We recently chanced upon a very special hideaway in Normandy, one of those rare places that scores a perfect 10 in every category. Dreamy, design-led interiors? Check. Delicious food? Check. Sublime setting? You can’t get any better than this. The Domaine Saint Clair—a restaurant and 21-room housed in an Anglo-Norman style castle and villa—is perched on a hill above the town of Etretat with views all the way to the turquoise sea and crashing white-water surf.
When you first see the luminous white cliffs at Etretat on Normandy’s coast, you’ll immediately recognize the dramatic stone arches: a favorite plein air setting for Impressionist painters like Claude Monet who were mesmerized by the light. (See one of Monet's paintings here.) From the restaurant’s dining room, you can marvel at the sea while blissing out over cuisine made with ingredients hand-picked from the on-site garden.
The Domaine Saint Clair is a favorite spot for well-heeled Parisian weekenders, and a chic crowd hangs out on daybeds by the pool, sipping Champagne-based aperitifs and nibbling on amuse bouches (porcelain spoons full of tiny shrimp, tapenade slathered on miniature blinis). The interiors are dreamy, with designer furniture and splashes of brilliant color. This is *the* place to dine for Sunday lunch.
Tip: Don’t be fooled by the three-star hotel rating. Technically, the hotel doesn’t have some of the facilities (full-service spa, elevator access) required by the French government for a higher rating, but its luxury is found in the details. Top digs: With windows framing impressive vistas, the fabulous Sarah Bernhardt room is the only Junior Suite Superior and comes equipped with a Jacuzzi, hammam, and walk-in dressing room.