As the name suggests it is where we break up long journeys and discuss what we find out about the places where we stay.
Do you ever need a Calais Hotel? Or at least one close by? Do you prefer to stay outside of Calais itself? Are you looking for a reasonably priced hotel and restaurant? Perhaps you have your pets with you and need a place that accommodates animals?
Hotel Bal is worth considering
Over the years we have stayed in a number of places in and around Calais but 3 years ago Denise, my wife, discovered the Hôtel Bal at Tournehem sur la Hem in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais on booking.com. We were travelling back to the UK mid-August to enrol our son into college. We arrived after a long drive from our cottage in the Lot, around the west side of Paris and up towards Calais and onto Tournehem.
The hotel was run at the time by a young couple. It was clean and had not long been renovated. The couple were very welcoming and we were able to have a relaxing drink before going into the restaurant for dinner. The food was well-priced and was good without being outstanding. We were looking for a place to settle for the evening without driving elsewhere to have dinner and a glass of wine. We weren’t disappointed.
Since then we have met a variety of people who use the hotel regularly. Some prefer to stay outside of Calais prior to their return to the UK. Others like ourselves, like the fact that it is a reasonably priced hotel that provides a relaxing atmosphere. While there are generally a number of Brits in residence for the evening, the hotel boasts a wide variety of clients, with Dutch, Belgian, German guests as well as French. There are locals that also come to eat at the hotel restaurant which is a good sign.
On one occasion I got into a conversation with a French gentleman who had come up from the Pyrenees. On hearing that I was living near Geneva, he spoke about the days he worked in the area constructing a part of CERN, the nuclear research centre (See our blog post). He was definitely a character, greeting all and sundry while at dinner.
We once stayed at the Hotel Bal a couple of days after Christmas and this time there was no restaurant open. Luckily I had stayed there a little before the holiday period, saw the announced closure and inquired about restaurants close by. The couple suggested they could provide a cold meal of chacuterie, cheese and crudité for our return. The meal would be taken in our room.
I agreed as I knew I wouldn’t want to drive after a long day at the wheel. That evening we ate very well indeed considering it was only €6 per person. With a lovely bottle of wine we had a very relaxing evening.
That was the last time we saw the couple as a few days later they were to become parents. By the next summer they had sold to the current owners. The hotel is now run by at least 3 people, a married couple and another lady. The warmth of the welcome has not diminished and we have been able to develop a good client-owner relationship. As always Beau, our Golden Retriever, is welcome, a fact that is very important to us.
I guess, with our son now based in the UK and ourselves based in France, we’ll be using the hotel for a while yet unless of course you can suggest other places we should try.
Other similar hotels; Closer to Calais, the beach and the Tunnel terminal are:
Hotel Residence du Golf
We’ve used this a few times. Large rooms with self catering facilities and great with the dog. Adjoining restaurant is good especially after a long drive and again no worries about enjoying a glass of wine. Nice view of the sunset; opposite the beach. Nearer to the Tunnel and Ferry Terminals and to the cheap petrol station at Auchan (Route de Boulogne).
Have used this just the once when travelling on my own. It’s part of the same company as the adjoining Hotel du Golf. Both hotels are reasonably priced and comfortable. The restaurant is used by both hotels and often has locals in it for their evening out.
All in All
So the Hotel Bal at Tournehen seems to tick all the boxes of a reasonably priced hotel and restaurant, a 20 minute or so drive to Ferry and Tunnel terminals and outside of Calais. And of course, it offers a place to relax.
Don’t forget to let us know about other hotels in the region.