Ottrott, Alsace (France)
The more we travel together (11 countries and counting!) the more we see a big difference in the dog-friendly world: there are places where dogs are allowed, and others where they are bienvenus (the French for "welcome"). And I felt more than bienvenu at L'Hostellerie des Châteaux & Spa.
Alsace is a region dear to us for many reasons (including its beautiful villages, history, and... yes the food and wine) and we've stayed and visited L'Hostellerie before. So were excited to get to experience their renovated buildings and expanded spa area just before they officially opened, in June 2017.
L'Hostellerie des Châteaux & Spa ("hostellerie" is the French for "inn" and it takes its name from the two nearby castles) is located in the gorgeous old town of Ottrott, on the "Route des Vins" (Alsace Wine Road) - a favourite at House @lecorgi for its pretty coloured timbered houses, opportunities to go for walks, cuisine, and the "Rouge d'Ottrott" (one of the only red wines produced in Alsace).
The former mansion with an architecture from the 17th century is a family history: it was originally a B&B with six room where lived the parents of the current owners.
Managed by Sabine and Ernest Schaetzel, together with their children Aurélie and Guillaume, the 4-star wellness and gourmandise haven now boasts 67 rooms and suites, two restaurants, a bar and cigar lounge, spa and waterworld areas with free WiFi access.
Walking in via the corridors, which boast stunning views over the village and its church, we stayed in the one of the aptly named and very recently updated "Pure Alsace" Suites.
The suite is very spacious with a separate sitting area (and a dressing room that made Maman swoon), balcony (with view on the forest to die for), desk, a bathroom (with walk-in shower and jetted tub), TVs in both areas and separate toilet. It features electric curtains and traditional features from Alsace: wooden decorations throughout, carved chairs, heart tiles, and a local landscape for bed head to name a few. The humans were welcomed by some delicious little Kugelhopf cakes on the coffee table whilst I was delighted to find a sign for myself, two bowls, and a generous serving of biscuits.
The humans are ok to leave me (blissfully relaxing in the room) on my own when dogs are not allowed in a restaurant, however that was not the case here as all well behaved dogs are welcome in the gastronomic restaurant as well as the terrace. Here are some of the dishes they enjoyed, some of which I may have gotten to taste (these puppy eyes are hard to resist ;) ).
At the renowned “Le Gastronomique” gourmet restaurant, where we were served dinner on both nights, the chef Ernest Schaetzel creates refined dishes inspired by the rhythm of the seasons and local ingredients that pay tribute to gastronomic Alsacian cuisine and are enhanced by wines of the region. The cellar is overflowing with precious bottles of wines from Alsace and other regions of France. Some of the human's favourites included a tartare of fish, vol-au-vent with spaetzle (the traditional pasta from the region), selection of local cheeses and a Blackforest gâteau.
We had lunch on the terrace, in the shade, enjoying lighter dishes such as a chicken caesar salad with freshly toasted croûtons and homemade sorbet.
Breakfast, where I was also welcome, is served on a (grand) buffet (or in the bedrooms), with a mouth-watering selection of sweet and savoury dishes, warm and cold (everything you can think of from fruit salad to bacon and eggs, jams, cereals, cheese...), freshly pressed juices, teas, coffee and several types of delicious bread.
Le Spa & Pools
The only part of l'Hostellerie where dogs cannot go. The humans couldn't resist checking it out though (whilst I was taking a nap in the room) especially since we visited on the day the new indoor/outdoor pool was opening!
Available to guests, and visitors on reservation, the family-friendly waterworld area is composed of two indoor pools, one with jets, jacuzzi hot tub, family sauna, relaxation room and experience shower. An outdoors pool is also to open this Summer.
The wellness and spa area features an organic laconium, several saunas (some with sound and TV, Maman's favourite was the one with a vineyard feel) and Hammam steam baths (with sea salt and eucalyptus, amethyst...), infra-red heated seats, a relaxation room, ice fountain and serenity space with flotation beds. Treatments and massages are available in the therapy rooms and I was told the back massage was très relaxing.
We felt truly welcome and I received le royal treatment from all the personnel - from the receptionists to the spa therapists, maître de and barmen, and the owners (here I am pictured with Sabine) who are always available to their guests. I received so many cuddles and everybody was super nice and professional.
There is one very special member of the staff and that is Dompé, the gorgeous wired hair dachshund who I finally got to meet (on previous visits she was always on holidays!) and is often seen behind the reception counter or around the complex.
Le Woof - #Corguide Approved
Dogs are welcome in most areas of l'Hostellerie des Châteaux, at the exception of the spa.
A fee applies when a dog stays in the room, depending on the dog's size. It includes two bowls in the bedroom.
There are no restrictions in terms of size or breeds as long as the dog is well behaved.
The cutest four-legged receptionist, named after a famous Champagne brand, might make an appearance during your stay or even have a drink of water with you at the bar.
We absolutely loved our 3rd (and my 1st) stay and would definitely recommend it as a special treat or culinary break, with or sans chien!
The essence of Alsace, its food and gorgeous sceneries and architecture is encapsuled in the truly dog welcoming hotel.
One to seven-day packages are available and there are plenty of walks to enjoy in the area.
Hopla à bientôt l'Hostellerie des Châteaux... one day I will make the cut as chef :)
(#LeTip: when travelling with a dog, always contact the property before booking/visiting – most hotels listed on booking websites as “dog-friendly” have a limited number of rooms where dogs are allowed – and some including l'Hostellerie will offer better rates if contacted directly too!)
DISCLAIMER: We were invited to review the venue. All opinions are my and human’s own.