Relais & Châteaux: 70 Years of Cultivating Culinary and Hospitality Excellence


2024 marks a momentous occasion for Relais & Châteaux, the esteemed association synonymous with exceptional hospitality and exquisite gastronomy. This year celebrates the organization’s 70th anniversary, a remarkable journey that began with a simple yet profound vision: to create a “Route du Bonheur” – The Road to Happiness – for discerning travelers seeking unique and unforgettable experiences.

Relais & Châteaux
Relais & Châteaux

From Humble Beginnings to Global Recognition: A Historical Timeline

1954: The Birth of Relais de Campagne

The story of Relais & Châteaux unfolds in 1954, nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes between Paris and Nice, France. Eight visionary hoteliers joined forces to establish Relais de Campagne, a collection of charming and characterful properties united by a shared passion for hospitality and a desire to offer guests an authentic taste of French culture. This initial chapter laid the groundwork for a movement that would redefine luxury travel for decades to come.

Expansion and Evolution: A Flourishing Association

The 1960s witnessed a pivotal turning point for Relais de Campagne. The association’s influence extended beyond French borders, welcoming its first European properties, signifying the start of a global expansion. This growth trajectory continued in 1974 with the momentous merger of Relais de Campagne and Châteaux Hôtels, marking the birth of the now-renowned Relais & Châteaux brand. Recognizing the vital role of culinary artistry within their properties, the association established Relais Gourmands in the same year, highlighting the exceptional gastronomy offered by its members.

A Global Embrace: Welcoming the World

Relais & Châteaux’s commitment to fostering a truly global community of hospitality is evident in its continuous expansion. By 1975, the association proudly welcomed its first properties in the United States, Canada, and Japan, showcasing its dedication to offering an unparalleled travel experience across continents. This dedication to global inclusivity fueled further growth, and by 1992, Relais & Châteaux boasted a presence in a staggering 40 countries, solidifying its position as a leader in luxury travel.

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A Vision for the Future: Commitment Beyond Hospitality

The year 2014 marked another significant milestone for Relais & Châteaux. Standing before UNESCO, the association unveiled its compelling vision, outlined by 20 key commitments. These commitments transcended the realm of hospitality, establishing Relais & Châteaux as a champion for the preservation of global culinary traditions. A dedication to sharing a passion for beauty and taste, while promoting a more humane world, became central to the association’s ethos.

2024 and Beyond: A Legacy of Excellence

Today, in 2024, Relais & Châteaux thrives under the leadership of President Laurent Gardinier. Encompassing over 580 unique properties across the globe, the association remains true to its founding principles. Each property is meticulously curated, boasting ownership and operation by independent entrepreneurs. These passionate individuals are driven by an unwavering commitment to their craft and are dedicated to fostering genuine connections with their guests.

A Culinary Star: Michelin Recognition and Gastronomic Delights

Relais & Châteaux’s dedication to culinary excellence is further underscored by its impressive collection of Michelin-starred restaurants. Boasting a remarkable 376 Michelin Stars, including 40 prestigious Green Stars, the association stands as a global leader in gastronomy. This recognition is a testament to the exceptional culinary experiences offered by its member properties. Relais & Châteaux actively champions the protection, promotion, and enhancement of local cuisines and hospitality traditions, ensuring these treasures are preserved for generations to come.

Beyond a Brand: A Philosophy for a Better World

Relais & Châteaux transcends the boundaries of a mere brand. It embodies a profound philosophy centered on the belief that fostering exceptional culinary experiences and unparalleled hospitality can contribute to creating a better world. This unwavering commitment to fostering connections, celebrating local cultures, and promoting sustainability positions Relais & Châteaux not only as a leader in luxury travel but also as a champion for a more meaningful and enriching travel experience for all.

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Relais & Châteaux: Your Gateway to Unforgettable Experiences

For discerning travelers seeking a journey that transcends the ordinary, Relais & Châteaux offers a captivating collection of properties. Each location promises a unique and unforgettable experience, steeped in local culture and infused with the passion of independent hoteliers. From charming countryside retreats to opulent castles, Relais & Châteaux properties cater to diverse preferences, ensuring a perfect match for every traveler’s dream vacation.