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Gourmet getaways
Ten top rural retreats where fantastic food and wine is matched by stunning surroundings

Geneva
(80km from the airport)
La Ferme de Montagne is perched on a hilltop above Les Gets in Haute Savoie at the top of a glorious valley and at the bottom of a ski slope. It’s so much more than a ski chalet – and it has everything you could want: a glorious Alpine setting, a fabulous spa, skiing, mountain strolls and cooking that beats all. The charming Australian hostess Suzanne Dixon- Hudson used to run restaurants in Sydney so she knows her onions, and it’s no coincidence that the wonderful staff at La Ferme largely come from Michelin-starred and five-star London establishments. The food is magnificent (see left); organic where possible and, in season, cooked with herbs plucked from the surrounding mountains. The 11 bedrooms are bijou but extremely comfortable. You simply won’t want to leave. Opens 18 December.
Words Nicki Symington

Doubles from €200 in low season, €370 high season, includes breakfast and dinner and a spa treatment. La Turche, Les Gets, France, tel: +44 870 161 4229, www.fermedemontagne.com

Brussels
(30km from the airport)
Discovering a country retreat no more than half an hour from town is always a satisfying find, but when it happens to be one of Belgium’s hippest hotels that also houses a gourmet restaurant, praise is due all round. Chateau du Lacsits in extensive grounds overlooking Lake Genval and feels light-years away from the nearby city. Brussels’ cognoscenti flock here for the beautifully executed modern- Mediterranean cuisine served in the überhip Genval Les Bains restaurant (expect wild boar carpaccio, a selection of sushi, or pan-fried duck foie gras on caramelised apple) before relaxing over cognac and cigars, beside a crackling fire in the lounge. Upstairs the rooms provide a luxurious weekend haven to sleep off any over indulgence, and there’s a fitness studio downstairs if the guilt becomes intrusive.
Words NS

Dinner from €40 per person, exc. wine. Double rooms from €270. Avenue du Lac 87, Genval, Belgium, tel: +32 (0)2 655 7171, www.chateaudulac-belgium.com

Milan
(180km from the airport)
If exclusive yet understated is your thing, then the family-run Hotel Bellevue in Cogne in the Valle d’Aosta ticks both boxes. It is in the fortunate position of being the only hotel in the valley, but its fame spreads far beyond, principally for the gourmet heights of its cooking. Much of the food is home-grown in summer (there’s a circular potager in the grounds that supplies the kitchen with much of its greenery) and the wine list is extensive and well chosen by the delightful hosts Signor and Signora Jeantet-Roullet. The hotel has been delightfully decorated; some of the suites have open fires and others rustic four-poster beds, and many have views up the valley towards the glacier.
Words NS

Dinner from €40 per person, excl. wine. Doubles from €140, suites from €285. 22 Rue Grand Paradis, Cogne, Valle d’Aosta, Italy, tel: +39 0165 74825, www.hotelbellevue.it

Nice
(20km from the airport)
Since he bought the Auberge de Tourrettes four years ago, Danish businessman Christian Nielsen, a long-time fan of the hilltop village Tourrettes, has given it a facelift. Folksy clutter has been replaced by subtle, Scandinavian tastes: white table-linen is lifted with a splash of emerald glassware handmade in nearby Biot, and nothing detracts from the knock-out view. Two sides of the restaurant look out over the Loup valley, with the wide blue Mediterranean and Nice in the distance. On a clear day you can see as far as the Cap d’Antibes. The short but perfectly formed menu is creative Provençal, with seasonal produce from the region: herbs from the garden, fish dishes like red mullet with tomato and fennel compote, plenty of game in the winter, and a great cheeseboard, thanks to some local mountain goats. Rooms, some with French windows leading to a bougainvillea-draped roof terrace, are simply decorated. Fling open the wooden shutters for a perfectly framed sea view, from your bath. The auberge will be closed until 10 February while it expands to 10 rooms.
Words Gemma Elwin Harris

Dinner €45 per person excl. wine. Rooms from €112-€210. 11 Route de Grasse, Tourrettes sur Loup, France, tel: +33 (0)4 9359 3005, www.aubergedetourrettes.fr

Barcelona
(50km from the city)
Santi Santamaria was born in the house that is now his restaurant, but don’t expect nostalgia here. With its sharply observed metropolitan style Can Fabeshas much in common with trendy Barcelona. And since the restaurant gained a third Michelin star 10 years ago, raves for self-taught Santamaria’s contemporary Catalan cooking have declared him close to genius. Unusual pairings such as pig’s trotter and caviar are juxtaposed
with dishes like baby goat cooked with sage, which reflect the Sierra de
Montseny location.

