Capelongue, Provence: laidback luxe and full of French charm – Evening Standard

Cathy Hawker finds elegant simplicity with a deft touch at the latest Beaumier opening
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
Capelongue, Provence
h Provence. Land of olive groves and vineyards where hazy days pass in a blissful, lavender-scented blur of markets and medieval hilltop villages. This is the backdrop to Capelongue, a hotel overlooking Bonnieux in the ‘triangle d’or’ of the oh-so-peaceful Luberon.
The hotel is owned by Beaumier, formerly known as Les Hotels d’en Haut, a brand whose eight hotels across France aim for an assured air of laidback luxe mixed with heritage, nature and soul. Full of French charm, Capelongue ably reflects the appeal of one of the country’s most loved regions.
Where is it?
Capelongue is a five-minute stroll from the village of Bonnieux, deep in the rural and seasonal Luberon where exceptional countryside is punctuated with honey-coloured stone properties. By car, it’s one hour from Avignon, forty minutes from the TGV station in Aix-en-Provence and one hour from Marseille airport with the Luberon hotspots of Gordes, Lourmarin, Ménerbes, Roussillon all close at hand.
From the hotel, there are dreamy views over Bonnieux and across the heavily wooded valley towards Lacoste. You might be sixty minutes from Marseille but you’re a million miles from full-on city life.
Style
Capelongue is a hamlet of low-level stone buildings collected around a village square that, after refurbishment completed in 2022, screams Provence (but screams it quietly of course). Outside it’s all terracotta roof tiles, densely planted gardens and gentle fountains with chairs and tables hidden throughout the grounds, the perfect place to enjoy a morning café au lait or an evening glass of chilled rosé. Interiors are an artfully casual take on ‘French bastide chic’. Wicker chairs and benches and earthenware jugs mix in with crisp linen sheets, generously sized toiletries and an unfussy palette: elegant simplicity with a deft touch.
Facilities
There are two outdoor swimming pools, one heated with a separate shallow children’s pool, a small well-equipped gym, again with a lovely view, and a small spa with treatment rooms, hammam and outdoor jacuzzi. Outdoor yoga classes are held year-round and there’s an open-air cinema in peak season. A library carries a fabulous range of art books, mostly in French but absorbing in their variety and quality.
Extra Curriculum
As a jumping off point to explore the Luberon, Capelongue is ideal. This is traditional France at its most rurally alluring. Spend your days roaming the hilltop villages, the ruined castle of the Marquis de Sade in Lacoste, the Insta-perfect beauty of Lourmarin and the lesser-known delight of Goult, stocking up on local produce, delicately scented soaps, honey, wine and herbs.
Travel a little further to visit Avignon, its famously half-destroyed bridge and the Gothic Palais des Papes, take in the antique and brocante markets of Isle-sur-Sorgue or tour the fountains and restaurants of Aix-en-Provence. This entire region is laced with the names of illustrious painters who came for its legendary light: Cezanne, Matisse and over in the Alpilles, Vincent van Gogh.
Cyclists come to climb Mont Ventoux, hikers power along well-trodden paths and there are golden opportunities to kayak and canoe.
Food & drink
Capelongue has two restaurants. La Bergerie, with its wide windows onto Bonnieux, serves up wonderful breakfasts with yoghurts, fresh fruit, eggs and overflowing bowls of pastries served at the table. La Bastide, in one of the oldest buildings on site, wears its one Michelin star lightly. This is where chef Noel Bérard serves up a delightful – and delightfully good value – menu of mostly local produce. Three bars, one by the heated pool, offer bar snacks, a full range of spirits and that fabulous local wine.
Which room?
Choose from 39 individual rooms and suites sleeping from 2 to 6 guests, some with baths and all with showers. Ones to bookmark include the pigeonnier, a romantic escape for two, room 606, a wonderfully private junior suite and 212, with its balcony and direct views to Bonnieux, cascading gently down the tree-filled slopes.
Best for…
Away from peak school holiday season, Capelongue is the base for couples, international tourists, most staying for three or four nights. While the lack of local bright lights and action might not suit all teenagers, in August the hotel fills with families, both from France and further afield, staying for up to two weeks.
The swift access from Marseille airport also makes this an easy choice for a weekend break. Arrive on Friday evening, dine in-house one night and walk down to the magnificent Le César restaurant in Bonnieux the next night (be prepared for a wonderful but lengthy service because the couple who work here do everything themselves) or head to supper in Lourmarin, 15 minutes by car, to Beaumier’s second Luberon property, Le Moulin, and fly back to London, refreshed for the week ahead.
Price
Rooms start from €350 a night including breakfast. This winter, Capelongue closes from November to March. Capelongue, 550 Chemin des Cabanes, 84480 Bonnieux; beaumier.com
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