At a glance

  • You'll love

    Fabulous French fare

    Nine-hole golf course

    Soothing spa treatments

  • Kids will love

    Swimming pool


    Tennis matches

  • Don’t expect


    Heated pool

    Kids club


A rural retreat in Tuilières near Mouleydier, Château les Merles is an elegant, honey-stoned hotel on a vineyard. Oenophile-pleasing pursuits are accompanied by a gastronomic restaurant and on-site golf course. The hotel’s child-friendly appeal comes in the form of swimming pool, tennis court, playground – and, of course, its family-pleasing Dordogne setting.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Château les Merles with us:

A glass of champagne, a selection of regional amuses bouches and a bottle of wine from the chateau's vineyards; from 1 October to 31 May, cots and extra beds for kids are free (usually €20 a night)

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Château les Merles

30% Off 20% off


Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including Château les Merles – has been selected and approved by parents.


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Château les Merles Hotel – Dordogne – France

Need To Know


13, including two suites, four villas and one apartment.


11am (10pm for villas and apartments); earliest check-in, 3pm (4pm for villas and apartments), but both are flexible, subject to availability.


Double rooms from £84.42 (€95), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €1.10 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (€15 for adults; €8.50 for under-12s; free for under-6s). From 1 June to 30 September, all rooms must be booked for a minimum of three nights, and apartments and villas for seven nights; the rest of the year, apartments and villas must be booked for a minimum of three nights. Children Baby cots (for under-2s) and extra beds (for under-16s) cost €20 a night, otherwise €40 a night.

At the hotel

Swimming pool, restaurant, bar, infra-red sauna, tennis court, nine-hole golf course, gardens with playground and sandpit, DVD library, free WiFi throughout.

In your room

Flatscreen TV, DVD player, radio, black-out curtain, slippers, bathrobes.

Our favourite rooms

We love the two-double-bedroomed apartment with private terrace. Sleeping up to six (max four adults), it comes with two ensuites, a well-stocked kitchenette and large, open-plan living room. Alternatively, upgrade your room by the age and size of your children: a deluxe room will accommodate a cot; suites can take up to two extra beds in the separate living area. In all rooms, gilt details and occasional antiques are toned down with whitewashed walls, sleek lacquered furniture and snowy linens. If you need to heat up baby food or cater to picky eaters, apartments and villas have microwaves and fridges.


The family-friendly outdoor pool enjoys a château-side setting, surrounded by a patio for sunbathing, furnished with sunloungers and sleek black parasols. The area is gated – open 9am to 8pm daily – and the pool itself is unheated, with wall-mounted metal steps. Please note that, in accordance with French law, children in pools must be supervised at all times.

Book ahead

Give at least 24 hours’ notice for daytime childcare or babysitting – more if possible.


Dogs and cats are welcome for €20 a night. Furry friends are allowed in all public areas of the hotel, including the restaurant, but a lead must be used on the golf course. Just let the hotel know when booking.

Food and drink

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So much more than a residents’ restaurant, Les Merles serves plaudits-winning New Périgordine cuisine under chef Bas Holten. Dishes such as medallions of beef tenderloin with bean gnocchi and sun-dried tomatoes, and shelled lobster with stir-fried vegetables and seaweed and shellfish bisque are exquisitely presented. And, beyond their good looks, many of the dishes are prepared using vegetables, fruit and herbs from the hotel’s organic garden. Dine à la carte or opt for the excellent-value set menu.

Family fare

Poule-frîtes and chocolate ice-cream typify the kid-friendly fare on the children’s menu. Family dining is welcomed at any time, with highchairs provided for the youngest of diners. 

Hotel Bar

Wine is king of tipples in the lounge bar, unsurprisingly – both the hotel’s own grapes and a selection of local bottles of renown. 

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 8am to 10.30pm, lunch from noon until 2.30pm, and dinner from 7pm to 9pm. The restaurant is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays in low season.

Smith Insider

  • Top table

    On sunny days and warm evenings, the parasol-shaded terrace is the place to dine en famille. Indoors, there’s no such thing as a bad table in the high-ceilinged, flagstone-floored Les Merles.

  • Room service

    Breakfast is available between 8am and 10.30am, and you can order from the restaurant's menus during restaurant opening hours.


    The chef is more than happy to whizz up baby-friendly dishes on request.


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Château les Merles Hotel – Dordogne – France

Parent approved

Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including Château les Merles – has been selected and approved by parents.


