Village Castigno - Wine Hotel & Resort

Assignan, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Book from Book from £104 per night

Off-the-beaten-track wonderland: a boutique hotel spread across an authentic French village, with acres of vineyards and 3 great restaurants
Assignan - a tiny hilltop hamlet, hidden along twisting mountain roads amongst pine trees and vineyards - isn’t as it seems. Once a sleepy and rundown wine producer, it’s been transformed into a secret paradise for those in the know. As we stepped out of our car, the smell of fresh figs filled the air, birdsong danced in our ears, and, ahead, we spotted dashes of the hotel's signature reds, pinks and purples.

Dutch owner Marc and his wife rescued Assignan's chateau from ruin, and turned it into their home. They then rejuvenated the local vineyards and started producing wine so good they needed somewhere for people to stay after tastings! So they transformed several crumbling houses into 22 enchanting bedrooms, and breathed fresh life into the village square, adding 3 exceptional restaurants and a bar. If you can bear to pull yourself away from the sunny pools, take a buggy ride around 150 hectares of chateau land, which contain vineyards, a truffle forest and a wine cave for tastings. Or take cooking lessons and rent a classic Citroën or Vespa to explore the Languedoc countryside. This is a place like no other.

Highs

  • Food is phenomenal. Each of the restaurants (a French bistro, Thai fusion, and fine dining) celebrates local produce in different ways
  • The serene setting with views across the vineyards to the snow-topped Pyrenees mountains
  • Truly romantic
  • Delightful decor: French antiques, old wooden beams, deep standalone tubs and exposed stone walls
  • Great staff and friendly locals

Lows

  • Breakfast isn't included in the rates
  • Some might find the colour scheme (inspired by wine hues) a little much, but we thought it worked wonderfully
  • The restaurants aren't all open every day
  • Proudly WiFi free (except in the wine cave), a limited mobile signal and no TVs

Best time to go

Early autumn is the most magical time as the village is a little quieter and the weather is still warm and dry, plus the vines hang heavy with grapes. Spring (April-May) is lovely, with balmy temperatures and colourful flowers; summer is glorious but busy; and winter would be very romantic, with open fires and candelit meals. Bear in mind that the food here is very seasonal, so if you’re craving specific French flavours, you should plan your trip accordingly! Closed Jan-March.

Our top tips

For total romance, ask to have a private dinner in the chateau's grounds. You can dine in the truffle forest, amongst the vines, or on the secret terrace overlooking the valley. Wherever you eat, be sure to wash it down with the estate’s exceptional wine (we loved the sparkling rosé).

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Honeymoon
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 22
  • 3 restaurants
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: January-March
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Bedrooms come in 4 categories, featuring rich hues of deep red, purple and hot pink. They are each decorated with unique touches - some have exposed wooden beams and gilded mirrors, others velvet drapes or Asian antiques collected by Marc on his travels. All have sumptuous beds and rainfall showers, and a few have mezzanine sitting areas.

We stayed in one of the Junior Suites located in Maison d’Amis, the former wine-storage house located at the edge of the village. We loved the standalone tub at the end of the bed, with views of distant mountain peaks. There are also Prestige Suites in Maison d’Amis, and the house has its own kitchen, living room, garden and pool.

Standard Rooms (Vendangeurs) are the smallest, and found in the former grape-pickers' cabins. They are cosy, but each have their own terrace. Other Prestige Suites are found in village houses, which are painted in Castigno's signature colours, so they're easily identifiable. We loved the one we saw, spread over 3 floors, with a open fireplace and roof terrace.

There’s also a modern 2-bedroom villa (Villa Rouge) with a kitchen, garden and private pool. We missed the traditional French accents found in the other rooms, but its outdoor space is exceptional; ideal for families.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Kimonos
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries

Eating

Pack elasticated trousers: the food is outstanding! At the heart of the village is the French bistro, La Petite Table, and the Thai restaurant, Le Thai. Two minutes away is the gastronomic La Table.

Breakfast is served at La Petite Table, either in the sun-dappled square or in the rosy-pink dining room. It’s an indulgent French affair that moves through power shots of ginger, orange, apple and cardamom, buttery croissants, then creamy scrambled eggs served in individual pans and a magnificent charcuterie.

Dinner at La Petite Table was excellent, too; tapas-style dishes served to a backdrop of blues music. Our highlights were crispy polenta and a tender steak topped with mushrooms.

But lunch at La Table left us speechless. We ate on the terrace overlooking the garden, but you can also opt to eat in the converted barn and watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen. We feasted on a mushroom 'risotto' (rice was substituted with diced enoki - golden needle mushrooms) covered with truffle, an oozing cheese board, and a sublime crunchy pastry filled with tangy fresh fruit.

We didn’t try Le Thai, but the villagers assure us it’s mind-blowing: French ingredients effortlessly blended with Thai aromas. Other restaurants are a drive away.