With just five coolly minimalist bedroom suites, a cigar bar, and an informal restaurant dealing in lighter lunches and dinners, what more could you ask for – except maybe one more night?
Words Elizabeth Carter

Dinner approx. €150 per person. Rooms €180-€280. Can Fabes, Sant Joan 6, Sant Celoni, Catalunya, tel: +34 93 867 2851, www.canfabes.com

Palma
(35km from the city)
'La Rez’ as the rich and famous call it, drapes itself over the lower reaches of the imposing Puig d’es Teix mountain, overlooking the tiny village of Deia on the north-western coast of Mallorca. Built around two manor houses that date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, La Residencia has long been on most people’s wish-list of gourmet getaways (including Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, Kate Moss and the Emperor of Japan). Start with a welcoming glass of cava on the terrace, then dine on sweet prawns and candied belly pork at the luxurious El Olivo restaurant. Spend the days by the azure-blue pool, take a shuttle to the hotel’s own private beach or wander through the sleepy, picturesque village, before returning to your room in time for the sunset. Closed for renovations, re-opens 28 Jan. Words Jill Dupleix

Dinner €55 per person, exc. wine.
Room rates from €225. Carrer Son Canals s/n, 07179 Deia, Mallorca, tel: +34 971 639 011, www.hotel-laresidencia.com

Nice
(40km from the airport)
Nice is not a city best known for its food and wine – pizza, tomato salad and a glass of rosé is a typical Riviera lunch – but the hills behind Nice hide some real Provençal treasures. Not least of which is La Bastide Saint-Antoine, Jacques Chibois’ fabulous hotel and restaurant, located in the stunningly pretty village of Grasse. M. Chibois’ elegant take on Provençal cuisine has earned him two Michelin stars, with inspiration for the food drawn from the hotel’s setting amid several hectares of olive groves and fragrant gardens.

Start dinner on the lavender-scented terrace with oysters flavoured with rose petals and lemon- infused olive oil, or perhaps purple asparagus with truffle and foie gras ice cream, then try lobster with black olive fondue and beetroot jus, or veal sweetbreads with morels and pea purée.
Round off the meal with wild strawberries, jasmine jam and orange sorbet. Rooms are decorated in classic Provençal style. Words Bill Knott

Three-course dinner from €110 excl. wine. Double rooms €180 (low season). Suite €460 (high season). 48 Avenue Henri-Dunant, Grasse, Côte d’Azur, tel : +33 (0)4 93 709 494, www.jacques-chibois.com

Madrid
(45km from the city)
Those looking for a rural retreat within striking distance of Madrid, but without the formality of a hotel, will slip happily into Salvador Gallego’s El Cenedor de Salvador restaurant with rooms. Since opening it in 1985, Gallego and his wife Toni have honed hospitality (extremely welcoming) and food (one Michelin- star). It’s an easy drive from Madrid and the setting at the foot of the Guadarrama Mountains is wonderfully peaceful. There’s a lot of personality and character here, not least in the modern Mediterranean cooking which delivers gutsy dishes like haunch of venison with three purées, while the restaurant has a soft romantic look in the evening. The seven extremely well-equipped bedrooms are highly comfortable. Words EC

Dinner €100 per person. Rooms €150-€300 Avenida de Espana, 30, E-28411 Moralzarzel, Madrid, tel: +34 91 857 7722

Palma
(15km from the city)

Read’s Hotel is one of the most stunning on the island. A converted and extended manor house in the middle of the countryside, it boasts every facility you might expect of a five-star hotel, but the standard of Marc Fosh’s cooking eclipses even the wonderfully rococo décor. The dining room, with its unfeasibly high ceiling, sweeping stone arches and grand trompe l’oeil frescoes, is spectacular enough, but the food is more than a match for its setting. Fosh’s menu might include guineafowl and black truffle agnolotti with salsify, broad beans and Jabugo ham; prawn ravioli with black rice, cuttlefish tagliatelle and lobster consommé; fillet of veal with goat’s milk, white truffle, crispy potato and Bellota ham; or grilled sea bass with an anchovy parmentier and liquorice sauce. Fosh’s famous pudding – caramelised pineapple and ginger lasagne, coconut sorbet and white pepper toffee sauce – is simply sublime. Prices are ridiculously low for food of this quality and this is one of the best places on the island to try some of Mallorca’s 'new wave’ wines.
Words BK

Dinner €50, excl. wine. Double rooms €210 in low season,
€540 a suite in high season. Santa María, Mallorca, tel: +34 971 140 261, www.readshotel.com

Copenhagen
(7km from the city)
Denmark is known for combining cool designs with welcoming comfort and you won’t find a better example of this style than the Skovshoved Hotel & Restaurant, where a beautifully simple interior combines dark wooden floors with breezy white furnishings. Located among the millionaire villas on the exclusive Strandvej ('Beach Road’), several of the hotel’s 22 rooms have beautiful ocean views and its restaurant packs out nightly with a trendy Copenhagen crowd. Expect the talented kitchen to work wonders with straightforward recipes from Italy, France and Scandinavia, perhaps turning out a rich truffle risotto ahead of cod baked with mushrooms and a classic crème brulée. Staff are wonderfully well-practised in the art of good old-fashioned hospitality too.
Words Annica Wainwright

Dinner 340DKK. Double rooms from
€180, suites from €335. Strandvej 267, Charlottenlund, tel: +45 39 640 028, www.skovshovedhotel.com

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