A hotel of contrasts: big yet small; hotel and restaurant; perspex by thick curtains; Mediterranean by the Atlantic. The new owners, the delightful Anne and Frédéric, her happy-chef husband, have been running the highly regarded restaurant at L’Océan for ten years. Having left Paris to bring their children up in cleaner air and live a less frenzied life, they now feel completely at home on Ile de Ré and love pointing guests towards its treasures. Set back from the street in a quiet little town, the Océan has 29 bedrooms in sixes and sevens, each cluster with individual flavour, some round a courtyard pungent with rosemary and lavender, some tiny cottages among the hollyhocks. Children love the curtained cabin bed set in a buttercup-yellow alcove. Two new rooms in a wing are large and colonial looking, with super bathrooms (not all with showers) and a calm cool feel. Floors are covered in matting; ships, lighthouses and shells are dotted around against soothing colours. The dining room is another success in cream and palest green-grey. After your apéritif, dinner will involve fresh fish and herbs.