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Hotel Villa Grand Voile in La Rochelle: the expert opinion of Le Figaro

Main Sail Villa

Place : France, La Rochelle

12 rue de la Cloche, 17000 La Rochelle, France

Price :from 170 € / night – double room basis

The opinion of Le Figaro


This is a boutique hotel that has no stars. Its excellence bears the Relais & Châteaux stamp. Admittedly, it does not have a restaurant within it. But the two fantastic restaurants of Christopher Coutanceau, the triple Michelin star in his name and the marine bistro La Yole de Chris, are located a few steps away. Moreover, there is nothing to prevent you from enjoying your room service cuisine in your room or by the pool on the patio. The cook and his partner Nicolas Brossard, master of the house and sommelier emeritus, have created in this former 18th century shipowner’s house, a holiday resort apart, in La Rochelle.

The situation


You can get there on foot from the SNCF station, which is quite close. But you may prefer to be driven there. The hotel has taken over a former shipowner’s house from 1715 in a peaceful little street in the old town, not far from Concurrence beach where the gastronomic restaurant Christopher Coutanceau and the bistro La Yole de Chris are located. A confidential address, behind the beautiful white stone facade and blue shutters, and the monumental sculpted porch.
Villa Main Sail, 12 rue de la cloche, 17000 La Rochelle. Such. : 05 46 44 81 14.

The decor


The La Rochelle architect Bertrand Pourrier signs the decoration of the bar all in gold and royal blue. The Mur-Mur agency that of the rooms. Art deco and contemporary design come together in a subtle blend of audacity and harmony evoking the ocean. The entrance hall evokes a private mansion with the reception positioned on the side so that the view immediately focuses on the volumes, the beautiful white and black checkerboard tiling, the monumental chandelier, and the door opening onto the landscaped patio into a providential garden with swimming pool and palm trees. It is also the view that we have from the breakfast room under the glass roof designed as a winter garden. The old wooden parquet in the corridors brings a classy effect, as does the wooden staircase climbing the two floors of the house with unequal steps depending on the height under the ceiling (there is also an elevator). In this U-shaped building around the patio, many windows let in the light, which draws shadows on the monochromatic walls.

The bar designed by Bertrand Pourrier, the same architect from La Rochelle as for the interior of the Christopher Coutanceau restaurant. Sylvie Curty / Press Photo

The rooms


The hotel has eleven rooms and suites. Most open onto the patio, some have windows facing the street (but there is little traffic). All are personalized. Between the thick walls, the decor is elegant and refined with contemporary furniture. Fantasy is on the walls. In some rooms, their immaculate whiteness or midnight blue hue alternates with wallpaper featuring deep-sea flora or fauna motifs. In others with pretty painted wooden planks at the headboard, like in ours, the Langoustine, with old white wooden floors, with a view of the patio. On the desk is the chef’s book on the fishing seasons and food and wine pairings by Nicolas Brossard. Built-in cupboard with plenty of storage (other bedrooms have openwork racks). Silk soft bedding. Television, minibar, safe. Independent toilets. All bathrooms are equipped with shower. Original: in the Tourteaux room it is at the foot of the bed. The two signature suites also have a bathtub. One room is accessible to people with reduced mobility, located on the 1st floor, it is the Saint Jacques. The welcome products are signed Biosalines. This brand of 100% natural shampoos and solid soaps (seaweed, glasswort, the same ingredients as in Coutanceau’s cuisine), was launched on the Ile de Ré by former pharmacists from La Rochelle.

Guided tour of the Main Sail Villa

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Service and equipment


Impeccable, the service is discreet, efficient and personalized. A valet can pick you up when you get off the train, park your car in the garage behind the hotel or take you to the two Coutanceau-Brossard restaurants. If you are on foot, a car can be made available on request. As well as bicycles. The breakfast which will be discussed below is served under the glass roof as well as on the terrace or in the room. In the patio, a heated outdoor swimming pool surrounded by a safety barrier is open for swimming from April to October. Toddlers benefit from a remarkable welcome and equipment designed to lighten the mental load of parents (travel beds, high chair, diaper bins, bottle warmer, etc.). Finally, the young, dynamic and local team gives advice worthy of a tourist office on what to see and do in La Rochelle and the surrounding area, right down to booking for you.

  • Bar
  • Handicap access
  • Car park
  • Pool

At the table and at the bar


You have never had breakfast. Christopher Coutanceau offers an immersion in his marine universe as soon as you wake up. The fisherman cook wrote it on the website, but when you see it on the table, you’re amazed. Obviously, we can have more classic tastes. But the taste experience is a journey. The day we came, there were special oysters n°3 Gillardeau and Kristal Kaviari caviar on the menu, accompanied by a Menetou Salon white wine from Pierre Clément and Taittinger champagne, Folies de la Marquetterie, in addition to scrambled eggs. with line-caught smoked fish “by [leurs] care”. We will not mention the seaweed puff pastry, nor the seaweed-lemon Madeleine, to die for. Breads, pastries, everything is homemade… So, of course, the hotel does not have a restaurant. But it is headed by a three-star Michelin chef and a master sommelier, what luxury! Their food and wine pairings can be enjoyed on unique tableware that inspires the view, before the palate, by the pool or under the glass roof, with the same menu as the two establishments on Concurrence beach. For an atmosphere, or a quiet time, depending, the hotel bar offers an intimate place reserved for guests of the Villa Grand Voile, with a drinks menu concocted by Nicolas Brossard.

The kitchen of Christopher Coutanceau. Philippe Vaure/Press Photo

Value for money


From 170 euros per night for a small room in low season, it’s not excessive at this level of excellence. We won’t quibble over the €42 for breakfast. But maybe over the 35€ parking for the night. The establishment offers several “packaged” offers including the experience of the Christopher Coutanceau restaurant: from €1,080 per night for two with a gourmet meal.


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