On a wooded hill filled with birds and views, overlooking the spa town of Vals les Bains and the valley beyond, this ornate 19th-century château has seen service as both a wartime prison and a holiday centre. Constantly renovated by Marie-Antoinette, it is now both luxurious eco-hotel and family home. An extraordinary wooden staircase sweeps you up to airy bedrooms of understated elegance and contemporary details that complement original glowing parquet, antiques, tall views to gardens and the undulating Ardèche. The apartment is a must for families. Magnificent new garden-level rooms in exciting contemporary style have designer furniture, subtle led lighting, jacuzzi baths, private terraces. House and setting may be grand but Marie-Antoinette, her family and her team are as welcoming as can be, grow their own fruit and veg and give you fabulous breakfasts. Let yourself be enticed from the rose-rich garden and the elegant salons to the summer pool on the sunny south terrace. A cocoon for the senses, a magical place.