King Richard the Lionhearted is sleeping for eternity at the Abbaye de Fontevraud in Anjou, France, the site of his burial. Now harried modern travelers can find rest there, too, with the opening of a redesigned hotel within the abbey’s 12th-century walls.
Hotel Fontevraud re-opened this summer after two years of remodeling, with 52 rooms and a fine-dining restaurant, helmed by a Bocuse d’Or winner. A color palette of earth-toned neutrals extends throughout the abbey’s former monasteries, showing off the bone-white stone of the soaring interior spaces and echoing the hotel’s history. Soft brown towels, for example, reference monks’ robes.
In the bedrooms, off-white and pale gray walls and carpets showcase the natural light of the large windows. In the bar and dining rooms, brown and navy leather cover the tops of benches and chairs fashioned from rough beams of wood, their weight and age befitting the location. Lamps with iron bases and “wooden” shades harken back to the hotel’s medieval heritage.
The only thing missing: the chant of monks’ voices, raised together in worship. But most visitors are probably happy to settle for the clink of silverware and and the pop of wine corks.