Chateau de Maulmont
Auvergne is sort of a remote region, but once you are there, you will find many interesting venues and activities. Chateau de Maulmont is one of them, especially for smaller groups who require privacy. This extraordinary place, built in 1830 by Louis Philippe for his sister Adélaïde, has long views and architecture: medieval crenellations, 16th-century brick patterning, Loire-Valley slate roofs, neo-gothic windows, even real Templar ruins – a cornucopia of character. The Dutch owners provide endless activities (golf driving range, riding, swimming, rowing on the pond) and cultivate a certain ‘formal informality’ .They have preserved original features – carved inside shutters, the old spit, the astounding banqueting hall with its stained-glass portraits of Adélaïde in various moods – and collected some stunning furniture. Bedrooms go from small to very big, from plain honest comfortable with simple shower room to draped and four-postered château-romantic with marble bathroom (the luxe rooms are worth the difference). And do visit the King,s Room, a round blue and white (original paint) “tent” in a tower, for a brilliant whisper-to-shout effect. Dining rooms are tempting, there are evening entertainments – wine-tasting, music, spit-roast dinner and staff are alert and eager.