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FAQ

Is the ecolodge accessible in winter?

The ecolodge is perfectly accessible in winter through Chalinargues. The road from Allanche remains closed by the snow and we strongly advise against taking it, even with a 4 wheel car. However, the ecolodge being 1,145 meters high, please think of carrying a set of chains to ensure they can reach us unless you have snow-tires, particularly useful in case it may snow. From Paris, it is quite convenient to come by the train, to Neussargues through Clermont-Ferrand. Upon arrival in Neussargues train station, we will gladly book you a taxi transfer to the ecolodge. It is a 10 to 15 minute-drive, worth about € 30 the transfer.

What is the ecolodge? A hotel-restaurant in the countryside?

An ecolodge is traditionally a lodge located on a natural site, often a park or a nature reserve, with a particular concern for the environment. Two components are an integral part of the philosophy of the ecolodge: the protection of the environment in its creation or rehabilitation and daily life. To think local is another concern. At « instants d’Absolu » Ecolodge & Spa, beyond the eco-rehabilitation of a three-hundred-year-old farm and the extension of the welcome board in a wood frame filled with wood fiber... our daily wish is to protect the exceptional environment the ecolodge is surrounded by as well as participate in the development of the region. From the supply of local products for the restaurant to the use of biodegradable products for cleaning, including a conservation fee suggested to our guests and we are also committed to, in order to participate either to safeguard the royal kite or protect bats, frogs...

Why “le luxe des grands espaces” (meaning the luxury of the Nature exhuberance)?

Space is nowadays pure luxury. More numerous on the planet, more urban, our world is more crowded than ever. Auvergne offers the ultimate luxury of an unspoiled land and distant horizons. A land where man can experience the benefits of solitude that can sometimes frighten but surely regenerates.

What about the name « instants d’Absolu » (meaning timeless rare moments)? Does it reflect an experience of living?

« instants d’Absolu » is a name that sounds like a timeless experience to live, and which seemed to reflect the spirit of the place: the quality of silence, the absence of any nuisance, but also a special quality of light, notably in the morning when a veil of mist floats above the lake or at sunset when the landscape seems to ignite.

May I take my dog to the ecolodge?

We have chosen not to accept pets (dogs, cats ...) to enable the wilderness that surrounds us is to deploy without any inconvenience and thank you for your kind understanding. In case you should not find anybody next to you to take care of your pet, how about finding the right companion through: https://fr.dogbuddy.com/?

Is the ecolodge family-friendly?

Sharing a family stay at the ecolodge is a very appropriate experience provided you don’t impact the flavour of the place, namely the quietness of this small structure. We do welcome families from time to time and most of them are happy to spend time together in total serenity, listening to each other. It must be clearly established as a prerequisite that the children will have to respect what we consider as basics: not to run in the ecolodge, not to shout or speak loudly, not to come to the restaurant with a tablet broadcasting a cartoon which everyone would benefit and not leave the table between courses. That said, in the hope of mutual respect, we can gladly accommodate a family. However, seeing that, except a room that can accommodate up to 4 people and a junior suite for a couple and a baby (voluntarily without direct neighborhood not to disturb other people’s stay and sleep), our rooms are classically designed for 2 persons. So do not be surprised that we will suggest two rooms side by side or face to face.

How to choose my bedroom? I can see few photos only.

The ecolodge is definitely not a classic hotel. Here, everything invites you to let go and live the moment. Hence our desire to suggest more than show. What would the trip sound if you had all heard or seen about? To reassure you, let’s say all the rooms are widely described in our offers, both by the online booking system and by email upon request. In terms of decoration, they are all different, voluntarily personalized and unique, but all with that same Lodge style.

Is it true that the bedrooms do not offer large windows facing the lake?

