Hotel Review: Le Cep, Beaune
Burgundy has always been on my travel bucket list and to be honest, it was always too far to go from our hub Munich. While we would need more than a weekend on one side (too far for just two nights), I don’t feel there is an urge to stay for a week in the area. So it was perfect when I had one of the last available weekends in Lausanne before I left the office in Switzerland forever. Speaking of driving, Burgundy is a casual two-and-a-half hour’s drive from Lake Geneva and even comes with low highway fees as most of the time the route is being taken on national roads. So all in all, Lausanne and Geneva are perfect bases for your gateway to the gourmet capital of France, as Beaune is often referred to. Having never been to the real centre of France, I was super excited to see the rural parts of this vast country. If you are planning a trip to Burgundy, it is essential to know that you cannot pop up at most wineries as they need reservations in advance and as far as I heard you shouldn’t even think about visiting “Domaine de la Romanée-Conti” if you don’t have the Vitamin C to access it. So either become part of a group that has the privilege or be close to a local who knows the owner or also become friends with the owner and manager of the leading hotel in the capital town.
The property I am speaking of is the lovely Le Cep in the heart of Beaune. Beaune is a small and pretty town that – thanks to the wine production – has quite a history and a few sights to see. There is the Hotel Dieu which is an absolute go-to-museum to understand why the region has become so famous. After my stay in a typical Relais & Chateaux on the countryside, I decided to visit a local winery close to Vosne-Romanée (was also arranged by a contact person living in Burgundy) before I checked-in at the city’s leading place to stay. I could stop the car to unpack the luggage right in front of the entrance. Once I entered the hotel doors, I immediately felt how international this place was: “Good Evening Sir” – the French approach disappeared, and I felt as I just checked in at a Four Seasons when they called me by my last name before I could even hand over my ID or credit card. I was impressed and after having met the Managing Director who also owns the property that’s exactly how he plans to stand out with Le Cep. While most hotels in France are incredibly unique in terms of layout and interior, this one comes with the most flawless service seen in France together with The Peninsula in Paris.
I couldn’t even get a closer glimpse of the lobby when I was already asked to hand over the car keys and let the porter help me with my suitcase. Seconds later I was already walking towards the room through the pretty courtyards – of course, I was accompanied just as you would expect from a hotel of this calibre. My room was situated in one of the recently refurbished buildings behind the restaurant and close to the newly added wine cellar. We walked up to the stairs, and the room was already on the left side. Once the porter opened the door, it was clear. I was upgraded to their highest room category: The Nectar Suite. It is to say that the hotel has many various styles of interior and mostly guests can choose what kind of style they prefer. Since I was not paying attention and didn’t mind what room they would allocate me in, I was totally happy and absolutely loved the refreshed style of the suite. Overall I felt like this was the perfect balance between the historical Beaune and a touch of modern French design.
My suite had a spacious bedroom with a separate toilet next to the fireplace and lots of wardrobe space in front of the bed where there was also a minibar and coffee machine as well as a writing desk with two armchairs next to it. In the heart of the room was the heavenly king bed. Right next to the bed was the access to the spacious bathroom that had a double vanity desk with toiletries by a local grape-focussed skincare brand, a Jacuzzi bathtub as well as a hydrotherapy shower cabin with excellent water pressure. There were plenty of towels, and they even replaced the used towels during turndown service which was done while I was having dinner. Housekeeping did an incredible job, the entire hotel was flawlessly clean, and I loved the many welcome amenities and bottles of water (finally also a bottle of sparkling water) each guest receives when coming to the room. I even enjoyed a good bath before I left the next morning which was a wonderful treat.
Later that day I had the chance to see more of the hotel and went on a tour with the Manager. He showed me the recently added spa with really lots of toys and amenities to be booked at an extra charge. There is also a sauna and a steam bath, however, there is a small fee to use it to provide the privacy demanded. Furthermore, I absolutely fell in love with the new wine cellar which for sure had some fantastic highlights from local celebrity wine producers, and there was a possibility to book private wine tastings with the sommelier for a charge of 20 to 40 euros for a few glasses of wine from Burgundy (mostly Premier Cru). While I would have absolutely loved to test their wine tasting, I simply didn’t have a single minute of time. After the tour, I had a power shower to make it to dinner next door right on time: The one-Michelin-starred Loiseau des Vignes is located in the same building as the hotel (though accessible only via the street) but operated by the widow of legendary chef Bernard Loiseau.
A filling dinner later, I had a good night’s sleep and went to see the breakfast in either the breakfast room or the Louisiana room (indeed named after the US state yes). Generally, most of the guests come from all over the world rather than France only as in most other hotels in the French countryside. This is why the staff is exceptionally well trained to meet the most discerning requests and is a par above the rest of the luxury hotels in other corners of the country. Breakfast service was outrageous with a small but beautiful buffet, serving only the highest quality products. I asked for scrambled eggs and was offered a very delicious egg dish minutes later. For me, nothing was missing and it was so much to eat that I didn’t even have lunch that day. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how well this property is managed and honestly, Jean-Claude Bernard knows how to run a hotel successfully and treat staff most respectfully – although he hasn’t always been in the hospitality business. Thumbs up for Le Cep in Beaune, one of the best-managed hotels and definitely one of the Top10 hotels in France.
We were guests of Mr Jean-Claude Bernard and Hotel Le Cep Beaune for editorial purposes, however all above written expresses our own opinion and hasn’t been influenced.