Think of a Loire Valley hotel, and you will likely picture a centuries-old château with enfilade rooms, musty decor, and old paintings. The Loire Valley Lodges could not be further from that archetype — except for the location, right in the heart of the region.
Chateau hotels can be wonderful, but their rooms may come with drafts and antiquated plumbing, even if adapted to modern standards. In contrast, the Loire Valley Lodges was created as a collection of raised “tree houses” open to the forest canopy, with bedrooms decorated by contemporary artists.
Art in the forest
You may be familiar with the famous passage from Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, in which the author explains that “the real voyage of discovery” is about gaining “new eyes.” The popular version of that quote omits a vital point. Later in the passage, Proust pointed to great artists as people through whom we gain that new perspective. And the Valley Lodges hotel takes this wisdom to heart.
The common grounds of the hotel and the surrounding forest are studded with striking art installations. Nothing prepares the visitor for suddenly discovering a giant sculpture of a dog emerging from among the trees. One can also find an oversized skull blended with gilded butterflies by the main hotel building (formerly a farmhouse), a herd of metalwork deer, and a polar bear. And a fifteen-minute hike away, you’ll find a giant ant on the site of five dead oak trees, their trunks sticking from the center of a dark pond. All this makes the guests look at the surroundings with new eyes.
Loire Valley Lodges = Treehouses
The hotel’s eighteen lodges are raised on stilts, each with a unique style envisioned by a different artist. The decor uses pop-culture motifs, mid-century furniture, and original art pieces to create a deeply personal style.
One lodge’s minimal interior is a perfect canvas to display the ethereal photo prints of Cédric Porchez; the Lucien Suite is dedicated to Serge Gainsbourg’s music (turntable and vinyl records included). And there is a lodge featuring work from street artist JonOne, who used graffiti script on walls and furniture.
We stayed at the treehouse called Moodywood, decorated by French designer Cédric Marcillac. The curious details included a handmade lamp made from Barbie doll legs and fabrics with exotic Mexican pop-art.
Open to nature
The lodges are designed to bring the outside in. The bedroom has floor-to-ceiling windows, with a single sheet of glass making the massive wall opposite the bed. It made us feels like waking up in the forest canopy.
The lodges are also purposefully designed to provide a sense of disconnection. Our phones displayed no signal, and we finally got a break from those social media notifications — and from posting our Instagram stories from the stay, which we normally always do.