Auberge Ostape

near Bidarray, Gascony, France Book from

A delectable Pyrenean retreat offering grand luxe, grand calme and top gourmet cuisine
In the rolling foothills of the Pyrenees looking out across the Nive valley, secreted away amongst a 45-hectare estate of meadows and forest, Ostapé’s location could scarcely be more Arcadian.

Your return to nature begins right at the entrance of the estate, where you exchange your car for an electric golf buggy. Then you’re away, purring up hill to a group of traditional Navarrese buildings, which fan out around the original farmhouse.

And the sublime surprises don’t stop coming. The first will be your suite, which will be regal in size and furnishings. Next comes the food - you’re in for a gourmet extravaganza - and lastly there’s the sheer beauty of the surrounding countryside, unsullied by the whine of car engines. Ostapé waves goodbye to the mundane, offers blissful respite for body and mind, and would be a great choice for one of life’s most special celebrations, such as a honeymoon or wedding anniversary.

Highs

  • Some of the best food in the south west of France, with service to match
  • Superbly comfortable suites with everything you could wish for
  • In spite of the remote mountain location you’re an easy drive from the Atlantic coast beaches
  • Fabulous walking on little-known trails
  • The serenity and beauty of this corner of the Basque Country is hard to match

Lows

  • A stay at Ostapé will make a sizeable dent in your bank balance
  • If you want to eat out, you'll have to drive
  • Having to motor about in your electric golf buggy could be less fun in wet weather
  • Once you're here, you won't want to leave

Best time to go

Any time from March through to November would be a good time to visit, with the exception, perhaps, of August when the whole of France goes on holiday!

Our top tips

Saddle up a pottok, the diminutive breed of horse indigenous to the Basque Country, and ride up into the hills from Itxassou or Osses.

Great for...

Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 22
  • Restaurant (open Weds-Mon)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 6 Dec 2016 - 9 Mar 2017
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Suite-Le-Sureau

Rooms

Ostapé’s 22 guest suites fan out between the original farmhouse and 5 newer Navarrese-style houses. Suites range in size from Junior to Prestige.

Whichever type of suite you choose, it will be vast and will come with a stylish commingling of antique and modern furniture. The overall colour scheme is cream and white, and the decorative brief chic-rustic: muted beige sofas or leather chesterfields, heavy quilted bedcovers and cushions, and terracotta or provençal tomette tiled floors, replaced in some bedrooms with beautiful oak parquet. Some rooms have framed butterfly collections, others antique prints or bright contemporary paintings, perhaps an ornately carved headboard or a low table from India or a draped four poster; there’s not a hint of chain hotel uniformity.

Bathrooms are just as plush, with chunky handmade tiles from floor to ceiling, heated towel rails, and separate baths and showers in the larger suites. Some have twin standing, retro-style sinks and taps, others more contemporary surface-top bowls, and all come with heated towel rails.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Ostapé was the creation of the entrepreneurial French whizz-chef Alain Ducasse, who has opened award-winning restaurants in several parts of France as well as in London and New York. Ducasse has moved on from l’Auberge but has left behind a legacy of the best Basque cuisine, and its restaurant (closed Tuesdays, except in July and August) sticks to his brief, sourcing all produce from local farmers whilst making full use of the hotel's extensive vegetable gardens. The cuisine follows the seasons, reworks classic Basque dishes and the presentation is cook-book perfect.

At dinner you choose between the 3-course ‘découverte Chahatoa’ menu or the 5-course ‘degustation Bidarray’ menu. Either way, the evening begins with an amuse bouche served along with an apéro next to the fire or out on the terrace. This is when Ostapé’s resident sommelier will talk you through the wine menu. As well as classic tastes from the best vineyards of France, there’s an interesting selection of locally produced wine. Dinner is a visual as well as a culinary feast: expect cod-filled ravioli, fillets of shad (herring) with parsleyed potato, pigeon pastilla with ewes' milk gnocchi, apple sorbet, orange tarte with local cheese curd.

Breakfast (extra charge) is also a banquet. A buffet is laid up in the smaller of the 3 adjacent dining rooms and you're faced with freshly baked cakes or brioches, as well as a number of different home baked breads, local yoghurt, freshly squeezed orange and organic apple juice, Spanish charcuterie and cheeses, croissants and pains au chocolat.

After such a big breakfast, and with the prospect of a gourmet dinner, lunch might be something of an afterthought. But a lighter vegetable-and-salad based menu is on offer in Chahatoa; or you can have a picnic laid up for you in a meadow up above Ostapé.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Walk down to Bidarray where you can hire a mountain bike for exploring the valley
  • Visit colourful local markets, medieval towns and bastide villages, historic churches and a number of grand chateaux; the hotel can arrange bespoke day tours
  • The hotel offers personalised afternoon cooking lessons: decide with the chef which regional dishes you want to learn, then whip them up with his help, and devour them for dinner
  • Thrill out with a day of white-water rafting and canyoning or catch a bird's eye view of this region with a microlighting flight
  • Drive to Biarritz or Bayonne and bask on the golden beaches, or try your hand at surfing
  • Or visit the historic pilgrims' town of St. Jean Pied de Port, with its hilltop citadel, its pretty houses of pink-grey schist and its Monday livestock market - followed by a communal game of pelote
  • Back at the ranch, there's a heated pool, hammam, sauna and fitness room

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Rafting
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing

Kids

Kids are welcome at Ostapé and all the suites have room aplenty for slotting in extra baby cots or beds.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
10/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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Rates for Auberge Ostape