Domaine de la Baume, Tourtour

I’m not sure I want to tell you about Domaine de la Baume… This hidden hillside hotel feels like the best kept secret in Provence and is certainly the most magical hotel I have been to in this part of the world. Recently refurbished, my grandparents visited a few years’ ago and have gushed about the idyllic setting and sensational food ever since.

This 18th-century Provençal house is the former home of expressionist artist Bernard Buffet, and painterly memories of his life hang on the walls. Just three kilometres from the village of Tourtour (known as one of the most beautiful villages of France) it is hard not to instantly fall in love with the area. However, you will need a car to reach la Baume, and with only a tiny discreet signpost it is cleverly concealed and almost impossible to find.

The traditional yellow house is located amongst 99 acres of lush land, where a spectacular waterfall is found and the hotel’s olive oil is made. Domaine de la Baume is part of the Sibuet Hotels group and I was impressed to discover how involved the family are in the running of the group. Jocelyne Sibuet is the interior designer for all the hotels and she curates every item personally. She also runs the beauty brand, Pure Altitude, which is used through the bathrooms and spas.

The hotel has 15 rooms and suites, each with its own personality and style. Despite the rustic façade, the inside of the hotel is grand with period-style rooms. We were in the Torero suite downstairs and enjoyed the spacious but cosy feel of the bedroom and living space, equipped with discreet technology (flatscreen TV hidden behind a mirror) and comfortable furniture. The windows open out to wonderful views and aesthetically offer lots of natural light and fresh air. I loved the ensuite bathroom with a lovely big bath and powerful shower. I slept blissfully well at la Baume, catching up on sleep after an extremely busy summer.

There is plenty to do on site, make use of the tennis court and outdoor swimming pool, or simply walk around the Provençal gardens. But should you wish to venture further afield the staff are on hand to give suggestions of the local markets and exciting day trips. Nearby towns Tourtour and Aups are well worth seeing, or drive a little further to the famous Gorges du Verdon for some spectacular sights.

All guests are half-board (breakfast and dinner) which allows you to relax, and very soon after arriving la Baume felt like home. General Manager Davide ensures everyone is looked after and pampered during his or her stay, a trip to la Baume feels special. The chef François Martin and his wife Elodie as Pastry Chef take control of the kitchen and produce the finest food. On the first night we had dinner on the terrace, a beautiful view and starry sky ahead of us. The food is of the highest quality; exemplary produce is treated with respect and care by François. The predominantly Provençal dishes are created with skill and thought. Aubergine caviar to start and a prime but dainty cut of beef for main, with a very special rich meaty sauce.

On our second day at la Baume we were lucky enough to dine at the chef’s table in the kitchen, it was a magical and memorable lunch. My favourite dishes included an unusual purple risotto made with venere rice, ceps, olives and parmesan. It was a comforting bowl of buttery earthy food, and silence fell over the table as we devoured it. Little portions of exquisite meat and fish followed; pork that tasted too tender to be pork, beef that was wonderfully rich yet lean, and sauces that were good enough to drink. Everything looked beautiful and the smells of the kitchen surrounded us. The meal was paired with the Sibuet hotel’s Villa Marie wine, particularly delicious with the selection of local cheeses.

Secluded and stunning, Domaine de la Baume provides the perfect Provençal getaway. The service is quietly meticulous, the setting is sublime, and the food is better than you could ever imagine. Looking out of my window in rainy London, the stay I enjoyed at this fairytale house now seems like a distant dream.

More information and book a stay at Domaine de la Baume here.