When it comes to good food, beautiful scenery and luxury hotels – France really does has it all. I’m sure every other country apart from France would probably disagree, but personally for me it’s as one of the worlds best gastronomic capitals and has such a vast array of just about everything edible. Some of the best cheeses, wines and meats come from France – but also some of the worlds best hotels.
Having visited France countless times, this was my first visit to Montpellier and what a place it was. Young, vibrant, gastronomic and full of history. While the city is a great place to spend a day in, just 10 minutes from the airport is a luxurious retreat named Domaine de Verchant. A place that disconnects you from the rest of the world, yet still located in the centre of it all.
A very swift check-in later and we settled into our room. A very cosy deluxe terrace with a magnificent terrace which overlooks the hotel grounds. In terms of size I found the room a little small for what I’d usually book, but the terrace space makes up for that. The king size bed was incredibly cosy, as were the pillows and the amenities were great. Fresh fruits were waiting for us, a fully stocked mini-bar and even a bottle of this properties very own wine (which was delicious).
For those staying here on business can utilise the large desk and desktop Mac in room or small seating area next to the window. There was no bath in our room, but a good shower with complimentary Relais & Châteaux spa products.
Step outside and the magic continues to unfold. We arrived to some absolutely glorious weather, with not a single cloud in the sky during our stay and a lovely 25 degrees – something we hadn’t anticipated for a late October trip. One thing you really get a sense of here at this hotel is its Provencal style. Olive trees scatter the grounds, people are outside sipping on rose wine on the terrace and the smell of sweet herbs can still be enjoyed in the late autumn air.
Up early flying from London the same day, we couldn’t wait to check into the spa. This must be without a doubt the best spa’s in Montpellier, or indeed the South of France. Verchant Le Spa covers a total of 2,000 sq meters and is located at the heart of its 17 hectares of vineyards which surround it.
Even the changing rooms are stunning and have everything you could ever need both for both before and after your spa experience. From beauty products, to snacks, juices and hot drinks. There’s a relaxation room, gym, experience showers, Turkish bath and 3 saunas – one of which offers views into the garden and is located inside the changing rooms.
Delve a little deeper and you’ll find the garden-level indoor pool which not only looks beautiful, but offers a counter-current swim system, bubbling Jacuzzi and outdoor relaxation garden.
When you think it can’t get any better here, it does and in spellbinding beauty. The spa is also home to one of the most magnificent outdoor heated swimming pools. Bright rich blue water reflecting off the afternoon sun and views out over the vineyards. During Autumn the colours of the turning vines make it extra special. Order a glass of Champagne and take it all in. Time has never felt so well spent.
Looking out across the pool is Restaurant La Plage. Seating 70, expect to dine on a menu full of southern French flair and sip of domaine produced wines from nearby vineyards. I ate some of the best duck of my 2017 here and throughout the year there is always something going on. Read all about my lunch experience at Le Plage Restaurant.
Back to our room we enjoyed the complimentary bottle of the hotels wine on our terrace, taking in the last of the afternoon sun before heading into the City of Montpellier for a few too many sweet & savoury crepes. On our return some extra bottles water and chocolates were waiting for us. It’s all about the little touches here.
The following morning we popped down for breakfast which was a very lavish affair which will easily satisfy your hunger till the afternoon. You’ll find everything from hams & cheeses, breads, pastries, smoked salmon, cakes and a hot buffet option. Fresh juices were excellent here so don’t miss out and the cakes to die for.
Full of energy after a good sleep and filling breakfast, we continued to explore the properties vast grounds. Back near the entrance there’s a second pool which while picturesque, it’s not heated so a little chilly – but during the Summer I’d imagine it’s very much welcomed. Surrounding the property is an array of exotic flora and even pomegranate trees.
Just away from the main house and you’ll find beautiful water features, giant chess pieces, an extensive herb garden and bamboo over 4 metres high. All of these gardens and trees are home to such an array of birds too which you’ll see and hear during your stay.
A little late in the year for any grapes to still be on the vines, but there’s something about being in a vineyard that is so magical. If exploring the 13-hectare’s of vines and grape varieties isn’t enough, pop to the on-site shop for a wine tasting and to pick up your favourite bottle (or case).
Being our last day at the hotel, we couldn’t resist spending as much time as we possibly could in that stunning infinity pool. No doubt drinking the remaining stocks of rose wine in the process.
For our final evening we enjoyed dinner at the hotels main restaurant, Verchant. Starting with a glass of Champagne and canapes in the bar while watching the sunset before heading into the dining room.
Overseen by Damien Cousseau, we dined on a surprise tasting menu full of Mediterranean flare and one amazing cheeseboard. Read all about my dinner experience HERE.
Saying our farewells, we really didn’t want to leave Domaine de Verchant and our stay here was nothing short of extraordinary. Fantastic food, a sumptuous estate and a world-class spa. It’s not a question of would we come back, but simply when. For more details and to book – head over the hotels website.
NB: My stay was complimentary. All views are as always, my own. My views are not influenced by anyone other than my own palate and slightly poor eyesight.