What became an ecolodge for the above reasons is ultimately part of an old farmhouse, part of which was originally a Templar house. The ecolodge is indeed on an old route of the Via Arverna leading to Compostella. With a view to respecting the past and the soul of this house, we have had no or little impact on openings, by enlarging a window there, opening a double-glazed door in the aesthetic logic of the main entrance. Opening more windows, besides the fact that it would have killed the aesthetics of this house, would have seemed a heresy to us, in the light of its history. In addition, we have noticed that small windows open frames on the nature that allow to focus the eyes on a detail, a place and further call to contemplation, whereas one can feel dizzy while looking through large windows. However, in 2020, while joyfully blowing out 10 candles, we wished to make more meaningful and lively a small bedroom, by opening it onto the barn hill with a private terrace and XXL lake view. "Le Guetteur de Lune" (the Moonwatcher) is its name... More than a bedroom, it invites you to experience the powerful connection to the Moon while enjoying a starry sky direct from the bed since the bedroom faces a large bay window acting as a French window.

Is it a problem if I leave the light on in my bedroom when I go down to dinner?

When we ask to think about turning off the lights when our guests leave their bedroom, it is our simple way to draw attention to obvious things. Leaving lights on consumes electricity, which contributes to the greenhouse effect and thus to temperature variations. This also has a cost and therefore inevitable consequences. Besides, creating this unnecessary electricity uses nuclear energy for NOTHING. It seems essential to us to think of such daily matters, less for the future ultimately than for the present time. Living daily while giving essential meaning to our simple actions is our principle of life, far beyond environmental concern. If, in addition, we have created an ecolodge, it is not for the marketing fashionable concept but for far deeper reasons. The same reasons that made us involve in the reduction of energy together with the Auvergne region in respect of the Agenda 21. Following this logic, we changed from gas energy (initially) to wood sawdust, for both heating and hot water.

Can we come to the ecolodge with friends?

Coming to the ecolodge in order to share time with friends is an option even if for reasons of tranquility of the place and organization (of the dining room notably), we do not accept more than 6 people together. Beyond, the ecolodge can be privatized for a stay alltogether, without any risk of interference with other guests. Most of our guests coming as couples, with a view to meeting and relaxing away from the crowd, it makes sense that we should be concerned by their tranquility and a peaceful general atmosphere. For any privatization (2 nights minimum), do not hesitate to contact us sufficiently ahead of your stay since one room only booked will not allow privatization.

Have the children access to the Spa?

The Spa is the only space strictly for adults, for the simple reason that children have a playful and energetic relation with water that does not match the peacefulness of the area. Apart from Spa opening hours (4:00 to 8:00 pm) and according to the possibilities, you may ask to privatize the Spa with the family (at a cost of use).

When the ecolodge is fully booked, can we still enjoy the Spa?

The Spa includes a sauna that can accommodate 3-4 people, a hot tub for up to 5 other people and an individual barrel hammam. It also offers a resting area and a lounge for audio-guided meditations (that can welcome 3 people at a time). Since the beginning of the health crisis, the Spa is open for max. 8 persons on a 90 mn. slot time. No reason why you should not be able to enjoy it fully.

What services should I book to enjoy a stay at the ecolodge?

Any stay at the ecolodge comes together with an access to the Spa in the afternoon, dinner (beverages extra) and breakfast. Because the ecolodge is a healing place away from the noise of the world, it seems essential to take full advantage of the opportunity to relax. Especially after a time spent at the Spa, few guests would like to drive not less than 10 km before finding a restaurant (20 km return trip, in winter 35 km). In addition to that, our Chef will make you (re)discover local products cooked in a creative way: so is the Couscous with bio vegetables and blond local peas.

Why is a minimum of 2 nights necessary?

Because any stay actually starts in the afternoon (from 4:00 pm when taking your bedroom to release the next morning before 11:00 am), it seems obvious that a relaxing place deserves a minimum of two nights. Two nights to release tension and enjoy some of the great sceneries. In order to recharge, it is clear that more time is necessary. This environment between lake and volcano, in the heart of a forest of nearly 6,000 acres, offers walking, snowshoeing, horseback riding, rides with huskies... all activities conducive to letting go and understanding of environment. Unless you aspire to contemplation, which also is the perfect place for. Bird-watching is part of it.

If I do not want to take the car and move during the day, where can I have lunch?

The restaurant at the ecolodge is only open for dinner, with the exception of the Sunday lunch, from mid-March to mid-November. However, throughout the year, the ecolodge will offer healthy lunch-boxes on preliminary order. Last but not least: in winter, in order to meet many of our guests willing, who either come by train or do not want to take the car to find a place where to have lunch, we offer a one and only menu daily at 1:00 pm.

