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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

A commingling of contemporary and antique, hotel Domaine de Verchant in Montpellier has buttercup-yellow walls that date from the 14th century but a style that feels very 21st. A sharply curated collection of European design classics mix with marvelous mosaics at this mansion with indulgent spa made over by Raymond Morel.

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

View Gallery
Domaine de Verchant - Languedoc-Roussillon - France

Need To Know

Rooms

26, including nine suites, two apartments and the La Forge house.

Check–out

12 noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $218.73 (€173), 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.

Please note

The hotel's spa has been damaged due to inclement weather; while it's being repaired, all treatments (excluding shiatsu, Thai and hot-stone massages) will be carried out in a temporary space with two private rooms and a relaxation area.

At the hotel

Spa with sauna, hammam, Jacuzzi and gym, wine-tasting caveau, tennis court, gardens, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV (LCD TVs in some bathrooms), DVD, Anne Sémonin or Hermès products. Some rooms have PCs and printers, and some suites have Bose sound systems, iPod docks, coffee machine, minibar and air-conditioning.

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; it has a Jacuzzi too. There's a heated indoor hydrotherapy pool in the spa.

Spa

The mod stone 750sq m spa has an indoor relaxation garden, sauna, hammam, Jacuzzi and gym. It's something of a mod marvel, designed by artists Diane Rauscher-Kennedy and Jean Leccia, it's decked out in glass, stainless steel and marble with water walls and geometric mosaics. From 8.30am to 9pm guests can indulge in body wraps, massages, facials and body scrubs with indulgent Anne Sémonin products.

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. The hotel has two disabled-access rooms: Maison du Peyre Room 51 and Deluxe Terrace 67.

Children

Cribs 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.

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…

Worth getting out of bed for

You can swim in the indoor and outdoor pools, play tennis, be treated at the spa and taste the domaine’s wine, all without even leaving the estate. Pack your visors, sweaters and slacks – there are several golf courses in the region, including Golf de Massane (+33 (0)4 67 87 87 87) and Golf Grande Motte (+33 (0)4 67 56 05 00). There are public and private beaches less than 15 minutes away, where you can practise your sailing skills. Explore the museums, theatres and restaurants of Montpellier’s old town. Musée Fabre (+33 (0)4 67 14 83 00) has amassaed an impressive collection of objets d'art, Aigues-Mortes is a pretty medieaval commune a 30-minute drive away, and the Carmargue has breathtaking scenic vistas.

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-striped fields, now looking rusty and golden in the weak autumn sun, with a cluster of sandy-stoned farm buildings in t…
Read more

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 Semonin 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-fêted 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-être 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 MuséeFabre 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 crêpes 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

Reviews of Domaine de Verchant from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We liked the attentiveness of the staff, the small number of guests staying in the hotel and the luxury touches that created a peaceful and quiet atmosphere. Having the spa to ourselves was also a treat! 

Don’t expect

We thought having a toilet in the bedroom (room 41) was a bit funky! Not sure it would suit everyone. 

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I thought the service was impeccable and the staff were friendly and helpful. The whole hotel was also beautifully maintained.

Don’t expect

While the food in the restaurant was lovely the menu only changed once in the whole week we were there and so we thought it was too limited. 

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the attention from the moment when we drove up and there was a young man ready to take care of us and the car. The pool was situated in such a way that it wasn't a typical hotel pool. The chef's surprise menu was a surprise of flavours and very tasty. The rooms and hotel have been settled effortlessly into a lovely old building.

Don’t expect

The lighting in the room seemed to me to be a bit of a modern techno puzzle, but no problem really.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

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