Rocco Forte Wins Management Contract

13th Oct 2003

Rocco Forte Hotels today announces the signing of a management contract with the Ch‰teau de Bagnols, a luxury hotel in the heart of France`s Beaujolais countryside.

The Ch‰teau de Bagnols is owned by Lady Hamlyn, who bought the 13th century building and gardens in 1987 and embarked on a restoration which in 1992 saw it open as one of the most outstanding small luxury hotels in Europe.

Lady Hamlyn commented:
“I am delighted that Sir Rocco and his team will be managing the Ch‰teau de Bagnols for me. They share the same devotion to outstanding service delivery which I have provided since opening the hotel. The approach taken by Rocco Forte Hotels allows me to retain the individual personality of the Ch‰teau whilst bringing the property to the attention of a wider audience thanks to the company`s sales and marketing networks and skills.”

Sir Rocco added:
“Lady Hamlyn has lavished love, attention, skill and money on the Ch‰teau. It is an individual property with outstanding architecture and so fits well alongside the rest of our collection. It shares a similar customer base to many of our existing hotels and I believe that we can use our management and marketing skills to make the most of the work which Lady Hamlyn has put in.”

The Ch‰teau dates from the 13th century. During the Medieval period it benefited from Lyon`s rise as France`s commercial and banking capital and the building was significantly enhanced by its owner, Geoffroy de Balzac, Chamberlain to Charles VIII. During the Renaissance Gaspard Dugué bought the Ch‰teau and five surrounding villages and Bagnols was transformed from a fortified building to an extravagantly-decorated stately home. In 1711 the Ch‰teau was bought by Barthélémy Hessler, a 35-year-old from Frankfurt who settled in Lyon. He lavished money on the restoration and added the formal gardens. By the end of the 18th century the glory of Bagnols was over and the Ch‰teau lapsed into obscurity for almost two hundred years.


In 1987 Lord and Lady Hamlyn discovered Ch‰teau de Bagnols in a sad state. With energy and vision they brought the Ch‰teau back to the finest moments of its life. More than four hundred specialist builders and craftsmen helped to restore the property to its former glory whilst creating one of the most beautiful luxury hotels in Europe.

The Ch‰teau has twelve bedrooms and nine suites, all individually decorated. Salle des Gardes is a Michelin-starred restaurant with specialities from the Beaujolais and Lyon region. It boasts the largest gothic fireplace in Europe. Salon Ombragé provides breakfast and lunch on an outdoor terrace with spectacular views. The formal gardens include a heated outdoor swimming pool, the Roman Pool. The Ch‰teau is an ideal place to entertain on almost any scale from a dinner in the secret Chambre de Donjon, or an intimate party in the Salon de Chasse with its charming 18th century wall paintings, to a grand reception for as many as three hundred guests in the vast Cuvage with its magnificent “cave” where the best of the Beaujolais crus can be tasted.
The Ch‰teau is in the village of Bagnols, about seventeen miles north of Lyon in the Beaujolais area of south-east France. There are direct flights to Lyon from most major European cities and from North America. Lyon is about two hours from Paris by TGV train. The Ch‰teau is ideally placed for travellers wishing to break their journey, being mid-way mid-way between the Channel Tunnel and the Mediterranean or the Alps. There is a small airport at Bagnols which can take private jets.

The Ch‰teau de Bagnols brings the Rocco Forte Hotels collection to nine properties: Brown`s Hotel, London; Hotel de Russie, Rome; Hotel Savoy, Florence, The Balmoral, Edinburgh; Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg; The Lowry Hotel, Manchester; Hotel Amigo, Brussels and The St David`s Hotel & Spa, Cardiff. Work will start on the tenth in Frankfurt later this year.
Ch‰teau de Bagnols is a member of The Leading Small Hotels of the World, bringing the number of Rocco Forte Hotels properties within The Leading Hotels of the World family to eight.

More details of the Ch‰teau de Bagnols, and an on-line reservations service, can be found on Reservations can be made by calling the Ch‰teau on +33 (0) 4 74 71 4000 or any office of The Leading Hotels of the World.




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