Beyond the 3 star restaurant, highlights of our stay at Maison Bras Hotel included a luxury room, hiking trails with stunning views and the most amazing continental breakfast of our lives.
Maison Bras overlooks a great sea of scenery – one of the most picturesque valleys in France and possibly the world. When you stay at the Maison Bras hotel, you’re immersed in the culinary genius of the Bras family from beginning to end, with access to amazing scenery from your room.
As a bonus, you can also hike nature trails around the scenic Aubrac property.
What It’s Like To Stay At Maison Bras Hotel
Culinary rock stars run this place, greeting guests with house-made cookies (we especially enjoyed the hollow, sugary croquantes) in the lobby and serving the ‘leftovers’ of the previous evening’s cheese cart during breakfast.
Dedicated professionals run the hotel and make you feel like you’re part of the Bras family for the duration of your stay.
Arrival – Grab A Horn!
We noticed the difference right away when we checked into the Relais & Chàteaux hotel and selected our room key from an array of cow horns. Just like horned Aubrac cows roaming the fields, there are also cows horns on the keys.
As we exited the lobby, an array of cookies and muffins greeted us along with fresh OJ, tea and coffee. Sure, many hotels welcome their guests with cookies, but how many hotel kitchens are run by legendary Michelin 3 star chefs?
Guest Room At Maison Bras Hotel
Due to our budget, we chose to stay in a room with a slightly obstructed garden view. Although we couldn’t see a full view of the valley directly from our window, we still enjoyed a grand view of the scenery with just a few short steps through our room’s sliding door.
Our room included some nice touches – a Bras backpack (a treasured souvenir to use and show our chef friends), a bar of local soap and complimentary chilled beer and water. All rooms come with TVs and blu ray players.
While Wi-Fi is supposedly offered to all guests, we were not able to access the internet with any of our Apple devices. As bloggers and technology addicted people, we were initially upset by the Wi-Fi issue. However, we left the concern in the room when we traveled upstairs to dine, an event that spanned the entire evening.
The rear of our room opened to a large grassy patio where we could view the valley below. For us, this was the room’s highlight. Yes, the room was spacious and had all of the amenities (except Wi-Fi) that we had expected.
Yes, the bed was comfortable. And yes, the room was tastefully decorated. But the room’s access to the view will remain in our memories for years to come.
If you reserve for a 7 pm dinner, the 3 pm check-in time should afford plenty of time for relaxation or a quick nature walk around the property. Should you choose to relax on the balcony before dinner, the view is wide open with no buildings or hills to obstruct your sightline of the magnificent skyscape.
The Morning After
Even with two full stomachs after our epic dinner, we still rose early. Our time was limited, and we wanted to soak up all the delights that the Maison Bras property offers.
We mentioned that Maison Bras has both long and short hiking trails. We chose the shorter trail for our morning hike. It’s not so short though, as the trail took us on an undulating walk through the property that lasted about an hour.
Waking up to the strenuous morning walk was the perfect answer to the large feast of the previous evening. The walk around the property, with its many beautiful flora and fauna, also provided us with an excellent opportunity to indulge in our photographic impulses.
Continental Breakfast Of Champions!
So what is the first thing that enters your mind when you read ‘continental breakfast?’ Is it Danish and coffee? Is it the less expensive of two breakfast options offered at a business hotel? Is it the cheap breakfast offered at the Ramada that you just have to eat because ‘hey, it’s free!’?
When we received an itinerary from Maison Bras for the morning’s €30 continental breakfast, it’s fair to say that we were more than a bit skeptical.
However, after sitting down at our breakfast table with a view and getting showered with a huge assortment of crafted goodies, we realized that we were eating the best continental breakfast of our lives! Those little details and experiences are what separate the Maison Bras experience from a separate stay at a nearby Laguiole inn.
We can’t stop talking about our breakfast at Maison Bras.
Sure, we’ve eaten breakfasts that were bigger, with larger varieties of food, but this was an epicurean’s dream on how to start the day – a full basket overflowing with top-notch breads, croissants, muffins and cakes plus a variety of jellies, jams, yogurts and some of the best dulce de leche we’ve ever tasted.
That was just the beginning. The breakfast also included fresh strawberries and cream, rice pudding with strawberry sauce and a warm savory crepe.
But wait, there was more! We also had access to a cart of what looked like cheeses left over from the previous night’s dinner service (which we accepted with pleasure), local dry saucisson and local country pâté.
The páté in Laguiole, both at Maison Bras and in town, was some of the best paté we ate in all of France.
Final Thoughts – Was It Worth Staying At Maison Bras Hotel?
For us, staying at Maison Bras, even just for one night, was a splurge.
We decided that this special dinner warranted such a splurge. We wanted to drink a bottle of wine at dinner without worrying about driving afterward, and we were attracted to the idea of waking up and fully enjoying the property.
What we didn’t expect, though, were the extra touches like the welcome cookies and the jar of dulce de leche that we were gifted after loving it so much at breakfast.
Therein lies the ultimate thrill of a stay at Maison Bras – the joy of being swept up in one of the finest food centers of France with food and desserts prepared by one of its finest kitchens. This French food belt is also one of the most beautiful, picturesque areas in the world, making Maison Bras Hotel a great place to stay, if only for one amazing night.
Hotel Maison Bras is located at Route de l’Aubrac, 12210 Laguiole, France.
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About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.
Original Publication Date: June 7, 2016