Features include:

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

Activities

  • Visit Le Cave. This spectacular building is shaped like a wine bottle, and coated in cork imported from Portugal. Take a tour to see how the estate's wines are made before doing a tasting on the terrace overlooking the vines
  • Relax and unwind. Swim in the pools, laze in the gardens, sip wine in the town square, and book a massage
  • Take a tour of the estate. The rolling vineyards are bordered by snow-topped mountains and dense forest. Go by buggy or on foot
  • Make the most of the gastronomy on offer. There are cookery classes and bread-making workshops. For lunch, ask for a picnic or BBQ amongst the olive trees
  • Revel in the region; rent the hotel’s Vespas or vintage Citroens and tootle around the winding roads of the stunning Haut Languedoc. We’d suggest you visit Minerve for coffee and cake, and take a boat trip on the Canal du Midi

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Mountain biking
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Well behaved children are welcome - the village is a very relaxed place, and all 3 restaurants allow kids. However large families with energetic children should probably book elsewhere, as the atmosphere here is more of a tranquil, grown-up getaway. Older children will love the chateau's grounds, ripe for exploration, and the petanque pitch.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Junior Suites and Prestige Suites have space for an extra bed or baby cot

Kids Activities on site:

The main heated pool, petanque pitch

Families Should Know:

No pools are fenced

Distances:

  • Airport: 1.5 hours' drive (Montpellier)
  • Shop: on-site
  • Medical facility: 6.7km (Saint-Chinian)
Kid Friendly: Villa pool

Location

Village Castigno - Wine Hotel & Resort is spread throughout the hilltop village of Assignan, in the Languedoc region of France.

By Air:
The closest large airport is [getthere:languedoc:Montpellier] (108km), a 1.5-hour drive away. You can also fly into [getthere:languedoc:Toulouse] (166km).

You'll probably want a car to explore the region (see our car rental recommendations), but the hotel offers a transfer service if you just want to stay put for a week or so.

By Train:
There’s a TGV station at Aix and you can hire a car from here too.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.com.

Airports:

  • Montpellier 108.0 km MPL
  • Toulouse 166.0 km TLS

Other:

  • Beach 46.0 km
  • Shops 6.7 km
  • Restaurant 6.7 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
9/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
10/10
Overall

My family of 2 adults and 2 children stayed in the Junior suite in Maison d'Amis. Before our arrival I was worried that it would be a little cramped. I need not have worried - the suite had ample space for the 4 of us and had, undoubtedly, the best quality mattresses, pillows and bedding we have ever experienced in a hotel. We had an exceptionally good quality of sleep due to the bedding, the quietness and the darkness in the room offered by the shutters.
We ate breakfast at La Petite Table on our first morning. This was a set menu where you chose one option out of 3, for 3 courses. We had beautiful croissants, pains au chocolate and divine breads. We had fabulous homemade butters and jams. There was a choice of goats yogurts with fruit coulis, granolas and fruit salad. As a warm choice there were scrambled eggs which were served plain or with a side portion of sautéed seasonal vegetable which were absolutely divine - we had sautéed mushrooms, spring onions and asparagus. All of this was served with a large carafe of fresh orange and peach juice as well as coffee/hot chocolate as desired. The quantities were excellent and plenty more if required. It truly was a great breakfast - but slightly on the pricey side. That being said - it would set you up for the day and you certainly would not need lunch after it!
We ate at La Petite Table on one of our evenings and found the food exceptional in quality and presentation. Just a word of caution to anyone travelling with children - there was no children's menu and any child would have to be fairly adventurous to eat here. My 11 year old daughter had the Prawn main course which she loved. My 9 year old son had a steak and chips and loved it. The Thai and La Table restaurants have exceptionally good menus but again are adult orientated. We ate elsewhere on the other evenings of our travels - mainly as we spent the day touring the area anyway and ate where we were but also because we felt that the offering at Village Castigno were very rich and formal which did not suit us and our kids every night of our holidays. If I was to recommend one change to Village Castigno it would be to offer some less formal options such as tapas or pizza as well as a bar in the beautiful village square that you have. We noticed one building that had Tapas written on it but it was not functioning during our stay - perhaps it was too early in the season. We would have loved the option to come home from a days driving and just relax with a drink and a pizza in the square. As it is you can only choose from Village Castigno wines and the one beer that they stock which is bottled under the Village Castigno label. Also, it would be great to be able to just have a coffee/juice and a croissant in the morning for a light breakfast rather that a full on 3-course breakfast.
Outside of these small recommendations I do not hesitate in recommending Village Castigno to anyone who is looking to explore this beautiful region of the Languedoc-Roussillon. The staff are exceptionally warm and welcoming, the accommodation is of very high spec and the gardens and pools are beautiful, The food that we had was exceptional. We will definitely return here at our earliest opportunity.

9/10,

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