Located near Niort and Saint Maixent, this castle was built in 1691, as inscribed on the keystone of its front door. The large buildings surrounding the abbatial church housed monks of the powerful Benedictine order of Saint Maur. In the 17th century, this abbatial has been rebuilt in a very beautiful gothic style by the duke known as “Toscane” who worked for the monks of Saint Maur. At that time, the city of Saint Maixent was a very important city with a population of almost 15,000 inhabitants. After the religious wars between Catholics and Protestants, Saint Maixent stood as a Catholic fiefdom.
As a major stop on the route to Saint-Jacques de Compostelle, this castle-lodge welcomed pilgrims on their way to Spain. It was a warm abode, offering room and board for a rest after having walked all day long.
At the end of 18th century, the abbey sustained a period of decline and its convent was given to the French army who created a military school in 1926. From that point, the city officially became “Saint-Maixent l’École”.
Acquired by the Younan Collection in 2016, the new owner wanted to perpetuate Hotel Saint-Martin’s tradition of warmth, hospitality and personal service in wonderfully preserved surroundings, a few steps from the river la Sèvre Niortaise. With a central position, at the crossroads of medieval roads coming from the entire Europe, it is still a major stop, but now for an English clientele who wants to take a break on their road to the south. They still enjoy an authentic welcome in a stunning setting.
The newly-renovated guest rooms offer comfort and 21st century luxuries. The restaurant “L’Oratorien” and Chef Alexandre Laborel, offer a gastronomic menu that pays homage to French classics while bringing a contemporary note, in a setting that is visually inspired by the Ways to Compostelle.
Since the lodge was converted to a boutique hotel, numerous luminaries have stayed and dined at Hotel. It has welcomed the Dalaï Lama, who stayed for three nights, accompanied by Matthieu Ricard and a Tibetan delegation. More recently, Prince Albert II of Monaco chose the Château Saint Martin during his travels through Poitou.