Auberge Resorts Collection Adds 13th-Century Chateau in Southwest France

Auberge Resorts Collection has been selected to manage Domaine des Etangs, beginning in April 2023. Located in the town of Massignac, the 13th-century French chateau is just three hours by TGV train from Paris Montparnasse, near Cognac and Angouleme, and served by the Limoges airport nearby. This news kicks off Auberge’s expansion in Europe, which will be the brand’s focus for growth in 2023 and beyond.

First, some history: The property began as a fiefdom of the knights of Chasteigner de la Roche-Posay in the 1200s before undergoing a renovation in the 1860s that saw it converted into a family castle. It came into the lands of late French industrialist (and father of current owner Garance Primat) Didier Primat in the 1980s, before again undergoing a transformation into a luxury hotel in 2015. Its grounds cover 2,500 acres of preserved nature, spread between forests, meadows, gardens and lakes.

Today, Domaine des Etangs includes an Art Gallery in a former dairy barn, a wellness space built around the original works of the old mill, a thermal baths pool house and multi-story rooms carved out of restored 18th-century barns. The property also offers easy access to neighboring towns—from enjoying a drink on the terraces of the charming Massignac to shopping for porcelain in Limoges to touring the cognac cellars of Cognac and, farther south, the wineries in Bordeaux and Medoc.

Accommodations and Dining

Domaine des Etangs' Mercure Chambre

Guests staying at Domaine des Etangs have the option to stay among six individual Metairie Farmhouse Cottages; four multi-story suites, each decorated to reflect the seasons and offering private fireplaces, in the Longère (“longhouse”); and seven rooms and suites inside the main Chateau. On the main floor opening to the gardens, three lounge areas comprise an art-filled lounge for adults to socialize, a room with miniature bergere chairs designed specifically for children, and the Armagnac Lounge for age-appropriate guests to enjoy cognac and cigars. Upstairs, The Attic serves as a recreational hub, offering a large playroom equipped with lounge furniture, trunks filled with costumes and pool tables.

Located at the edge of the estate, Domaine des Etangs’ certified organic farm is home to more than 600 ginger-coated Limousin cows, while the spiral-shaped vegetable garden supplies Domaine’s kitchen with a variety of herbs, edible flowers, root vegetables, leafy greens, stem vegetables, aster vegetables and fruit vegetables. Nearby, the organic orchard grows varieties of fruit used in the hotel restaurant’s dishes.

One of the few fine dining restaurants in the region, Dyades offers both indoor and outdoor seating. The 40-seat restaurant serves refined French cuisine in an array of colorful dishes marked by local and seasonal ingredients. Tip: Farmhouse Cottage guests may opt for private dining inside their home, where meals are cooked by the chef; or, for those who love to cook themselves, the hotel staff will supply ingredients. Daily breakfast is prepared by the Domain chefs in the Chateau’s dining room and evening cocktails can be enjoyed in Chateau’s three salons and library or outside overlooking Le Moulin. Additionally, chef-prepared picnics by the pond are available to guests.

The Property

Domaine des Etangs Entrance foyer with art hung on the stone walls

Outside, guests can make use of six-plus miles of walking and biking trails. Complimentary welly boots equip guests with the appropriate attire for proper exploration—from farm tours and row boating on the pond to catch-and-release fishing and horse riding. A floating tennis court is also available for use on-site, while a nearby 18-hole golf course offers additional recreation. For a more relaxing experience, a heated outdoor pool next to the Chateau is open May to September. A children’s play area, located between the château and the vegetable garden, has three in-ground trampolines, a 50-foot zipline and a playscape with swings, slides, climbing structures and a giant chess board.

Beyond, paintings, installations and collected antiques decorate the halls and walls of the estate, while more formal exhibition spaces, like La Laiterie and The Past and the Future Libraries, are dedicated to spotlighting unique works of art. Lastly, a stroll across a stone bridge leads guests to a former mill by the water’s edge, which houses the resort wellness center, Moulin des Etangs. Inside this rustic refuge, still outfitted throughout with floor-to-ceiling hand-hewn cogs and levers that powered the former mill, there are five treatment rooms, including a triple suite designated for families. Back at the Chateau, the basement floor offers a tranquil space to relax and unwind in Gallo-Roman inspired thermal baths, an indoor pool and frigidarium.

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