Is it true that there is no TV?

We do think the most beautiful screen we can offer you is outdoors. Thus, it seemed to us damaging to install televisions in the bedrooms, which would not be in accordance with the flavor of the ecolodge. What could be more resourceful than to be lulled in your bedroom by the concert of frogs or the stag belling that resonates off in the night... unless you go out on the terrace and contemplate a starlit sky?

Is there a telephone in the bedroom? Is the mobile phone accessible?

If we did not wish to install the phone in the bedroom for reasons of peacefulness and of a real break to offer away from the daily life, do not hesitate to communicate our phone in case you may be contacted for family or business reasons. We understand some young parents will feel reassured if they can be reached when needed without feeling permanently connected. The mobile phone is not accessible in the ecolodge and this is what allows to enjoy it as a place of tranquility. Imagine the phone ringing during meals! Outside you will find connection even though we recommend that you use your phone when needed only, just for the simple pleasure of disconnecting to better reconnect to the essential: a sunrise, a flight of ducks over the lake, a sunset or a starlit sky...

I would like to celebrate my 40th birthday with my family and friends. How can I book?

For a birthday, a wedding anniversary, baptism... it is possible to privatize the ecolodge for a stay between yourselves, on the basis of 10 to 23 people. If children join, it is possible to offer some additional beds. For any privatization (2 nights minimum), kindly contact us sufficiently ahead of your stay.

I want to surprise my girlfriend for her birthday. What can I organize for her?

Many of our guests want to surprise their partner when coming here away from the world. This place is perfect as a romantic place, full of easy walks, contemplation time facing the lake or peaceful moments to share at the Spa as well as gourmet dinners to savour. You can also ask us ahead of arrival for a bottle of Champagne to bring you into your room upon arrival. Or how about our scented candle? A massage or an Ab[SO]lute Spa (private Spa + massages) can add a romantic and wellness touch to your surprise of an escape.

Can we walk around the lake? In the summer, can we swim in the lake?

The Lac du Pêcher, Sensitive Natural Area labelled Natura 2000, is neither navigable nor swimmable. It is a beautiful migratory corridor for many species of birds. Among the earliest migrations, hundreds of swallows fly over the lake in kind of a ballet. The great crested grebes parading in spring time also offer a wonderful moment of contemplation. Some nest on the lake shore. For these reasons, a trail and a bird observatory were installed far away enough from the lake not to disturb birds. Please, understand that a path along the lake, in swampy areas, would be nonsense from an ecological point of view. We thank you for staying at a respectable distance from the banks so that you should make beautiful observations.

Which season do you recommend if I want you to make the most of the ecolodge?

Shall we say that every season has its charm (what we do feel), we would not answer the question. So let's say it all depends on your expectations. If you want to come for bird watching, spring and autumn are the most appropriate seasons. Spring (May, June) also offer a beautiful moment for flowers and frogs’concerts that makes us feel we live in a virgin forest. Fall time is exciting for stag belling, from mid-September to mid-October. Summer is a time when one can more enjoy the outdoors, lying on a deck chair, as well as visiting the region more broadly because the days are long and therefore ideal to drive through small roads. Winter is a magical season for those who like the silence and want to experience this feeling of loneliness that can be scary at first but surely regenerates. A great time to come on a "retreat" alone, providing time for yourself... from walking to reading, spa treatments and contemplation through the window of the living room. With particularly warm moments at the tea-time or aperitif by the Cantou (big fireplace).

What is the conservation fee? Is it mandatory?

We decided to establish a conservation fee as a conservation fee for two main reasons: - first: when we travel through natural reserves or wildlife parks in the world (Africa, America ...), we pay entry fees. In France, hardly do you know that you are entering a natural sanctuary. Even though not mandatory, the conservation fee invites to more vigilance: do not throw anything on the ground, do not pick flowers, some of which are protected ... - second: living in a rural revitalization area implies participating in the local level. That’s our reason for doubling the conservation fee our hosts pay: € 1 you pay = € 1 given from our turnover. Convinced that the world is one country and that our disorders as well as our good actions have global repercussions, we have since the very first days worked together with the Local Birdlife association in the protection of the royal kite. Then, we worked on a better knowledge of the bats (11 species on the lake) before, as an answer to Perrine Crosmary’s request (via HISA, her association) we participated and invited you to participate in the protection of the snow leopard in Ladakh. Now and for one year, we have been focusing on saving and raising awareness of the shrike.

