Relais & Châteaux: What it Means

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Charles McDiarmid
By Charles McDiarmid, Owner & Maître de Maison
Newsletters25 January 2017


We’re often asked about the meaning of Relais & Châteaux, and what the organization is about. It’s an association whose values and mission mirror the Inn’s: a collection of family owned and operated individual properties throughout the world all aiming to provide the experiential traveler with a sense of place.

The association was formed in 1954 when a collection of small hoteliers in France created the Route de Bonheur or “Road to Happiness” as a map of meandering stopovers between Paris and the French Riviera.

Properties apply for membership in Relais & Châteaux and are accepted into the association based on the original principles sought out in those first participating properties, also known as the 5 C’s:

• Courtesy – the application of courteous, genuine service. A “welcoming home” for travelers.
• Charm – through interior design and special artisanal touches throughout.
• Character – architectural design of the buildings.
• Calm – a relaxed setting and demeanor.
• Cuisine – providing a fresh culinary experience and a “taste of the land”.

Though the preponderance of Relais & Châteaux properties are based in Europe, there are a growing number here in North America (and throughout the world), including seven in Western Canada which make up our own regional Route de Bonheur. On your next visit to the Inn, you can browse the worldwide properties in the newly released Relais & Châteaux guides (back by popular demand), or keep up to date on the association through their engaging and informative Instants online magazine. Happy exploring!

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