“Sophisticated and elegant family villas on a working domaine - vineyard views, private pools and a spa for “la belle vie””
There are over 30 villas, ranging from 2 to 4 bedrooms, with or without pool, plus a 1-bedroom apartment - so you've plenty of choice (unless you leave it late to book, of course). Some are attached, others stand alone; most are on 2 levels - so be prepared for stairs.
We stayed in a 3-bedroom villa with private pool (one of the Maisons des Vignerons), and were blown away by the space. From the entrance hall, we emerged into a gorgeous kitchen-diner, then down to a vast lounging area, whose central glass doors open onto a garden terrace with dining for 8, loungers, BBQ and our own private heated pool. The views are of the vineyards and it is a sweet spot for a sundowner. You can keep an eye on the pool from inside, although they are all gated or alarmed for safety.
In our house (the layout varies in others), one bedroom was on the ground floor, with a full bathroom next door: tub, shower, Serjac toiletries and stacks of the fluffiest towels and robes. Upstairs were 2 further ensuite bedrooms, with acres of wardrobe and storage space, and a freeview TV in the master bedroom. It's all très chic, the muted straw and cream palette enlivened by colourful light baubles and bold artworks. And it's ultra high-spec too: expect Smeg appliances and enough wine glasses for a house party (see Eating). Despite (I'd like to say 'because of') all this, we felt instantly at home!
Each villa has a brilliantly equipped kitchen, including dishwasher, coffee maker, microwave, toaster and all the utensils you could need to whip up a mini Gallic feast. We enjoyed lazy breakfasts and the occasional lunch 'at home' - there are surprisingly good little supermarkets in the adjacent villages of Roujan and Pouzolles (both within 10 mins' drive), not to mention the wonderful market at Pezenas.
But trust me, you won't be cooking every day. In summer, a family-friendly lunch menu offers pizzas, sandwiches and snacks on the terrace, while in the evening there are kids' meal times and the occasional paella night or BBQ. But if you fancy spoiling yourselves one evening, book a baby-sitter and a table at the Domaine's restaurant: a quiet, elegant space for candlelit à la carte dinners.
Try the basil cocktails (the barman really knows his stuff), then whet your appetite on smoked tuna tartare with sweet peppers, or asparagus with eggs and caviar. Mains include fresh fish, roast pigeon or lamb (spiced up with morels and spring greens when we stayed), or cod with cuttlefish and chorizo. But do leave room for a soupcon of fruit parfait or Tonka bean chocolate. It's not a cheap dinner, but it is special.
There are also 2- and 3-course set lunches, and a fantastic but pricey buffet breakfast if it all gets too much. The kitchen can arrange BBQ packs or picnic lunches with advance notice. If you simply want fresh bread or croissants in the morning, just let them know and send the kids out to collect it.
Families will love the villas and the space here. Kids will make friends, but you could always come with another family, or several - villas have 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms, and several adjoin, so it's ideal for groups large and small. There is no formal crèche, but there is a summer kids club, and plenty of activities inside and outside the estate to keep families happy. Best of all, many villas have private gated pools.
Children (4-12 years)
The most popular villas are the 3-bedroom ones with private pool. In each category (except the 1-bedroom studio), you can request a house with a private pool or without. For families with babies or crawlers, the 2 bedroom apartments are all on one level, with gated terraces. Bear in mind that there are only three 2-bedroom houses with pool, so book early for those.
Reception can recommend local babysitters and provide contact details
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
During the summer, kids club sessions can be booked (1 session is a morning or afternoon) in blocks of 5 or 10. Expect a variety of activities for 4-12 year olds, including scavenger hunts, foraging and water play.
During school holidays, kid-friendly lunches (sandwiches, snacks) are served out on the terrace, and there's a separate kids dinner (normally at 6pm), plus occasional BBQs and paella nights for older children. If you come out of season with pre-schoolers, as we did, you might find the restaurant rather formal, with attentive waiters, hushed couples and a sophisticated kids' menu (think fish fillets with artichoke and potato puree served on huge French dinner plates).