Village Castigno - Wine Hotel & Resort

Assignan, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Book from Book from £135 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.
Covid update: see our Flexible Booking Policy.

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...

Foodie
Romantic
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 22 rooms + 1 villa for 4
  • 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 Cuvée Millésimée 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 Cuvée 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 Cuvée 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:

Cuvée Millésimée suites and Cuvée 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 5 independent reviews from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
9/10
Food
8/10
Service
8/10
Value
9/10
Overall

It's impossible to fault Village Castigno for style, even allowing for occasional small triumphs over substance. Buildings, rooms and public areas look and feel fantastic, even when the rain hammers down as it did for two of our three days.
Staff were universally friendly and *almost* universally helpful - the only caveat being that we could have been treated more sympathetically when attempting to negotiate a later checkout, since our flight home wasn't until 9pm. Given the amount of money that we'd spent, and that the hotel evidently wasn't that busy, it seemed churlish to try to charge us on a sliding scale in exchange for holding on to our room for an extra hour or two.
But no matter. I'm prepared to forgive everything, having been privileged to eat here. As a previous reviewer noted, La Table - the fine dining arm of the hotel's restaurant triad - is extraordinarily good value. Tasting menus can sometimes disappoint - too rich and gamey, heavy reductions, frequently recurring ingredients, etc - but the seven-course menu here was a delight from start to finish, as were chefs (and brothers) Ruben and Pieter and front-of-house staff.
La Petite Table in the village square was also excellent, both for dinner on our first evening and for breakfasts, notably when the chef from the Thai restaurant was in charge (I've never had better eggs Benedict).
Lunch on Sunday and Monday, when La Petite Table was closed, proved a trickier proposition; there are no other informal eateries in the village, but we ate well at Le Pourquoi Pas and Le Chat Qui Peche, both fairly short drives away on the banks of the Canal du Midi.
My only real gripe relates to the 'gym'. It's a portable cabin with one treadmill, one bike and a crosstrainer which couldn't be used until my friend and I hauled it a few feet away because it was positioned directly under a hanging light fitting. I wonder if it had ever been used until then. Also, it was clear that no staff member visited it during our three days there, judging by the diminishing water supply in the fridge and the accumulating sweaty face towels in the basket.
Overall, though, I loved Village Castigno and would gladly return, hopefully when the weather is kinder. Transplant it to the Cotswolds and you'd probably have to pay at least twice as much.

9/10,

The village is very charming. The visit to the winery and the tour of the chateau lands and vineyards ("wine safari") is highly recommended (I forgot the name of the Belgian guy doing the tours but he was fantastic, excellent English, very knowledgeable, kind and funny...)
Important for visitors to check if the restaurants are open. When we visited (Sept 10-12, Tue-Wed) two of three in the village were closed.
Our room was a little smaller than we hoped.

9/10,

Very helpful staff. Amazing food and of course, wines. Throw in breakfast and it would feel even better value!

10/10,

The least expensive rooms (maison d’amis) are very small. While OK for 1-2 nights, they are too small for a stay of any greater length.
While the food in the restaurants is excellent, there are no other options in the village for food of any kind. There is no coffee shop, there is no small market, there is nothing except the three pricy restaurants. The hotel Could benefit greatly by having a least a coffee shop or someplace to buy snacks, coffee, alcohol. The closest village is a 15 minute drive. The room we stayed in had only a very small fridge.
The property will tell you to make reservations in advance for their restaurants - take this seriously because they have limited capacity. We could not get reservations for many of the nights. The property is charming and very beautiful and the decor is excellent.

8/10,

Beautiful hotel.

8/10,

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