The "Ile de Re" is a holiday island with beautiful beaches and a microclimate, which provides warmth but not excessive heat, in the summer. Despite this it is largely a French secret, enjoyed by Parisians during July and August.
A stylish bridge links the island to the nearby city of La Rochelle - a place that's easy to reach from the UK, thanks to a number of no frills airlines. Arguably the most attractive harbour on the island is at St Martin de Re - a historic fortified village, and there, right by the water is the five star, L'Hotel de Toiras, perfect for a romantic short break.
The hotel was originally a 17th century ship-owner's house and guests enjoy luxurious decadence, because although small, it is elegant with a high ratio of staff to clientele. All 11 rooms and nine suites bear the names of historical personalities and have period furniture, yet modern facilities, and ridiculously comfortable double beds.
Some of the rooms overlook the picturesque harbour, while the others have views over the small garden. The "George Washington" is the largest suite dedicated to Nicolas Martiau, a French nobleman who was an ancestor of America's first President, and actually born on the Ile de Re. Facilities include the attractive dining room "La Table d'Olivia" and it is possible to eat here or alternatively at the many restaurants and cafes lining the harbour.
It is owned by Olivia Le Calvez, who bought the building in 2002 and carried out extensive renovations.
It's named Toiras after the illustrious Marshal who defended the Ile de Re when the Duke of Buckingham and his troops besieged it, at the beginning of the 17th century.
In 2010 it became the first 5 star hotel in the whole of the Poitou-Charentes region.
Prices vary a great deal according to season, but a few days of luxury away from it all, is something to always cherish!
Rates: from 190 euros in low season
Tel: +33 (0)5 46 35 40 32