Bernard Arnault, chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy, is known to have said “there are so many beautiful hotels in Champagne, but there is only one Château.” The château he alludes to is Château de Saran, the privately owned home built as a hunting lodge in 1801 by Jean-Rémy Moët, the grandson of Moët & Chandon’s founder. Nestled in the countryside with vineyards as far as the eye can see, Château de Saran reopened in 2019, after a five-year restoration, to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Impérial, Moët’s flagship cuvée. (The invite list to the fête included the likes of Roger Federer, Natalie Portman, Uma Thurman, and Kate Moss.)
Yellow, ochre, and gold is the colour palette interior designer Yves de Marseille selected for the living and sitting rooms, and the details are a study in elegance, with silk-covered sofas, voluminous curtains, fine handmade rugs, family furnishings, art and antiques purchased at auction, and a baby grand. The breakfast room is classic French luxury, with Iksel handpainted wall panels of an ethereal forest of climbing plants that echoes the floral motif of the chandelier. The white-glove breakfast service is taken at an oval mahogany table set with precious Bernardaud porcelain and Christofle flatware.
There are just 11 suites at Château de Saran, each its own environment. The Oriental suite features decadent blue-and-white tiles and a bathtub looking out over the valley. The English suite combines British influences from Balmoral to Ascot, and the Louis XIV suite embodies Versailles in all its splendour. There is even a Roaring Twenties suite inspired by Josephine Baker, and a Hollywood suite, a tribute to Marilyn Monroe. The Dior suite’s sophisticated colour palette of pearl-white and grey complements framed black-and-white photographs of the celebrated couturier at work.
On my visit, I occupied the Imperial suite, which pays homage to Napoleon Bonaparte, a friend and customer of Jean-Remy Moët’s, and for whom the flagship cuvée is named. A bust of Napoleon takes pride of place on the ornate fireplace, and portraits of Joséphine and Marie-Louise, the French emperor’s empresses, are displayed on the fabric-lined walls.
No matter the suite, the experience is exceptionnel. Champagne flows freely at Château de Saran, and cocktail hour is a cinematic scene with the grandest of champagne towers.
Throughout its history, the château has entertained a cast of who’s who. Call it a home or hotel, Château de Saran is a by-invitation-only stay.