The former Royal Champagne Hotel in Champillon fell out of use. It consisted of an old coaching inn and numerous extensions built at several different times, and the whole complex lacked architectural and functional coherence. The new owners, an American couple who wanted to restructure and extend their hotel, appealed to Giovanni Pace. According to him, everything had to be demolished, except two facades of the coaching inn. The architect tells: “Two other elements deserved to be conserved: the name of the hotel, which is precious, and the marvellous view. In the morning, the mist rises up slowly above Hautvillers and Epernay, and in the evening, both villages catch light in a sea of vineyards.” On this site in the shape of an amphitheatre, the new building opens its arms and embraces the landscape, creating a horizontal parallel line to the Reims Mountain. It is made of glass and stone coming from Euville and known for its hardness and its homogeneity but also for its pinky beige color which calls to mind the Champagne’s hue. The strong slope of the ground, its instability and the normative height’s limits represented complex constraints for the architect. The team first had to prepare the site by planting 450 concrete stakes (depth from 17 to 25 metres). Then, the constraints became allies. Thanks to the slope, the architect was able to create 3000 sq. m of terraces, including 1500 sq. m on the same level as the panoramic restaurant (80 place settings). A second restaurant, which is gastronomic, is located in the coaching inn and can receive 40 people. The remaining 1500 sq. m of terraces are private formal gardens, only accessible from the rooms. On both levels, each of the 49 suites (45 of 45 sq. m and 4 of 110 sq. m) has a 10 sq. m balcony with no view on the neighbouring rooms. Therefore, the atmosphere is cosy and every guest can see the vineyard from his private space. The suites are designed in mirror symmetry and can be coupled on request thanks to a discrete corridor in the dressings. The spa also overlooks the vineyards, with a 4 metres high and 60 metres long patio door. A hamman, a sauna, a gym hall, 8 massage rooms, a 25 metres long swimming pool and a jacuzzi occupy these 1500 sq. m. Outside, on the same floor, a 17 metres long infinity-edge pool seems to be hung over the landscape. All these characteristics justify the five stars of this Relais & Château.
What makes this project one-of-a-kind?
It is located on an amphitheatre-shaped hill in the Marne valley, with an exceptional panoramic view stretching over tens of kilometers. Naturally, faced with this spectacle, the building, minimalist, wants to be discreet and peaceful. Leaning against the forest, overlooking the vineyards, he looks away «with open arms» on the course of the sun. Taking advantage of this unique opportunity, the roof terraces are placed in cascade on the natural slope of the site. Such as “hanging gardens”, they provide places for receptions, walks and contemplation, offering visitors the unforgettable memory of their stay, in the heart of a landscape, alive and remarkable, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.