Domaine Saint Hilaire

Montagnac, Languedoc, France Book from Book from £152 per night

A seductively peaceful Hérault hideaway for wine lovers and sybarites; B&B or whole house rental (sleeps 12-14)
Just a few miles inland from the beach, and within easy driving distance of both Beziers and Sète, Saint Hilaire feels dreamily bucolic. Secreted away amidst 80 hectares of vineyards and garrigue, this Hérault wine estate first saw the light of day in the 1800s. Towering Washingtonia palms, Aleppo pines and an ancient mulberry stand sentinel to its elegant façade, conferring unmistakably Mediterranean good looks: you could be nowhere else but the Midi.

The buildings were completely (and styishly) refurbed in the noughties, but you can still feel the history. An early owner, Baron Hilaire Reynaud, renamed the domaine after his patron saint; he went on to be a general in Napoleon's Army, and some of his portraits and historical artefacts are on display inside the chambres d'hotes. It changed hands in 2016 - we have not visited in its latest guise - but the 4 guest rooms look as crisp and comfy as ever, the pool and gardens as enticing as we remember; and we are looking forward to checking out the new cinema room and wine-tasting tour!

Highs

  • The chance to discover Saint Hilaire's prize-winning wines and to see at first hand what goes into their creation
  • Top spec furnishings and fittings in the 4 guest bedrooms which are comfortable with a capital 'C'
  • The option to book exclusive use of the whole house on a self-catering basis, bringing the number of bedrooms up to 6 (sleeps 12-14)
  • A peaceful location, but with beaches, hills, lakes and the beguiling towns of Beziers, Pezenas and Sète close by
  • We loved the feeling of staying in a manicured and elegant home - not the slightest hint of hotel

Lows

  • Dinners are only available by prior arrangement: enquire when booking, or let manageress Aukje recommend local restaurants (there are plenty)
  • You will need a car to get around
  • Don't expect swathes of staff or full hotel facilities: this is a chambres d'hotes, albeit a very boutique one
  • You'll find it incredibly hard to leave!

Best time to go

Spring and autumn are wonderful, and in autumn you can help with the grape harvest.

Try and avoid July and August when the French are out to play en masse. However if you do come in August, don't miss the
amazing water jousting festival of St. Louis in Sete, where two white-clad teams in beautiful wooden boats try to knock their opponent into the water using a wooden lance.

Our top tips

Leave plenty of space to bring back some of their excellent wine, available at caveau price - or arrange to have it shipped home.

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Honeymoon
  • Boutique B&B
  • 4-6
  • B&B or self-catering rental
  • Babies welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

The 4 first-floor bedrooms are comfortable, meticulously thought out, and understatedly handsome. Stretching along the bastide, their high, shuttered windows gaze over the gardens and pool. Book an individual room or take the whole house exclusively (6 bedrooms sleeping up to 12).

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 deep red double bed. 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 high garden-facing window helps maximise the feeling of space; an open-plan shower room leads directly off from the bedroom.

La chambre du Vigneron, with its contemporary interior, can be set up with twin beds. Situated on the ground floor of the beautiful Art Deco wing, it has an ensuite shower room and a private terrace in the rose garden.

Whole House Rentals encompass two more ensuite double or twin bedrooms, bringing the total up to six. You'll also get exclusive use of the communal areas, including a well-equipped kitchen, a cinema room and the garden with it's pretty swimming pool.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Hairdryer
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

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.

If you've booked an individual room, the 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 leaf teas. A famous local plateau of oysters, mussels and shrimps or assiette de gourmande are available for lunch or dinner (by prior arrangement). All are, of course, washed down with different Saint Hilaire wines.

Those booking the whole house on an exclusive basis have full use of the well-equipped kitchen and can request additional catering if they so wish. There's also a bbq in the grounds for sunny suppers.

Alternatively, there are several restaurants within easy driving distance - ask for recommendations (and a taxi, if you intend to déguste).

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Chef on request
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
Eating:
Activity: Beziers

Activities

  • Roam Saint Hilaire's 80 hectare estate on foot or by mountain bike; or follow their nature and sculpture walk
  • Play petanque, dip in the pool, or browse the pastels and watercolours on display in their own impressive gallery space
  • Head for the water: you're just 10 minutes from the Bassin de Thau and 25 from the long white beach of Marseillan
  • Browse for antiques in nearby Pezenas, Molière’s former stomping ground; or explore the gorgeous fishing port of Sète
  • Watch the bull fighting at Béziers, admire its cathedral and gardens, walk or boat along the Canal du Midi
  • Enjoy the grandiose architecture of Montpellier's places, its Corum concert hall, its historic quartiers and its Sunday flea market
  • Fish for sea bass on the Bassin de Thau and end your day with oysters and chilled white wine at one of its seafood restaurants

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Petanque
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming

Kids

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 babes in arms.

Family friendly accommodation:

If you're coming with just one older child (ages 12+), Baron can fit an extra bed. For 2 or more children, they'll need their own room. Exclusive whole house bookings are an option for larger groups. Most rooms can fit a baby cot.

