With its serene country setting, state of the art spa and superb haute cuisine restaurant, Les Violettes made my list of places to revisit for a relaxing break whenever my travels take me anywhere in or near Alsace.

Overall Impression The Romantik Hotel Spa Les Violettes was our last stop on a tour of the Route des Vins. Today my enthusiasm at exploring Alsace’s famed Wine Road was dampened, literally, by a bone-chilling drizzle that had been falling since morning. Even the traditional half-timbered villages with their bright window boxes overflowing with red geraniums looked forlorn. Then as we were making our way along a remote country road, as if on cue a pool of sunshine bathed the onion-bulb steeple of the Thierenbach Basilica rising from the trees. Halfway up the hill beyond, an imposing pink sandstone façade seemed to glow against its backdrop of dense blue-black forest. How did Les Violettes manage that? I fleetingly wondered.

This was nature’s hint that we had entered a domain where the improbable was to be expected. Located in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains, at the very edge of the Thierenbach Valley, the Romantik Hotel Spa Les Violettes was a mere half hour’s drive south of the medieval and renaissance gems of the historic center of Colmar, and centuries away. Built in the 1920s, this three-story hunting lodge housed for decades a popular local eaterie before being acquired in 2000 by its current owner, who engaged in a thorough 15 million euro (20 million U.S. dollars at the time of this writing) renovation and expansion program. The access drive curved up the hill with the forest to its right. To the left, expanses of terraced lawns, each forming the roof of the building below it, were dotted with oversized bronze urns overflowing with the last of the summer’s flowers. Tall sculptures, contemporary renditions of mythical and religious themes, still damp from the rain, gleamed in the sunshine. In the center of the lowest lawn, the turquoise water of a pond size swimming pool shimmered against a convex backdrop of soaring pale sandstone pillars and glass walls.

After an efficient welcome, we quickly settled into our light-filled room in the new three-story building at the far side original structure and immediately proceeded to get our first taste of the much-vaunted spa facilities. An underground walkway thoughtfully linked the two parts of the hotel, so that unless we chose to, there was no reason to venture out of the pampering embrace of Les Violettes. We did, once during our stay, for a pleasant if muddy walk in the forest. Avid swimmer that I am, I was content to atone the gastronomic overindulgences that Alsace naturally invites with long indoor-outdoor swims interspersed with enjoyable visits to the steam room and multiple saunas. I found the unusual salt cave with its heated ceramic lounging beds and walls coved in crystals of natural salt especially relaxing.

For me, however, the keystone of the property was Le Jardin des Violettes, the outstanding gourmet restaurant where inspired young chef Jérôme Jaeglé dished out sumptuous surprises. He and his enthusiastic team regularly forage the nearby woods to harvest wild greens and mushroom to enhance the in-the-moment bounty of nearby suppliers. With its serene country setting, state of the art spa and superb haute cuisine restaurant, Les Violettes made my list of places to revisit for a relaxing break whenever my travels take me anywhere in or near Alsace.

Children This family-friendly property welcomed children of all ages.

Class Of Accommodation Four star hotel

Concierge Vanessa Wadgi

Connectivity There was complimentary WiFi access in the room and common areas. However, service was so slow and erratic in my room as to frequently be inoperable. Access was more reliable in the lounge but remained well under average in speed.

General Manager Mikael Becker

Handicapped Access The entire property was wheelchair friendly. It also had three rooms specifically designed to accommodate motion-impaired guests.

Length Of Stay Two nights

Location In Jungholtz, Alsace, in the northeastern corner of France. It was 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Mulhouse and 25 kilometers (16 miles) south of Colmar.

Owned / managed Philippe Bosc

Pets Allowed Pets were allowed. There was a nominal charge for post-visit room cleaning.

Size Les Violettes had 60 guest rooms, including six suites. It employed a staff of 40, including 10 restaurant personnel.

Year Opened-Renovated The property opened its doors as a luxury inn in 2003 after three years of extensive renovations. The spa was inaugurated in 2008. A contemporary extension was added to the hotel in 2011.

Lobby And Common Areas The reception area was a spacious contemporary addition to the main building. The high ceiling held three period brass chandeliers imaginatively encased in glass drums. The taupe-painted walls provided an effective background for an eclectic selection of antique local art including a remarkable 14 th century Virgin and Child polychrome statue. The travertine marble floor set off a large oriental rug in shades of blue on a crimson background. To the left of the entrance, the long wood paneled reception desk blended harmoniously with a square antique country table and side chairs in the center of the room. At the rear of the reception area, to the left of a central elevator, stairs led down to the dining room and spa. On the right, stairs led to the open floor plan lounge and bar that occupied the entire floor. Here, the space had an inviting rustic feel, with coffered polished wood ceiling, herringbone hardwood floor covered with crimson area rugs and paneled knotty pine walls that held oil paintings by various Alsatian masters. There was a floor-to-ceiling fireplace in the far corner of the room, and a tall ceramic woodstove near the paneled bar that occupied the center of the back wall.

