Hotel Highlights

  • Just outside Montpellier – the perfect country and city getaway
  • Amazing spa with views of the neighbouring vineyards
  • Stylish mansion makeover by designer Raymond Morel

Overview

This grand boutique hotel is set on its own wine estate just outside Montpellier, in Castelnau Le Lez. Domaine de Verchant is a mansion made over by Raymond Morel into a luxury retreat with a deliciously decadent spa. The buttercup-yellow building dates from the 14th-century – within the old stone walls and weathered shutters, you’ll find marvellous mosaics and a sharply curated collection of European design classics.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Domaine de Verchant with us:

A bottle of red or white from the hotel vineyard, and a 10 per cent discount on spa treatments and massages

Facilities

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Domaine de Verchant - Languedoc-Roussillon - France

Need To Know

Rooms

26, including nine suites.

Check–out

12 noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $364.01 (€264), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast, €25. Half-board can be arranged for a €54 supplement.

Also

There’s an indulgent spa with a hammam, indoor heated pool that looks past its Bisazza mosaic onto the vineyards, and a personal trainer ready to send you jogging around the gardens. Couples can book the private area and have a steam room, balneotherapy bath and terrace to themselves. It's €20 a day to use the spa, unless you're staying in a Junior Suite or have a treatment booked.

At the hotel

Spa with sauna, hammam, Jacuzzi and gym, wine-tasting caveau, gardens, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD, Anne Sémonin or Hermès products. Some rooms have PCs and printers, and some suites have Bose sound systems and iPod docks.

Our favourite rooms

In the Neige d’Avril honeymoon suite, there’s a round bed with sheer white curtains, a dressing room and sitting area and an enormous hydro-massage tub. The suite also has a private terrace. We love the pool-facing Chinoise Suite, the Marie Charlotte Room for its hand-carved antique Indian door, and the Nur Mahal Room, which has access to the garden from its own terrace. La Forge apartment is great for families. It has lots of space and an upstairs lounge with views over the vineyards.

Poolside

The free-form pool is encircled by lush lawns, pine and palm trees, and lots of vines. There's a heated indoor hydrotherapy pool in the spa.

Packing tips

Your sleekest swimwear for the spa. And a wide-brimmed hat for shade while frolicking around the vineyards.

Also

Pets can come too, for €20 a day.

Children

Cots are provided free; extra beds are €42. The restaurant has a children’s menu, and breakfast is included for under-12s. A local babysitter can be arranged.

Weddings

This property is suitable for weddings

More details

Food & Drink

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Domaine de Verchant - Languedoc-Roussillon - France

Hotel Restaurant

The Pourcel twins are behind the elegant but unfussy gourmet restaurant. There’s a bien-être menu of grilled fish and so on, providing gastronomic back-up for the good work done in the hotel spa, but those on a more gluttonous track needn’t worry – there’s an à la carte offering of delicious Mediterranean cuisine.

Hotel Bar

A bright space with mosaic flooring, square grey tables and egg-shaped swivel chairs in olive-green leather, the bar is the perfect place to test-taste Verchant’s own wines, as well as sampling the fine single-malt selection.

Room service

There’s a 24-hour menu of light bites and drinks.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Effortless sleek chic, but note the gravel paths aren’t heel-friendly.

Top table

In warm weather, sit outside by the pool. Indoors, ask for a table by the arched glass door so you can gaze out at your luxuriantly landscaped surroundings.

Local Guide

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Domaine de Verchant - Languedoc-Roussillon - France
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

The HQ of the Pourcel twins is Le Jardin des Sens at 11 avenue St-Lazare in Montpellier (+33 (0)4 99 58 38 38), a showcase for their much-fêted Mediterranean flavours. Effet Mer (+33 (0)4 67 56 02 14) on the beach is one Montpellier’s swishest social spots, with live DJ sets and super-sleek sunloungers. In the old town, Comptoir de l’Arc on Rue Hôtel de Ville (+33 (0)4 67 60 30 79) is a corner brasserie on a pretty square, and a great place for lunch and people-watching. For the best steak tartare in town, try Bistrot d’Alco on Rue Bonnier d’Alco (+33 (0)4 67 63 12 89).

