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Our Favourite Properties with the New Michelin Key, the Michelin Star of Hotels

May 8, 2024

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benches and umbrellas in a chic outdoor castle courtyard

IMAGE COURTESY OF GREGOIRE GARDETTE FOR LA MAISON D’ESTOURNEL

The Michelin Star grew out of a humble guide intended to sell tires. Andre and Edouard Michelin founded their eponymous tire company in the 1800s, likely unaware of what it would become. In the 1920s, they started the tradition that they are most known for: awarding Stars to restaurants. More than a century later, the company has introduced the hotel-equivalent of the beloved Michelin Star: the Michelin Key.

As with Michelin Stars, Michelin Keys are awarded based on visits by anonymous evaluators, who consider the hotel’s design, architecture, service quality, personality, value and contribution to its surroundings. 

Currently, France is the only country in which Michelin has announced its Key honorees. There are 189 Michelin Key hotels in France: an elite 24 with three Keys, 38 with two Keys and 127 with one Key. Of these, WeGalavant gets perks at over three quarters (although we can still book your stay at most Key hotels, even if they’re not part of a specific perks programme). 

Many of WeGalavant’s favourite and top-booked properties made the cut, and we certainly have my eye on a few swoon-worthy newcomers. That’s the beauty of Michelin: they cover it all. Tiny, under-the-radar gems and regal grande-dames alike are eligible. The company does its due diligence.

Below, a few of our favourite Michelin Key hotels in France, separated by number of Keys.

Three Keys: “an extraordinary stay”

Michelin’s three-Key hotels are like their three-Star restaurants: bucket-list-worthy, few and far between, exceptional in every way. “It’s all about astonishment and indulgence here,” the company states. 

Cheval Blanc Paris

a bedroom terrace overlooks the river of a European city

IMAGE COURTESY OF CHEVAL BLANC PARIS

It’s no surprise this ultra-luxurious stay — with a privileged location right above the Seine — earned three Keys. Cheval Blanc is under the LVMH umbrella, and the hotel’s furniture, fabrics and amenities are all made by high-end designers. Although, you’d never know it, as discreet luxury reigns. The design is effortlessly chic, with an eclectic aesthetic punctuated by an expertly-curated art collection. The service, too, is unparalleled: staff know each guest by name, as well as their preferences. The dedication to hospitality is clear: there’s an average of six staff members assigned per room.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • Complimentary round-trip private airport / train station transfer, breakfast daily, an upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Antibes

a man and a woman swim in a pool overlooking the ocean

IMAGE COURTESY OF HÔTEL DU CAP-EDEN-ROC

The family-owned Oetker brand never fails to deliver. Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, in the south of France, is a 150-year-old stunner composed of two castle-like buildings: the hillside Hôtel du Cap and the waterfront Eden Roc pavilion, which houses recently renovated junior suites. As at all Oetker properties, sophisticated luxury drives the aesthetic. Expect classic, clean opulence. And don’t miss the forthcoming Dior Spa, expected to open before the end of the year.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • £75 hotel / resort credit, breakfast daily, upgrade whenever possible and priority access to courtesy car, where applicable.

Les Sources de Caudalie, Martillac

a large indoor pool in a giant atrium outfitted with wooden beams

IMAGE COURTESY OF LES SOURCES DE CAUDALIE

A visit to Les Sources de Caudalie’s spa warrants a visit in itself — although we recommend a longer stay, of course. Enjoy the hammam, thermal bath and jacuzzi at your leisure before surrendering to the hands of expert therapists using luxe (and clean) Caudalie products infused with natural, grape-derived compounds. Experience a life of leisure at the property: bike through vineyards, lounge by the pool, take a booking class or learn the art of oenology from the hotel’s sommelier — activities (and a blissful lack thereof) abound.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • £75 food / beverage credit, breakfast daily, an upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Two Keys: “an exceptional stay”

Two-Key hotels are notable for their distinct character, charm, unique design and “real sense of the locale.” These properties are run with pride and personable care.

J.K. Place Paris

a walkway with black-and-white checkered floors and white statues

IMAGE COURTESY OF J.K. PLACE PARIS

On Paris’ chic Left Bank, steps from Boulevard Saint-Germain, is the 29-room J.K. Place Paris, among Fora’s top 10 most-booked hotels in Paris. The five-star hotel is a study in discreet luxury and enviably tasteful modern charm. Each room is unique, but all feature delightful pops of colour, eclectic pieces of art, towering ceilings and an overall serene vibe.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • £75 hotel / resort credit, breakfast daily, an upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Domaine de Fontenille, Luberon

a luxe living room with a crystal chandelier and large windows looking out upon greenery

IMAGE COURTESY OF DOMAINE DE FONTENILLE

Les Domaines de Fontenille’s flagship property, in Provence, combines nature, wellness and luxury. The 19-room hotel is in fact an 18th-century home. Guests stay amid vineyards and organic gardens, which supply much of the ingredients for the hotel’s exceptional restaurants, helmed by renowned French chef Guillaume Goupil. Les Domaine de Fontenille is dedicated to respecting the terroir on which their properties are located; they take l’agrotourisme to a five-star level. 

