for Families at Bastide de la Lezardiere
This beautiful hotel could be a destination on its own for an extended relaxing stay, but its location calls for more. It is situated in center of Provence and it could serve as a base for day trips around the region. Most major tourist attractions are nearby.
Village of Fontaine de La Vacluse itself is one of my favorite sites in Provence. There is nothing major to see there but the village is irresistibly charming. Shops, cafes, green winding streams, and high cliffs all come together to create a one-of-a -kind atmosphere. It seems like it was put together just for people to enjoy. An ancient paper mill adds to the overall charm of the village.
There are different types of units in the hotel. Mine had a combination of a spacious kitchen, dining, and living area with a sleeper sofa. There was one small bedroom and a nice modern bathroom. The kitchen had good size fridge and stove, and was fully stocked with pots, plates, silverware, even condiments. Outside there was a nice patio with a table and chairs.
For families, this arrangement works much better than a hotel room. It could be a big saving on food, even if you consider having just breakfast at your own patio. Two rooms instead of one is always a plus.
Just like all other hotels I stayed in during my trip to Provence, this one was spotless. Daily housekeeping was provided.
Perfect Mix of Old and New
The owners did a great job modernizing. They perfectly blended old and new to created functional and inviting space. To keep the cost down, they used some clever solutions like building a coffee table from plumbing pipes and reclaimed wood planks. AC is brand new and fully functioning. Wi-Fi is available and the signal is strong. I do not like to watch TV at home and practically never turn it on during my vacations, so I cannot tell if reception was good or bad, but I know there were two flat screen TVs in my unit. There was also a larger one in a common bar/game room area.
Again, the pool area was clean and very well maintained. There is a lot of space around it for kids to play, including a ping pong table. Sunset with the view of the mountains is gorgeous!
Children and Adults Can Interact with an International Crowd
The hotel is owned by two couples, each with two children. Other guests during my stay were from Belgium and Estonia – both families with kids. Bastide de la Lezardiere gave me a great opportunity to meet and socialize with people of other nationalities.
Safe and Secluded Location
Other than watching younger children when by the pool, you can let them run freely. The hotel is isolated from the road and the neighbors but offer good space for playing.
Stephane, the owner
If you ever imagined how charming French men could be, Stephane is a perfect example of it. Of the four owners, he is the only one who speaks English, so he is the face of the hotel. He is always available to help and chat. His knowledge of the area is impressive. From what he told me, he often creates entire vacation itineraries for guests who stay in his hotel.
What Does Not Work for Families
Breakfast is not included
It would be nice if breakfast was included but is seems to be a norm in Provence that it is not. I assume that in France in general, breakfast is available but needs to be purchased. At Bastide de la Lezardiere it costs $8 per person which is below average. American tourists would not consider it a full breakfast since there are no omelets, eggs etc. It is just a croissant and baguette, butter, jam, yogurt, and coffee or tea. With fresh delicious bread, it is still very tasty!
Grocery shopping somehow limited
Grocery shopping is not close by. That was actually my disappointment in Provence. I was expecting many little bakeries and locally owned grocery stores, but that was not the case. Sadly, they were replaced with supermarkets.
The Hotel is Not Easy to Find
You need to have GPS or a good map and preferably even directions from the owner to find the hotel. The entrance is not clearly marked. On the other hand, this seclusion adds to the hotel’s charm. Once you find it, you will not be disappointed!