Local cafés

L’Heure Bleue (+33 (0)4 67 66 41 05) on Rue de la Carbonnerie is a tea room, art gallery and antiques shop in one.

+ Enlarge
Manicured vineyard

Domaine de Verchant

1 boulevard Phillipe Lamour, 34170, Castelnau-le-Lez Montpellier, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Planes

Montpellier airport is a 10-minute drive from Domaine de Verchant. Taxis are available from outside the airport.

Trains

Montpellier station is 20 minutes away by car, and has frequent services to and from Paris (three and a half hours), Nîmes (30 minutes), and Marseille (just over two hours), among others (www.sncf.com). The city's tram system (TaM) tcan take you to the heart of the city in around 10 minutes – the hotel's closest station is Notre-Dame le Sablassou, a 15-minute walk from Verchant.

Automobiles

The centre of old-town Montpellier is about a five-minute drive from the hotel, which has plenty of on-site parking.

Reviews

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Domaine de Verchant - Languedoc-Roussillon - France

Anonymous review

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

This review is taken from our guidebook, Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection: France.

‘Oooh!’ say Mrs Smith and I, simultaneously, involuntarily and somewhat ridiculously, as our cab crunches up Domaine de Verchant’s serpentine drive. Some 17 hectares of vine-st...

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Domaine de Verchant

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

This review is taken from our guidebook, Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection: France.

‘Oooh!’ say Mrs Smith and I, simultaneously, involuntarily and somewhat ridiculously, as our cab crunches up Domaine de Verchant’s serpentine drive. Some 17 hectares of vine-striped fields, now looking rusty and golden in the weak autumn sun, with a cluster of sandy-stoned farm buildings in the lawned and leafy centre – it looks like the perfect setting for a weekend of wine-splashed rural escapism. Which is handy, because that’s what we have planned.

Verchant has been here since 1582, when a dying bishop handed the estate to a Montpellier family (the date of the transaction has lent a name to the domaine’s wines), but it took another 420 years before owners Pierre and Chantal arrived on the scene and turned the working winery into a working winery with a deluxe hotel and spa in the middle. Upgraded to a terrace room, we not only have a bathroom the approximate size of Montpellier airport, but there’s also a wraparound balcony that overlooks the lagoon-like pool and the majestic grassy sweep down to the vines. Mrs Smith clocks the aesthetics (bright white with scarlet pops, floor-to-ceiling windows, gigantic snaking desk lamp, creamy stone arches) while I conduct the functionality overview: how the shower works (middle knob for temperature, top for intensity); what channels on TV (BBC World, French soft porn). A Star Trek button panel has me a little stumped beyond light-dimming and blind-closing. I’m sure with more application I could have got it to summon an android chambermaid.

We follow stairs down to the courtyard, past buildings and barns and men carrying ladders purposefully. This doesn’t feel like a boutique hotel – it’s more like a farm stay, only with incredibly luxurious bedrooms and some of the sharpest decor in the South of France.

Not an environment in which you’d expect to find one of Montpellier’s most celebrated spas, but there it is, looking out through glass walls, over row upon row of grapevines. While my wife is plastered with various Anne Se?monin unguents, I head straight to what has been intriguingly dubbed the ‘experience shower’, ie: disco-lighting equipment attached to the ceiling, and three curiously labelled buttons attached to the wall. Hmm. Now, am I in the mood for Cool Fog, Atlantic Ocean or African Storm? I opt for all three in turn. First, a blue spotlight, a chilly trickle and a puff of minty air. It’s like being trapped inside a damp packet of Polos. Atlantic Ocean ups the trickle to a torrent, glows red, then cues up a soundtrack of squawking seagulls. African Storm is green, warm and, yes, minty, but the seagulls are still here (or possibly they’re parrots, it’s hard to tell).

‘How was the experience-shower experience?’ asks a newly radiant Mrs Smith. ‘Like a foggy Atlantic storm off the coast of Guinea-Bissau. With added spearmint.’ Mrs Smith leads me to the sauna and hammam, where we steam and bake ourselves before being ushered to the sink full of ice and the bucket on a rope. ‘What happens if I pull the rope?’ I ask. ‘You’re transported to a magical land of fairies and unicorns.’ Turns out she was lying. Now, that’s an experience shower. Once the screaming stops, I realise that a gallon of icy water to the face is actually quite refreshing. Our appetites are suitably worked up for the hotel’s other boast: fine dining.

