Summer is just around the corner and it means the season of weekend escapes is opened! Since I work as a full time lawyer and have to spend summer in Paris (except a couple of weeks of vacations in August), I always try to make the best use of my weekends to leave the city and get some fresh air. This year I started the season by visiting Brittany, the region which I love very much for its beautiful coastline and picturesque villages. Together with my friend Ivetta we discovered Castelbrac, a historical five-stars hotel in Dinard just a few kilometers from Saint-Malô.
I visited Saint-Malô several times but have never taken time to pass by Dinard which is actually a lovely city full of charm. The hotel Castelbrac is located in a fabulous spot, on the edge of the cliff, facing the bay. The building surprised me by its original architecture with various terraces and balconies, stairs and verandas. It’s a fairy tale world, magical labyrinth where I immediately felt myself Alice in Wonderland. Hectic interiors where ancient decoration elements are combined with modern furniture and facilities are just fascinating.
The original design of the hotel is related to the reach history of the building. The private villa Bric à Brac was constructed in the 19th century by the family Faber, the founders of the city Dinard, and in 1934 became a marine station with a true aquarium (which is actually occupied by the hotel’s bar). When the station was renovated and converted to the hotel, nautical style remained untouched and the spirit of the original structure retained, while assuring luxurious accommodations to the guests.
We stayed in the room with a private terrace offering the stunning panoramic view over the bay. Having breakfast on this terrace was true privilege and the best start of the day. Talking of breakfast, I’d love to mention the variety of options, starting by healthy all-time-favorite eggs + salmon and finishing by insanely delicious pain perdu with salted caramel (the specialty of Brittany) and pancakes with a selection of jams. We appreciated that breakfast featured mostly local products, such as butter and honey which Brittany is famous for. Freshly squeezed juices and excellent coffee completed the meal.
Castelbrac has everything for the guests’ well-being: a spa, a little gym and an outside heated swimming pool with a sea view. By the way, this pool was the first thing which attracted my attention when I checked the website of Castelbrac and I was impatient to see it in reality. I wasn’t disappointed: the swimming line on the edge of the cliff looks so beautiful in its simplicity, surrounded by the rocks and decorated with natural wood. It was a pleasure to take a dip there while the sea was still too cold for swimming (in Brittany the water in the sea gets warm in June or even in July).
In the evening we had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant called Pourquoi Pas followed by a cocktail at the Aquarium Bar. The dinner merits a separate article which I will publish soon since it was a true gastronomical experience! The restaurant Pourquoi Pas has just got its first Michelin star and specializes in the marine cuisine made with local products. It also has an excellent selection of wines… But ssshhh! The details are coming soon!
It has to be added that Castelbrac has even a little chapel with the windows on the bay and the prettiest decorations. I can imagine a wedding there, the marriage sermons being accompanied by the sound of the waves…
To sum up, Castelbrac is more than just a hotel – its the whole little world with so much to discover. Providing easy access to Saint-Malô and the famous Mont-Sant-Michel, Castelbrac is a great choice for anyone who wants to explore Brittany but staying at this hotel is a beautiful experience by itself. My only regret is that we couldn’t stay longer!
17.AVENUE GEORGE V , 35800 DINARD
Tel: +33 2 99 80 3000