There’s no crèche or kids' club at the hotel, but Château les Merles is happy to organise daytime babysitting in the lounge or by the pool (€15 an hour, minimum two hours; book with 24 hours’ notice).


Daytime childcare on site at the hotel, or evening babysitting, can be arranged on request (€15 an hour; minimum two hours) with one day’s notice.


Audio monitors are available to borrow.

What's there already?

For babies

• Highchairs • Steriliser • Travel cot • Cot bedlinen • Black-out curtain • Baby monitors • Sand pit • Baby swings • Crayons

For toddlers

• Highchairs • Travel cot • Cot bedlinen • Black-out curtain • Baby monitors • Sandpit • Playground • Crayons/pens • Craft materials • U-rated DVDs

For older children

• Extra beds • DVD library • Crayons/pens • Craft materials • Computer


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Château les Merles Hotel – Dordogne – France

Things to do

Between delicious meals, play tennis or a round of golf, laze by the pool or stroll the nearby forest trails. The sandpit and playground – rather than the ninth tee – are the lure for your little ones. Plus, indoors, there's a lounge where they’re welcome to play.

Hotel activities

Château les Merles’ grand grounds and countryside setting lend themselves to sunny days outdoors, soaking up the Dordogne scenery. When fair weather eludes you, it’s no hardship to retire to the elegant winery buildings, in either of the château’s lounges, with a good book or DVD.

Sunny days

Don your Wimbledon whites and practise your serve and volley on the tennis court; or opt for a smaller kind of ball sport and play nine holes on the château golf course (€25 a round, excluding equipment). Your children will enjoy the simpler pleasures of splashing around in the hotel’s outdoor pool, perfecting their architectural skills in the sandpit, or playing on the shaded swings, slide or climbing frame (there are baby swings, too).

Rainy days

The hotel has colouring materials, children’s books and family-friendly DVDs to borrow. For older children (and their parents), there’s a computer available, plus WiFi everywhere if you take your own laptop, or curl up in the lounge with a newspaper or good book.

And there's more…

Take a walk in the woods, or ask reception to book you a horseback hack nearby, or help you to rent bicycles in town.

Local Guide

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Smith tip

A ‘pipe organ’ of stalacmytes and stalactytes steals the show at the impressive Gouffre de Proumeyssac cave system near Le Bugue. The ‘sound and light’ show at the start of the tour begins in darkness; warn little ones. There's a play area and café too.

Don't miss…

… L’Enfance de Lard on Place des Pélissière in Bergerac (+33 (0)5 53 57 52 88): this first-floor former living room turned restaurant serves well-prepared Périgord cuisine. Its open fire creates a cosy atmosphere in the cooler months.

Tuilières is your gateway to the family-friendly Dordogne. From Château les Merles, you can explore forest trails by bike, canoe, go horse riding, and visit ancient caves and hilltop citadels. In nearby Bergerac, the suitably haughty statue of Cyrano de Bergerac takes pride of place in Bergerac’s Place Pélissière; the statue’s famously protruding nose is often stolen. There are markets in Bergerac on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Lalinde on Thursdays, Libourne on Fridays and Sarlat on Saturday. Bergerac’s fleamarket sells antiques and bric-à-brac on the first Sunday of the month. And there's so much fabulous local wine to choose from; try the velvety Monbazillac, a sweet white wine often drunk to mark special occasions.

The Dordogne is dotted with castles and châteaux; two of the best are the Renaissance Château de Puyguilhem near the town of St-Jean-de-Côle and the very grand Château de Hautefort, northwest of Brive-la-Gaillarde. Closer to home, conically turreted Château Monbazillac is a 16th-century castle set in a vineyard. Take a tour of its high-ceilinged, sturdily furnished salons and finish with a glass of the house tipple – the château’s cellars are also part of the tour. (Closed for lunch between 12 noon and 2pm, though there is a restaurant on site.)

Hire kayaks with Le Bugue outfit CanoEric gives you the choice to paddle on the Dordogne or Vézère rivers. Float through neck-craning gorges with duck’s eye views of clifftop villages, and pull up on shingle beaches for a picnic and a paddle. All equipment, including life jackets, is provided. Opt for a Canadian-style canoe (open, dug-out style, rather than enclosed like a kayak) and install little ones, too young to paddle, in the middle.