The bar was surrounded by six high back barstools upholstered in olive velvet. At the front of the room, a series of French doors opened onto a flagstone terrace surrounded by the lawn that covered the roof of restaurant below. The lawn was a inviting seasonal lounging area with a sweeping view of the basilica and the surrounding hills. The remaining three sides of the room had high windows with taupe draperies. Seating consisted of several groups of comfortable olive velvet sofas and tan and olive striped velvet armchairs arranged around square coffee tables. There was grandfather clock in the corner near the fireplace.

Bathroom The bathroom was to the left of the entrance foyer. The floor and the lower half of the walls were tiled in cream ceramic with burgundy trim. The upper part of the walls was tan plaster. The large corner vanity had a built-in center sink and a knotty pine base with storage space and towel hangers on both sides. A framed mirror hung above the vanity, with a lighted magnifying mirror on one side and a hair dryer on the other. There was a deep, extra-long bathtub with a hand-held shower along the far wall. The commode was at the far corner of the room, facing a wall-hung floor-to-ceiling heated rack that held a pair of oversized bath towels. Recessed spotlights provided the lighting.

Room My 40 square meter (430 square foot) standard room, Number 38, had a relaxing country atmosphere. It included a small entrance foyer with an extra long luggage rack. The room had burgundy wall-to-wall carpeting with slate pin dots. The walls’ wainscoting was knotty pine, as was the furniture and the paneled double doors of the two built-in storage armoires. The upper part of the walls was cream plaster. The front of the room had extra-wide double sliding glass doors that opened onto a spacious balcony with a round table and two rattan armchairs. The pedestal king size bed was covered with a thick down comforter. Its tall headboard had built-in side tables holding candlestick wrought iron reading lamps. Ceiling-recessed spotlights provided additional lighting. Bedding was silky high-count white cotton. The remaining furniture included an overstuffed sofa covered in purple velvet, rectangular coffee table, writing desk and wooden desk chair and a footstool. A flat panel television hung on the wall opposite the bed. The sliding doors and side window near the desk had purple damask draperies. Two modern canvases in shades of blues and slate on a white background hung over the sofa and the desk to completed the décor.

Food And Restaurants Complimentary breakfast was a generous buffet served in Le Jardin des Violettes. Offerings included scrambled or boiled eggs, an assortment of excellent local charcuteries and cheeses, smoked salmon, freshly baked breakfast pastries and whole grain breads. Cold cereals and yogurt were also available. The buffet included an industrial size juicer and a large basket of assorted fresh fruits and carrots, for delicious fresh juices to taste. In addition to pots of coffee, tea and hot chocolate, a Nespresso machine was available with an assortment of capsules.

But it was at dinner time that Le Jardin des Violettes really sparkled, when under the direction of Chef Jérôme Jaeglé it became an exquisitely original restaurant, in my humble opinion, deserving even better recognition than its recently awarded Two Toques from Gault et Millau.

Amenities In-room amenities included electronic safe, bathrobes and slippers. In the bathroom, there were shower caps, cotton swabs, cotton pads, a box of tissues, scale, hair-dryer, and lighted magnifying mirror. Toiletries were individual sizes of house brand organic shampoo, shower gel, body lotion and hand and face soap.

Facilities The property had a lounge and bar, separate fully enclosed smoking room, restaurant (Le Jardin des Violettes) and spa.

Fitness Center And Spa In addition to the pool, the 1,000 square meter (10,800 square foot) Adriana Karembeu Spa had three types of saunas with various heat levels, a steam room, salt cave and a whirlpool hot tub. The spa also featured six private treatment rooms and a comprehensive menu of massages, facials and body treatments.

Pool The huge counter-current indoor-outdoor heated pool was a lap swimmer’s delight. A broad ceramic tile apron lined on the three interior sides and a dozen pale stretched canvas lounge chairs surrounded the indoor pool. The fourth side was a floor-to-ceiling glass wall that overlooked the outdoor part of the pool and its surrounding stone apron. While I thoroughly enjoyed the pool, I was disconcerted on one occasion to see it used by a family group that included a diaper-wearing toddler.

Conference Facilities There was a conference facility annex that could accommodate up to 100 guests.

Cleanliness Excellent

Date Of Review September 2012

Reviewers Article and photographs by Josette King

Service Excellent. Every member of the staff with whom I came in contact during my stay was friendly and helpful. The room was serviced daily.

Would You Stay There Again? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • Thierenbach
    • 68500 Jungholtz
    • France
  • Phone:
    • +33 (0) 3 89 76 91 19
  • Fax:
    • +33 (0) 3 89 74 29 12
  • Website:
  • Email: