Michelle Chenery reports on an inspection of Terre Blanche Hotel & Golf SpaAny organisers choosing Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort for an event will be providing their delegates or award winners with all the best sights, tastes and scents of the French Riviera.
Located 45 minutes from Nice Cote d'Azur International airport, even closer to Cannes and within easy reach of St Tropez, Aix-en-Provence and Marseilles, this is a 300-hectare (750-acre) property that encompasses an infinity pool, two 18-hole golf courses and a private helipad.
The hotel comprises 115 suites and villas ranging from 60 to 300sqm and all with private terraces. Special accommodation even within those are the Méditerranée Villa with a private pool, the Estérel Villa and Provence Villa with private Jacuzzis and the 300-sqm Terre Blanche Villa with private pool and Jacuzzi.
Each suite consists of a master bedroom, with either a king size or two queen size beds and a living room with sofa bed. The rooms open onto a private terrace where two sun loungers are ready to accommodate you snugly whilst you admire the panorama of the landscape. Marble bathrooms are fitted with underfloor heating, separate shower and a large window admitting plentiful natural light and views over mountains and medieval villages.
Provence in the South of France is world-famous for its fields of flowers that provide the petals for the Fragonard perfumery in the town of Grasse. It is fitting therefore that Fragonard was chosen to create the in-room toiletries and they diffuse the scents of the region. Guests enjoy the perfumes reminiscent of mandarin and mint combined with orange blossom and cardamom.
In the resort guests experience the essence of a Provencal village. It has its own narrow streets which wind their way around the contours of the land. Guests can either walk to their rooms or they can choose to be taken there on golf buggies.
Choice of cuisines
Terre Blanche has four restaurants, all the responsibility of Head Chef Yannick Franques. He recently joined the hotel, bringing with him over 25 years of experience. La Faventia is an elegant restaurant specialising in contemporary French gastronomy. Le Gaudina has recently been enlarged. It has been fitted with new flooring and brand new kitchen facilities. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and also afternoon snacks emphasising Provencal flavours.
Adjacent to the infinity pool is Le Tousco. It offers a light buffet of organic salads, grilled meat, fresh fish and a variety of desserts. It also caters for the 31 private poolside cabanas.
Within the Clubhouse is Les Caroubiers Restaurant Bar and Lounge. It provides a varied lunch menu and, during the summer evenings, contemporary Italian cuisine.
Terre Blanche is notable for its two golf courses. In 2013 it was voted Golf Resort of the Year – Europe
Le Château course is 6,616m long and famed for its ravines, large fast greens, water features and great bunkers of white sand. Each September it hosts the French Riviera Masters.
Le Riou, the second course, is 6005m in length and private for members and hotel guests, with steep fairways and elaborate greens.
The Albatros Golf Performance Centre houses a Leadbetter Academy and a Biomecaswing Centre. This enables golfers to get a detailed video analysis of their swing and putting styles. The mapping system can also examine posture for walking and sitting correctly or can be tailored to help improve movement after injury.
The Centre was the first resort to receive European Tour Performance Institute status. Three-hour personalised sessions are available to study all aspects of one’s game, including video analysis using trackman software and bespoke drills by the instructor, as well as using the software for golf club fitting.
Inside the resort’s main building is the Fayence room. It caters for up to 240 theatre style and divides into two. As many as four cars can be displayed for a launch event. The Fayence Terrace is able to host up to 230 cocktail style and 180 for dinner, whilst the Foyer can hold a further two cars and 110 for cocktails.
The Tourettes and Montauroux rooms cater for up to 40 for dinner and 70 cocktail, whilst both have terraces able to cater for a further 60 to 70 delegates.
Smaller rooms include the Callian that can host up to 20 u-shape and 12 boardroom style. The Faventia restaurant can also been used exclusively for up to 110 guests, the Tousco restaurant for up to 200 and the pool deck for up to 150 for a reception.
Within the Clubhouse a further 5 event spaces can be utilised, the Albatros meeting room able to host up to 20 boardroom style, the Clubhouse Terrace can cater for up to 110 for dinner, the Clubhouse itself up to 140 and the Boardroom Clubhouse terrace up to 50 for cocktails.
Extensive spa amenities
An important feature of Terre Blanche Resort is its Leading Spas of the World Spa. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and spanning two floors, it measures up to 3,200sqm. There are 12 treatment rooms and two suites for couples. In March this year Terre Blanche partnered with Carita to offer anti-ageing facials, massages by Carita including hot stone caress and Silk revelation massage which use specialised techniques to eliminate worn skin cells and to nourish and refine contours.
Other spa facilities include a sauna, steam room, hammam, mani/pedi station, fitness room and relaxation room with tropical shower and ice fountain.
The Swedish massage is not to be overlooked. That was my choice and I left the spa feeling so relaxed after a good working over with lavender oil that I might well have fallen asleep over dinner if it were not for the excellence of the food that encouraged me to finish the meal.
It is not difficult to create an enjoyable, varied and memorable incentive or leisure programme at Terre Blanche. In addition to the resort’s own recreational facilities, that region of the South of France – Le Midi – offers a host of delightful excursions. In the nearby town of Fayence groups can wander through narrow cobbled streets, enjoy local delicacies, visit a local market where the stall holders hand out titbits of cheese, meats and nougat to passers-by. All the produce provides an abundance of photogenic colour.
As a group we visited Chateau des Selves vineyard, established by the Christine family and now the product of many generations. It produces red wines fromSyrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot varieties of grape; white wines from the Rolle variety which they cultivate at the foot of the village, the rosé from Grenache, Rolle, Cinsault and Syrah grape varieties. The chateau can cater for group wine tastings, indoors or outdoors. Our tasting took in three spectacular wines with local bread and cheeses. It is as well to leave some spare space in one’s luggage to bring some back home with you.
I was fortunate enough to see petal pickers in fields of roses and to watch them load their labour into perfumery vans. The hotel can arrange for groups to tour the historic perfumery in Grasse that dates back to 1782 and which now belongs to Fragonard. On the premises we were all let loose to dabble with numerous scents in order to create 100ml of perfume to suit each individual’s preference. We could aim for floral, spicy or woody. I opted for spicy. I am not sure if that is how it turned out exactly, but I was happy with my result. I would describe it as a nice citrus scent with an undertone of cedar - not bad for a first attempt.
Each of us were presented with our own Fragonard Certificate before taking a tour of the factory, learning along the way just how many flowers are needed per litre of essence, how the essences are extracted and how time-consuming is the hand-picking of all those tons of petals.
Terre Blanche is the kind of venue that makes it easy for event organisers to impress their delegates. No one would be disappointed after a visit there.
Terre Blanche Hotel & Golf Spa
3100 ROUTE DE BAGNOLS EN FORET 83440 TOURRETTES
Tel. +33 (0)4 94 39 90 00
Fax. +33 (0)4 94 39 90 01