“An exuberantly designed, unashamedly hi-tech hotel with a top spa and super-cool service, set amid vineyards on the edge of avant-garde Montpellier”
Most of the rooms are upstairs in the main house; a few are in the outhouses. Expect a mix of contemporary materials and glimpses of the century-old fabric behind. Littered throughout are icons of high design - Poltrona armchairs, Flos Spun lamps, chunky Nani Marquina rugs - and splashes of bold colour. The overall feel is unashamedly contemporary, and backed up by gadgets galore: electric blinds, giant LCD TVs, self-heating mirrors and a baffling array of dimmer switches by the bed.
The Junior Suites are exceptional. We loved Neige d'Avril, which has a vast circular bed beneath an equally lunar light installation, with a double-width sunken Jacuzzi; honeymooners, this one's for you! Black and white Danae is very Zen, with a beautiful tub reminiscent of a porcelain egg and a "walk-through shower" chucking out 55 litres per minute.
Even the Deluxe rooms are more than spacious enough. We liked Matteo, an attic room with exposed beams and a tub standing proudly centre stage; and Aloha, our room for the night, with its 3 park-facing windows and brash, bubblegum-blue chaise longue. A few Deluxe rooms have a terrace, though we weren't convinced it was worth the sizeable premium.
Since our visit, things have changed in the open-plan, Johansen-designed dining room: chef Damien Cousseau has taken the reins and has been creating a range of sophisticated French plates. There's also a second space, La Plage dans les Vignes, for poolside dining. Signature dishes include red mullet with girolle-filled cannelloni and fennel puree, grilled prawns on a peach and tomato salad, and a hot chocolate "composition" which we gather is worth waiting for.
A set menu offers a limited choice (you might run out of options after 2-3 days), but you can go a la carte. There's no doubt that the terrace setting is glorious in summer, and the estate's own wines - Viognier and Vermentino on the white side, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cab Franc on the red - are extremely quaffable.
If you decide to head into town, there's no shortage of fine dining and bistro style options - though you'll need to drive or take a cab, of course.
Breakfast, when we stayed, was an impeccably presented micro-buffet, where everything looked smaller and tasted bigger. Platters of petits fours, diminutive pots of unusual jams (fig, blueberry), and trios of local cheeses and hams were followed by an offer of an omelette - which was promptly rustled up in front of our eyes by a dapper young man in a black suit.
Children of all ages are welcome, though it's definitely aimed more at couples. Having said that, most rooms have space for extra beds or baby cots.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Two pairs of rooms interconnect (Danae + Ballerina and Blossomtime + Buff Beauty) - in each case, a Deluxe (double) and a Junior Suite (double/twin).
Babysitting can be arranged.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Breakfast is free for the under 12's, and the restaurant has a children's menu.
Most rooms have plenty of hard edges, dangling cables and expensive furnishings to keep parents of toddlers on their toes. Under 14s are not permitted in the spa.