Recently we had an intense road trip around Charente Maritime to see whether the region would be the right location for our French House project. We needed an overnight stay and the closest to a luxury boutique hotel that I could find was Hotel Chais Monnet & Spa.
From 200 Euros
Hotel Chais Monnet Spa is in the center of Cognac
The hotel is situated just a short stroll away from Cognac center and its main attractions, including the historic Chateau de Cognac and the Cognac Museum.
You get to the hotel via a boring city road but through a majestuous porch which opens onto the parking area. This was certainly clean and tidy but felt more like an office car park.
Indeed, nobody came out to welcome us or to help with our luggage although I’m sure that if we had loads we could have just asked them to pick them up for us.
Not the personal style we like
The hotel is a restored 19th-century cognac factory. There is a classic looking mansion house next to the car park, which I don’t think is hosting any bedrooms, but the rest is a modern reinvention. The metal sculptural outside structure at the spa reminded me of Hotel Marques de Riscal in Spain.
The hotel is large and feels quite corporate as you walk in. This is confirmed by the bedrooms, all very similar and with the kind of standard furniture that doesn’t have much personality.
We were lucky enough to be upgraded from a Premier room to a Premier with terrace, which was essentially the same but with an outdoor space. In our case, the outdoor space was a green area with a table and chairs, which could be a nice spot in the summer. The room itself had all the necessary amenities, but unfortunately lacked charm. My favourite part of the room was the bathroom, with its pale green tiles and distressed mirror. The shower was also big and very pleasant.
Hotel Chais Monnet Spa restaurant: maybe the gastronomic restaurant is better
The one Michelin star restaurant, Les Foudres, was closed during our stay, so we ate at the brasserie. The modern space attempted to create a warm atmosphere, but the vastness of the space detracted from it. The food was fine, but nothing special.
Breakfast was a nice spread, and they could cook eggs, pancakes, and waffles to order. Unfortunately, we couldn’t try the jazz bar or the patisserie café, as they were only open at the weekend.
The Chais Monnet rooftop area with great views of the city must be a pleasant place to enjoy a drink in the summer though.
The spa at Chais Monnet Cognac was underwhelming
The spa is in a separate building, which is also where you’ll find the treatment rooms and the fitness room as well as the roof terrace. I suspect there are also big meeting rooms there.
The indoor heated pool was of a good length and one end opened outside. Unfortunately during our stay, it was very cold and even the jacuzzi was just about warm. There is a sauna, steam room and a fun experience shower with different colours, temperatures and sound effects.
A bit of background music attempted to create some atmosphere which otherwise was lacking. More comfortable lounge chairs, a dimmer lighting, maybe some scented candle could have created a better sense of relaxation. There was a relaxing darker lounge where we could help ourselves to tea, but the paper cups again didn’t feel very luxurious.
We didn’t look into other activities as we were only staying for one night.
Hotel Chais Monnet and Spa – our overall opinion
It’s always a sign when I’m not tempted to take tons of photos of a hotel. While the staff at Hotel Chais Monnet Spa was lovely and the hotel has all the amenities that you may request – including a good business center – the hotel struck us as catering more towards business travellers or seminars than tourists. Maybe the experience is different in the summer, with more sun and greenery, but we can’t say we will rush back.