Annie Cannock discovers a Provençal paradise ideal for newlyweds looking for a change of pace
Flying into Nice airport is something to behold, in the space of five minutes your view of snow-capped mountains is replaced by the metropolitan coastline and bright topaz sea. Thinking it can't get better than that view, it only took a short 45-minute car journey to prove me wrong. Weaving through the French countryside with gorgeous vistas everyway you looked, nothing could quite prepare me for arriving at Terre Blanche and driving through the grand gates into a gorgeous eco-paradise. Spanning an impressive 750 acres, there are 115 spacious suites and villas making up the central section of the resort. Each is decorated in contemporary Provençal style promising a personalised service in luxury comfort, including top-of-the-range amenities such as a high-speed internet, flatscreen multimedia consoles, and gorgeous complimentary toiletries exclusively created by Fragonard. My favourite features of the suite, however, was the large terrace and super-cosy bed, which is just what you need after a long day languishing in beautiful surroundings. When it comes to your honeymoon Terre Blanche brings together a slew of options to keep even the most indecisive of couples happy.
For the zen-seeker
Just a short buggy ride from the main hotel, Terre Blanche's award-winning spa is a great place to start your search for relaxation. Featuring an indoor 28-metre pool, outdoor vitality pool, sauna, laconium, hammam, fitness room, and a wide variety of classes lead by personal trainers including aqua-biking, yoga and pilates, there plenty of ways to blow off some steam. I first headed upstairs to enjoy a massage with one of the spa's signature oils, Island Flowers, which relaxed me immediately. Feeling light as a cloud I floated back downstairs to the Infusion Tea Room to pick up a drink and light snack before taking some time to sit in the garden and kick back with a book.Also ensure you check out the impressive 600sqm al fresco infinity pool in the heart of the hotel, which looks out over the surrounding countryside. A total30 luxury cabanas surround the pool and there's even a cocktail bar, if the mood takes you there.
For the foodie
If there is one thing to be sure of here you'll never leave hungry. For one Michelin star, contemporary French gastronomy, opt for Le Faventia, Or alternatively, Le Gaudina is idea for couples wanting a more informal atmosphere while dining on fare from the local area. Located next to the infinity pool, Le Tousco offers buffet-styled grilled cuisine in a tranquil environment. Located within the Clubhouse, Les Carobiers, boasts views over the golfing greens and serves a varied lunchtime menu.Finally, the recently added Le Patio is an informal, outside dining space in the courtyard adjacent to Le Gaudina, which is open all season for breakfast and in July and August for your evening meal.If you and your beau share a love for rosé then a visit to Le Château d'Esclans is a must! With gorgeous wines, some from vines that are over 80-years-old, there is plenty to learn about the labour of love that goes into crafting each of the filled bottles.
For the sports enthusiast
An avid golfer will know Terre Blanche as an award-winning European Tour Destination, which boast two 18-hole championship golf courses, Le Riou and Le Château. But beyond this this there is also the popular Albatros Golf Performance Centre, which uses state-of-the-art technology to help you improve your game.Don't miss the chance to take a lesson or score juice on one of the day or night courts, which are open from 7am to 9pm everyday don't worry if you've left your equipment at home rackets and balls are available upon request.
For the family
If you're opting for a family-moon then Terre Blanche is a dream come true. There's an exciting kid's club, which runs throughout the season boasting many activities including beekeeping, an introduction to golf and picnics with the resort's resident donkeys. There's no need for the teens to feel left out either with options to go to Aqualand, Laserquest, horse riding and the treetop rope park. Your little ones can also enjoy a parent-free dinner at La Pitchion, which is an extension of Le Tusco and provides Mediterranean buffet options specifically designed by a dietitian to ensure a balanced but equally delicious meal.
For the explorer
There's also a wealth of activities beyond the resorts boundaries from hiking to biking, guided buggy tours and more you can set your own adventure at your own pace. A selection of bikes, including road, mountain and electric, can all be hired from the hotels concierge; or if that's not your thing you can always visit Saint Cassien Lake where you can relax on the beach or partake in a range of water sports such as canoeing and paddle boarding or take a leisurely pedalo ride. For the more extreme daredevils out there, take a trip to The Verdon Canyon. The deepest gorge in France is famous for its striking vistas and crystal waters, hike up the circular trail or take it all in via boat or kayak.
Why not experience the local culture by visiting one of the region's markets? On my trip the destination was the perched village of Fayence, which was founded in the Middle Ages. The bustling, colourful market is situated in the church square and features a variety of different stalls boasting local produce and trinkets. While in the village be sure to visit the delightful La France restaurant trust me you won't be disappointed.Must-dos
- Indulge in a honeymoon treat and order breakfast to your room where you'll be able to enjoy the view as you eat on the sunny terrace.
- Seek your own adventure there is plenty of ground for you to cover at the resort so pull on your walking shoes and investigate.
- If you're in Provence from the last week of June to August, you'll be able to bask in the glorious sight and scent of the romantic lavender fields.
For more information, visit www.terre-blanche.com/en
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