A Michelin-starred restaurant perched above crop-patched countryside in Monbazillac, La Tour des Vents is a converted mill with three airy, chalk-walled dining rooms and a choice of terraces looking out over the bucolic scenery. The finessed French menu defies border controls, borrowing from culinary traditions as far apart as Italian and Thai in dishes such as foie gras with mango chutney and gingerbread, and fillet of veal with mushroom ravioli. True to French style, La Tour des Vents welcomes families, although the sophisticated menu and leisurely service will challenge those with toddlers in tow.


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Château les Merles
Tuilières, 24520, Mouleydier, Dordogne, France
Hotel setting

Bergerac’s route des vins

Getting There

Tuilières, on the banks of the Dordogne, is in rural surroundings near Mouleydier, east of Bergerac.


The nearest airport is Bergerac (, a 15-minute drive away, served by several budget carriers. Bordeaux airport ( has a greater choice of international routes, as well as French connections, and is within a two-hour drive of the hotel.


The Bordeaux-Sarlat train line stops at Bergerac, a 20-minute drive from Château les Merles. From Paris, connect at Bordeaux; from Lyon and the east, change at Libourne (


A car offers the best way to explore this rural riverine region. South-westerly Tuilières is 600km from Paris; travel on autoroutes via Orléans (A10), the A71, A20 towards Limoges, then the N21 to Bergerac. The hotel is close to the N21, which runs through Bergerac, and between the A20 and A62. From Bergerac, take the D660 east. Car hire is available from Bergerac train station and all regional airports. Driving to Bordeaux will take an hour and 45 minutes; the natural park of Landes de Gascogne is two hours away; and Toulouse is just over three hours. There’s parking at the hotel.

Parent travel tip

With little ones on board, you’ll find it worth every penny to stick to the faster, toll-road autoroutes where possible; just make sure you have plenty of loose change, to cut down on queues at the péage booths.


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Château les Merles Hotel – Dordogne – France

Smith & Family  Parent Panel reviews

Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including Château les Merles – has been selected and approved by parents.

Picture the scene: your children are engrossed in their buckets and spades in the sandpit; in the shade of the trees, older kids giggle with glee as they shoot down the slide or conquer the climbing frame… Pan out a little further to reveal the hotel’s parent-pleasing features. A creamy-stoned château and fields of vines come into view – this is, after all, a winery, where guests are invited to taste the house tipples as well as local Bergerac bottles. Book a babysitter and take your time over artfully presented Périgordine fare in the gastronomic restaurant, or grab a child-free hour to indulge in a body wrap or treatment.

However, all this grown-up goodness doesn’t signal a ‘seen and not heard’ scene: the welcome extended to families by staff – plus the playground and swimming pool, spacious suites and a super-smart two-bedroomed apartment – is what makes Château des Merles a child-friendly property. There may not be a kids’ club, and you may be on a vineyard, but the hotel offers enough thoughtful touches to make a family stay at this fabulously French retreat enjoyable for all ages.

Smith & Family

I’ve often fantasised about having a hospitable French friend who lives a charmed life in an elegant 18th-century pad that’s rustic enough to be characterful, but restored with a swoosh of style so it’s luxe and comfortable. Of course it’s nestled somewhere scenic yet accessible. ‘Come over’, my imaginary pal insists, ‘Stay for a while. Hang out, eat some food, drink our wine and bring the kids. They’ll LOVE it.’

It’s as though he exists with this traditional honey-stoned hotel with its sweet shuttered windows and orange-tree flanked entrances – but it appears a grown-ups-only affair. It’s so peaceful. So gastro. So wine buff. Accompanied by sqwarcking children, how would you hear the morning birdsong? How could you concentrate as the genius sommelier recommends the perfect vintage to accompany your six-course eat-a-thon? Worry not, Chateau Les Merles is a no-brainer bolthole for those with little ones. It may all be white walls and lashings of black eggshell paint with pops of colour courtesy of voguish velvet armchairs and vibrant artwork with narrow hallways and lounges full of massive gilt mirrors, hurricane lamps and perspex chairs alongside antique pine tables, restored cast-iron radiators, exposed stonework and original beams – but its family credentials make a stay here fuss free and uncomplicated.

When the weather warms up, the hotel’s pool is open for business. Settle yourself on the terrace and your day is pretty much decided. Enfant Smiths can shriek at the top of their lungs in the sprawling grounds without fear of being shushed. There’s a small play area for the tinies, a tennis court for sporty types and lots of lush gardens to gallivant in. My imaginary friend was right. They do love it.

Anonymously reviewed by Ali Horsfall, tween talker

The Guestbook  Smith member reviews

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