WeGalavant Perks:

  • A complimentary experience, welcome amenities, one-way airport transfer, breakfast daily and an upgrade.

Domaine des Étangs, Massignac

a floating tennis court on a pond near a stone castle in the countryside

IMAGE COURTESY OF DOMAINE DES ÉTANGS

This 13th-century countryside château, in Massignac, is Auberge’s first European property. Guests stay in rustic-chic suites, spacious guestrooms or storybook cottages. The sprawling property is home to a cattle farm, a nearly 22,000-square-foot organic garden, a pond, a forest primed for exploring and a floating tennis court. Dine on seasonal, farm-to-table cuisine, opt for a picnic in the onsite meadows or arrange for a private meal. The spa draws its inspiration from nature, and features a cellar equipped with Roman-style steam rooms and cooling rooms for a rejuvenating dose of contrast therapy. If you’ve been dreaming of the ideal French countryside retreat, this is it.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • £75 food / beverage credit, breakfast daily, an upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

One Key: “a very special stay”

Michelin’s one-Key hotels are veritable gems. The service is top-notch, the character is unique and the overall experience goes above and beyond what’s typically offered at a comparable price point.

La Fantaisie, Paris

plush pink chairs surround a round table in a colorful dining room
a luxe, colorful living room with a green carpet and blue and orange furniture overlooks a sunny terrace

IMAGES COURTESY OF LA FANTAISIE

This 73-room delight on Paris’ Right Bank exudes a bright sense of play, which is especially appropriate considering its location in the youthful, hip Faubourg Montmartre neighbourhood. 

There’s a leafy garden, as well as a dreamy spa bedecked with tasteful splashes of green: emerald-green tiling in the steam room, lime-green chairs and floral wallpaper in the common areas. Rooms are bright, colourful and cheerful, courtesy of the designer Martin Brudnizki, who has a knack for adding chic restraint to gleeful eccentricity. 

Relais Christine, Paris

a brightly patterned couch near a draped floor-to-ceiling garden window

IMAGE COURTESY OF RELAIS CHRISTINE

This charming, intimate oasis is tucked away on a side street in Paris’ classy Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighbourhood. The hotel’s leafy courtyard — and the hotel in general — is an exclusive slice of calm in the bustling city. Rooms are punctuated with bold patterns and a soft elegance. There’s also a subterranean Guerlain Spa, as well as a gym, where guests can sweat it out beneath 13th-century vaulted ceilings.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • £65 spa credit (for 2+ nights), a welcome amenity, an upgrade & late check-out whenever possible.

Les Fermes de Marie, Megève

a cozy cabin bed with a furry blanket and two red-and-white pillows

IMAGE COURTESY OF LES FERMES DE MARIE

Les Fermes de Marie, in Megève, a village in France’s southwestern Alps, is an alpine wellness destination. Spa treatments incorporate mountain-sourced plants and salts. Japanese hot-and-cold baths and a traditional sauna only add opportunities for some serious rejuvenation. Guests retreat to cabin-like, cosy, rustic-chic rooms. Multi-bedroom chalets are also available, perfect for larger gatherings. The property’s restaurants offer elevated, homemade mountain cuisine (pâté en croûte, arugula salad showered in truffles), prepared with ingredients dictated by the seasons. 

WeGalavant Perks:

  • Breakfast daily and a bottle of wine.

La Maison d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe

a library with red and green plush furniture and walls lined with colorful bookshelves

IMAGE COURTESY OF GREGOIRE GARDETTE FOR LA MAISON D’ESTOURNEL

This 18th-century country estate, about an hour outside Bordeaux, is warm, cosy and undeniably luxurious. The staff go above and beyond to make you feel at home (it is, after all, a home). Handsome, colourful decor — floor-to-ceiling bookshelves dotted with tomes and sculptures, gem-hued upholstered furniture, varied patterns, statement headboards — populate common spaces and rooms alike. Dine on locally sourced food in the onsite restaurant, a brilliant, modern take on a sophisticated bistro. Swim laps in the sleek swimming pool, with views of the surrounding vineyards. Or, hop on an e-bike to explore the green environs up close.

WeGalavant Perks:

  • Welcome amenities, breakfast daily and an upgrade whenever possible.

There are many more Michelin Key hotels (179, to be exact) worth exploring. Connect with WeGalavant to discover and book the property that best fits your style.

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