“A seductively peaceful Hérault hideaway for wine lovers and sybarites”
The 4 bedrooms are comfortable, meticulously thought out, and understatedly handsome. They fan out along the first floor of the bastide with views out through their high, shuttered windows to the surrounding gardens and pool.
La chambre du Baron is Saint Hilaire's flagship, an enormous double with room aplenty for a chaise longue, and both east and west facing windows. We loved the bathroom with its wetroom, separate tub, oval window and exposed beams. If you've got something to celebrate, this room should be your first choice.
La chambre du Chevalier comes a close second, with some lovely festive touches: a crown chandelier, an enormous gilt-framed mirror above the marble fireplace, and a double bed whose headboard reflects the deep red of the original floor tiles. It also has a lovely bathroom with a separate bath and rain shower.
La chambre de la Chatelaine is smaller and less flamboyant, but also retains its eye-catching floor tiles as well as venerable roof beams. The light palette, together with a high garden-facing window, maximise the feeling of space; an open-plan shower room leads directly off from the bedroom.
La chambre du Maire, the only room which can be set up with twin beds, is the smallest; but white walls and a window over the courtyard and winery keep it airy. A small annex holds a kitchenette, useful for couples with young babies requiring bottles and feeds, but surplus to requirements for most other guests.
The dining room spans the width of the house, with views to both courtyard and wooded gardens; in fine weather you can sit outside on the terrace in the shadow of a 200-year-old umbrella pine.
Continental breakfasts include fresh orange juice, fruit salad, cheeses and cold cuts, cereals and yoghurts, homemade jams and delicious acacia honey, as well as first class coffee and a choice of leaf teas.
3-4 course dinners are available by prior arrangement: choose anything from a light tapas menu to the famous local plateau of oysters, mussels, shrimps if you're feeling really shellfish. All are. of course, washed down with different Saint Hilaire wines. Alternatively, there are several restaurants within easy driving distance - ask for recommendations (and a taxi, if you intend to déguste).
Saint Hilaire isn't really suitable for kids of the inquisitive toddling age, but would be fine for older children who are happy to sleep in their own room, or for a couple with a baby.
Maire can accommodate a baby cot, and has a kitchenette which is useful for preparing feeds. Baron can fit an extra bed, if you're coming with just one older child. For 2 or more children, they'll need their own room (only Maire is twin-bedded).
Baby cot available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking