This fabulous building, built in 1745, stands in the old heart of La Rochelle. An immense amount of thought has gone into its renovation, and manager Lise is brimming with ideas as to how they can go the extra mile. Sweep up grand stairs to a marble fireplace and muted grey walls, a long polished dining table and a rococo-esque chandelier. Bedrooms are colour coordinated right down to the paintings; most have sofabeds for children, all but one have bath tubs crafted from wood, and one bathroom’s doors open to a patio and salty sea air. Tread the ancient cobbles, sample the local aperitifs, catch a boat to the marvellous Ile de Ré.