Baby equipment:

Baby cot available on request

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

Kid Friendly: The guest sitting room

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 10 independent reviews from i-escape guests

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

Domaine Saint Hilaire is a peaceful and delightful place, you definitely need a car, don't expect to be walking to nearby villages. If you want a lovely setting with peace and quiet this is the place to stay. Aukje is a fantastic hostess, the whole team are friendly and very helpful. Thank you all very much for a wonderful week.

10/10, , September 2016

Wonderful place, and superb preemptive service. Nothing was to much trouble, and staff had in depth knowledge of area. A part of France with natural beauty without the crowds.

10/10, , August 2016

We had a stunning time at Domaibe Saint Hilaire. It is a wonderful location with much to do around the local area. Aukje and her team are just the best, seeing to your every need in a kind, warm manner. Highly recommend staying here

10/10, , August 2016

A beautiful house and gardens in a great location. We very much enjoyed our stay, and the kind hospitality of Anne and Jonathan who made us feel at home and were always ready with a suggestion for a day trip or restaurant. The food was delicious, from breakfasts by the pool to one of Anne's four course dinners. The wine tasting that worked through their many offerings was very enjoyable - and it was great fun to join in briefly with hand harvesting the grapes.

10/10, , August 2015

The welcome, care and overall style is second to none. Recommended whole-heartedly!

10/10, , June 2015

The Domaine is run by a hard working English family, who welcome you into their home and allow you to be part of their story. <br>The house is situated in the middle of the vineyards, and has a very comfortable style. <br>Our room (Mistral) and bathroom were quite small, but well decorated, very clean and an exceedingly comfortable bed. There is no door between bathroom and bedroom. There are numerous areas available for guests to use, sitting room, library, and an outside area with a pool. As the weather was very hot, we spent most of our time in the gardens and beside the pool. <br>We started our first evening with a wine tasting given by the son Daniel, which was informative and fun. We then went on to a house supper, Table d’hôtel made by Anne, sitting next to the pool on a beautiful summer evening. The food was excellent home cooking, 4 courses including cheese! (Local melon and parma ham; Duck breasts, seasonal vegetable bake; cheese and figs finished with a baked pear and a delicious rice chocolate slice. All accompanied by plentiful home grown wine. The mix of guests was interesting and various tips and advice were picked up by everyone. <br>Breakfast could be couples, but we opted for it by the pool on a group table. Freshly squeezed orange juice, cereals, croissants, toast and a beautiful selection of fruit. (A cooked option was offered.) <br>After a day’s sightseeing the next day and a hearty lunch out, we opted for Anne's suggestion of a picnic purchased on our way home. We enjoyed this in a prime location by the pool, aided by a bottle of the Domaine wine! Anne kindly gave us plates etc to enable us to have a half decent picnic. <br>A relaxing stay. <br>The negatives would be the following: <br>If you like a drink of wine, then getting out to restaurants in the evening is a trek. <br>The pool had a lot of wasps when we were there late afternoon which rather spoilt our thoughts of a swim (Lots of nearby lavender, which was beautiful!) <br>We also felt we would have like the opportunity to make a cup of tea, when we got back on our second day and sat by the pool and first thing in the morning (tea in bed is offered but it seems such an imposition on people who are working so hard). <br>Thank you for allowing us to share in your Languedoc dream! <br>

8/10, , June 2015

We really enjoyed our stay, loved the wines, enjoyed exceptional breakfasts and lunch, met new friends and had the benefit of Jonathan's incredible assistance resolving our baggage cock up at the airport. Would highly recommend, will return to this beautifully presented property and grounds.

10/10, , July 2015

What a wonderful stay we had thanks to our kind and thoughtful hosts, Ann and Jonathan James. The house tastefully furnished and decorated, the atmosphere was discrete and relaxed and we felt like we were private family guests left to our own devices as much as we wished in their comfortable home. The breakfasts were leisurely affairs although our preference would have been for all guests not to share the same breakfast table when we tend to prefer a quiet private start to the day. The wine tasting hosted by Jonathan showed how good the quality of wine from a small regional producer can be. The group meal that followed it was thoroughly enjoyable. The food and wine were superb and generous and the hosts joined all the guests for the occasion. The conversation was stimulating but not intrusive. The show in their art gallery was an added bonus and we were invited to the finissage. Our only dislike was that there was no door between our en suite bathroom and toilet and our bedroom. We would prefer at least the toilet behind a closed door. Overall: highly recommended.

10/10, , June 2015

We had a wonderful stay in this beautiful residence. Everything was perfect from the room, the views, the service and the food. Anne our host was able to recommend wonderful restaurants nearby to eat and places to visit. The library was full of wonderful books to read and refer to and the residence was set among the vines on a country road and was a quiet and peaceful holiday escape.

10/10, , August 2014

The house, garden, and room (Autan) were all very beautiful and restful. Anne and Jonathan were wonderful hosts and we enjoyed very much our dinner with them. Also the wine tasting with Daniel. The breakfasts outside by the pool were lovely with the sunlight and the sound of the falling water. A gorgeous place.

10/10, , June 2014

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Rates for Domaine Saint Hilaire