Do we have an Internet access at the ecolodge?

Even if on a remote place, the Internet is a real necessity for us, for the daily work and development of our small structure. And since Internet is part of the landscape, we are glad to inform you that even far from civilization, we're connected, by satellite in the lounge, having decided to spare the bedrooms from the waves for both a peaceful atmosphere and health reasons. We thank you for a proper use of the Internet to check and send emails without downloading documents since ADSL is a real luxury that we do not enjoy. Therefore, it could bug our connection and deprive us of access. For the same reasons, we thank you to cut the Internet connection when you do not use it any longer.

It looks like you are not on Booking or Expedia. How come?

With a large possibility of reservation provided by the Internet, it is now possible to book a room on a hotel’s website (or by way of telephone or email) as well as on many other sites (Booking, Expedia ...). If these offer a better visibility for the hotels and offer a booking facility (a few clicks only) amplified by messages like "free cancellation up to 48 hours ahead", you ought to know that the messages delivered are partly true, but partly only. Thus, partly false. Each hotel maintains its own conditions of sales and cancellation and a generic communication "justified" by the large number of hotels and guesthouses available on these networks affect the proper organization of hotels. Moreover, we do regret that through a policy of adwords, Booking often diverts customers (while we paid to register and protect our name). You may also need to understand that margins generated by the reservations are reinvested to accommodate you better (no one else rehabilitated the ecolodge through the years), or to upgrade the accessibility and safety standards, regularly reinforced. Sometimes it can allow us revisit a room, a hallway and ideally in the coming years, we hope to hire one more person. For all such reasons, it seemed to us important to let you know the consequences of your decisions and abandon such collaborations.

If I am staying at the ecolodge, can I invite friends to join for dinner?

If you are at the ecolodge and would like to invite friends for dinner, it is essential that you should consult us in advance to make sure this is possible both in terms of bookings and supply but also of organization of our teams. The more in advance you let us know, the better, but most commonly we will gladly welcome you at a table for up to 4 to 6 people.

If I want to book a massage for my girlfriend, which would you recommend? Will he/she choose on site at the time of the massage?

Convinced that a good massage is to be decided at the right time, according to your physical tensions, possible muscular pains and/or energetic blockages, our Spa menu only invites you to reserve a time slot: 45 or 75 minutes. You then just have to let yourself be carried away, only formulating your possible expectations at the beginning of the session. No need to worry about projecting the desire and reservation of your beloved one.

Can we come to the ecolodge for lunch and Spa without booking a stay?

The Spa has been designed for the guests at the ecolodge and is open to them on a free access daily from 4pm to 8pm. It is not open outside during this time-slot. Now, in order to meet a growing demand for well-being and access to the Spa, we have created an offer entitled "Ab[SO]lu SPA" especially for non residents. This offer includes the privatization of the Spa for 2 and a 45 min.-massage per person. It is notably a wonderful moment to indulge on Sundays in conjunction with lunch time.

Can I offer a stay at the ecolodge? Do you make gift vouchers?

If we have decided, after three years of operation, not to be included anymore in gift boxes, this is because we have seen how it more often results from reasons such as “I was offered this gift box and your hotel is the closest or is available” or: “my box will soon be out of date, I have to react quickly”. This does not satisfy us, having set our hearts not only on accommodating and feeding guests, but also, and perhaps above all on making them live a digital detox experience (disconnection from laptops, phones and other technologies) and thereby reconnect them to the essentials (Earth, Sky) and through Nature, find the connection to their own nature.

An “ambitious programme” some may think, that goes beyond the traditional framework of hotels and restaurants, whose pillars (to sleep and eat well) are nevertheless essential to us. Now, this said, we gladly answer direct requests for gift vouchers, either from regulars guests who would like to share such experience of a stay on the shore of Lac du Pêcher or from people who dream of a great escape at the ecolodge and ultimately offer it to their sister, friend or co-worker. We do appreciate you are so many to think of the ecolodge for a gift and thank you for this. Note that our offers can be flexible and adaptable to your needs.
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