Verchant’s restaurant is run by the Pourcel twins, possibly the best chef team to ever share womb-space. Laurent and Jacques are the brains behind the much-fe?ted Le Jardin des Sens, so by the time we’re seated in the little eatery, glugging on the hotel’s own glorious red, we’re quietly confident that the food won’t disappoint. A bien-e?tre menu caters to the detox crowd – normally something I’d avoid like a busy gym, but the brine-boiled guinea fowl and asparagus (thank you, pocket dictionary, for deciphering that one) proves too tempting, especially when paired with a starter of three types of foie gras from the less health-orientated menu. The waiter arrives to tell us that if we want the hot chocolate biscuit, we need to order it soon, since it takes a while to prepare. We’re sold. It’s a steamy, thick, liquidy paradise of a dessert, which Mrs Smith declares ‘better than sex’. I could feel offended, but in this instance, she’s right.

The next day, we take the 15-minute trip into Montpellier old town, and spend the afternoon strolling along stately boulevards and narrow side streets, cursing the fact that we’ve chosen to turn up on a Monday, when the art-stuffed Musee? Fabre is closed, berating the fact that I forgot to pack socks and speculating as to why Montpellier needs quite so many photocopying shops per capita, yet has so few sock outlets. Eventually, chaussettes sorted, we bar-hop through the twilight, before settling at surely the best bistro ever. We find Bistrot d’Alco entirely by accident, but this is one we’ll be raving about until we’ve no friends left to listen. A three-course meal for less than you’d pay for a cocktail. A lady in the middle of the restaurant manning a stove exclusively for cre?pes suzette. Duck breast carpaccio as tender as jelly, and a perfect hunk of beef served with curried chickpeas and a jacket potato. Everything about the place is excellent (although someone could tell them they don’t need topless women on their business cards).

Satisfied and sluggish with all that we’ve eaten and drunk, we take a cab back to Verchant for our final night (I only hope the ever-polite waiting staff didn’t notice Mrs Smith launching head-first into the plate-glass door). The hotel has been a fabulous opportunity to relax in a beautiful landscape immersed in fine wine and wonder. And, like the mint-spraying shower, it’s been entirely refreshing.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Domaine de Verchant's Guestbook below.

 

SilverSmith

Stayed on 9 Sep 2013

We loved

The rooms were comfortable and the bathrooms amazing. The food was fantastic and service was great. Spa was first class.

Don’t expect

Wine tasting was a bit brief and overall a little disappointing as only the most recent vintages available.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 8 Sep 2012

We loved

As soon as we arrived, we knew this was going to be an amazing place. The staff were exceptional, they parked our car, took our bags and everything was effortless. We were extremely lucky to be upgraded to a Junior Suite, which was just amazing. Everything about the hotel; the staff, the atmosphere, was exceptional. A real treat. With both of us being vegetarian, we emailed before hand to let them know (as we noticed other reviews had said there were no veggie options) and they did us a wonderful vegetarian meal. No fuss, they just treated us well. I would recommend and have done so already. I would certainly stay there again.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 10 Aug 2012

We loved

The staff were very friendly and helpful and we were offered an upgrade on arrival, which is always a nice start. The hotel was very well planned and laid out and the furnishings were stylish and clearly expensive. The food was very good and the Domaine's own wine was pretty decent and very inexpensive. They had a duo playing music during the meal on one of the evenings we were there and this would normally make me cringe, but they judged it just right and it was a nice addition to the evening. This is an ideal spot if you want to chill out and relax for a couple of days.

Don’t expect

The electricity went out a couple of times over the weekend, not sure if this is a regular occurrence in this part of the world, but it was minor niggle though, I am not sure what they would have done if it had been in the middle of dinner service.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 10 Jul 2012


After staying in boutique accommodation in the south of France, arriving at Domaine de Verchant was initially off-putting due to its size and seemingly corporate appearance. However, all concerns were put aside upon check-in. Lovely staff, beautiful grounds, excellent spa experience, amazing staff but the upselling is slightly unattractive and we were upgraded to a huge room. I'd emailed ahead to book a special birthday dinner for my partner and it was absolutely superb with attentive service.

Rating: 8/10 stars