Domaine Saint Hilaire

Montagnac, Languedoc, France Book from Book from £154 per night

A seductively peaceful hideaway for wine lovers and sybarites: book the whole house (sleeps 6-12+) or stay B&B (outside peak season)
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. 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.

A stylish refurb in the noughties brought it tastefully up-to-date. The chic white grand salon comes with a huge hearth, a grand piano, leather sofas and twin chandeliers. There's a library ,a dining room for 12, and a separate living area in the Bastide wing, complete with cinema room and its own kitchen. Outside are semi-formal gardens with a lovely pool, parasol-shaded tables and loungers, towering Washingtonia palms, Aleppo pines, and ivy-draped walls. It's all very handsome and unmistakably Mediterranean.

Accommodation is flexible. You can rent the 3-bedroom Bastide or the whole Domaine (6-7 bedrooms) for a week; or, outside summer, an individual bedroom on a nightly chambres d'hotes basis, with breakfast.

Highs

  • 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
  • Top spec fittings include sound systems, satellite TV, fast WiFi, cinema room and super-comfy beds & linens
  • You get a very interesting tour of the winery, with a chance to taste their award-winning wines and (if you book through i-escape) a complimentary bottle
  • Add-on servcies include private chef, laundry, patisserie deliveries and more

Lows

  • Individual room bookings can be made only within 3 months of arrival
  • During July and August, they only accept weekly bookings for the whole house (6-7 rooms)
  • If booking an individual room, be aware that service is more B&B level than hotel, and meals are limited to breakfast (and dinner by prior arrangement)
  • You will need a car to get around

Best time to go

Spring and autumn are wonderful, and in autumn you can help with the grape harvest. The shoulder- and off-seasons also offer more flexibility on accommodation: you can book the Bastide wing (3-4 rooms), the whole house (6-7 rooms), or one room on a B&B basis (within 3 months of arrival only).

In July and August, this would make a wonderful house rental for a large party of 10-14, with plenty of space and seclusion to retreat from the holidaying masses. 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
Family
Wedding
  • House rental (3-6 bedrooms) or B&B
  • 7
  • B&B or self-catering rental
  • All ages 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

Bedrooms - there are 3 in the main house, 3 in the Bastide wing, and a 7th add-on in a separate part if required - are all crisp and comfy, with percale linens and ensuite Villeroy & Boch bathrooms.

The 3 Bastide rooms - which are those usually offered to B&B guests - have high, shuttered windows looking onto the gardens and pool. If you rent the whole Bastide wing, you also get use of its living areas (including cinema room), kitchen and dining room: perfect for a family or 2 couples travelling together.

La chambre du Baron is the 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. 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. Chatelaine is smaller and less flamboyant, but retains its eye-catching floor tiles and 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.

If you need more space, you can book the whole domaine, which includes the adjoining Art Deco wing. Here you'll find 3 more bedrooms: a spacious ground-floor twin or double room (Vigneron), a lovely master double bedroom with balcony overlooking the pool and grounds (Baroness), and a 3rd twin bedroom perfect for kids (General). This wing also comes with a more formal sitting room (grand piano, white-leather sofas and a huge hearth), as well as its own dining area - there will be plenty of space for different generations.

In a separate part, by the winery offices, is a 7th double / twin bedroom (with ensuite shower room) which can be added on request - best suited to staff or teenage children.

Features include:

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

Eating

Those booking the Bastide or Whole Domaine on an exclusive basis have full use of the well-equipped kitchen and can request additional catering. Try the famous local plateau of oysters, mussels and shrimps, washed down with different Saint Hilaire wines, naturellement. There's also a BBQ in the grounds for sunny suppers. The dining room in the Bastide 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. There's also a second dining area in the Art Deco Wing.

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.

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

This would make a fantastic and memorable venue for an extended family holiday, with a heated pool, safe walled gardens, and lots of space (indoor and out) for everyone to relax without stepping on each other's toes. If you're coming with a group of 8 or more, book the Whole Domaine, and you get 2 separate dining and living areas (including a cinema room). If you're just one family, or two families travelling together and happy to share one living space, book the Bastide Wing (normally available Jan-June and Sept-Dec only).

Family friendly accommodation:

If you are booking on a B&B basis, Baron can fit an extra bed, while Baroness (double) + General (twin) pair easily for a family of 4. Most rooms can fit a cot.

Baby equipment:

Baby cot available on request

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

Kids Activities on site:

  • Board games, DVDs, Playstation
  • Football and badminton equipment
  • Bikes to borrow
  • Petanque
  • Pool toys
  • Marked trails through the Domaine's vineyards and woods

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beaches at Marseillan (25 mins)
  • Watersports at the Bassin de Thau (10 mins)
  • Dinosaur Museum at Meze (10 mins)

    Families Should Know:

    The pool is not fenced or gated. There are no stair gates inside the house

  • Distances:

    • Airport: 30km (Beziers)
    • Shops and restaurants: 6km (Montagnac)
    • Beach: 22km (Marseillan)
    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 9 independent reviews from i-escape guests

    10/10
    Room
    10/10
    Food
    10/10
    Service
    10/10
    Value
    10/10
    Overall

    We had a great time at Domaine St Hilaire and we can highly recommend it. A warm welcome, spacious rooms, beautiful setting, excellent breakfast and a lovely wine tasting experience: it exceeded our expectations! Special thanks to Aukje for looking after us.

    10/10,

    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,

    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,

    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,

    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,

    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,

    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.
    The house is situated in the middle of the vineyards, and has a very comfortable style.
    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.
    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.
    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.)
    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.
    A relaxing stay.
    The negatives would be the following:
    If you like a drink of wine, then getting out to restaurants in the evening is a trek.
    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!)
    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).
    Thank you for allowing us to share in your Languedoc dream!

    8/10,

    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,

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

    10/10,

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    Rates for Domaine Saint Hilaire