Quietly tucked away on a wooded island in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, Chateau L'Hospitalet is a subtly sophisticated vineyard hotel that has everything you need to live your best French life. Set in the heart of the region's Clape Massif nature reserve, the chateau is surrounded by over 37,000 acres of arid green landscape, complete with rows of vineyards and views stretching over limestone cliffs and dangling straight out to sea. And, of course, there's wine — award-winning biodynamic wines, to be exact.
During the off-peak season, you and 33 or more of your closest friends and family members can have the entire chateau to yourselves for just $7,900 a night (that's under $250 per person). Even better? Off-peak season runs for the majority of the year, from Sept. 1 to June 30. Rates for peak season (July 1 to Aug. 31) jump up to $9,900, but buyouts are unavailable between July 10 and Aug. 31, when all rooms are reserved for the hotel's annual Jazz Festival.
Buyout rates include extra perks not available to regular overnight guests, starting with a daily French-style breakfast spread (normally $16 per person). With seating indoors or out on the patio, breakfast features an assortment of cheeses, meats, DIY fresh-squeezed juices, breads, sweet treats, and hot coffee. As a buyout guest, you'll also get a guided tour of the wine estate's vineyards, chateau, cellar, and art gallery, and can be taken through the trails up to a hidden vista point in the reserve that's perfect for picnics. Plus, the included cellar tour gives visitors a chance to learn more about the property.
In its former life, Chateau L'Hospitalet functioned as a 13th-century hospice. In 2016, French winemaker Gérard Bertrand converted the property into a country chateau and restaurant to accompany the surrounding vineyards he had begun cultivating in the early 2000s. Subsequent renovations elevated the estate's rooms with simple but contemporary decor elements, and added an art gallery, seasonal outdoor pool (open April through October), golf putting green, tennis court, library, gym, and craft shop — all of which are accessible to guests at no charge.
There's also a large tasting room, walkable from the rooms, where guests and visitors alike can sample up to six different Bertrand wines from across his estates, including the 2017 Grand Vin Rouge AOP La Clape from Chateau L'Hospitalet, which was awarded the best red wine in the world in 2019. Uniquely, all 16 of Bertrand's estates are certified biodynamic, making him the largest producer of biodynamic wines in the world. This process of winemaking relies solely on the principles and calendar of biodynamics, uses natural elements instead of chemicals, and regards the vineyard as a whole entity. The included cellar tour not only provides an introduction to tastings, but also offers a closer look at the biodynamic and vinification process Bertrand uses to produce his award-winning wines.
Perhaps, then, one of the most unique buyout perks here is the ability to create your own custom blend of Chateau L'Hospitalet wine — a dash of syrah here, some grenache there — an experience unavailable to the general public or regular guests. Just keep in mind that wine-blending classes have a 10-participant minimum and cost $35 per person, but you'll get to take home a bottle of your signature blend — the ultimate souvenir.
And we all know good wine should never be left unaccompanied. However, the hotel is 20 minutes by car from Narbonne, the closest town. Luckily, the restaurant at Chateau L'Hospitalet, L'Art de Vivre, is top-notch. In fact, it's Michelin rated. Similar to Bertrand, chef Laurent Chabert looks to nature for his inspiration, plating thoughtful and beautiful dishes via three-, five-, or seven-course set menus that focus on local ingredients, often from his own orchards and garden. A meal at L'Art de Vivre is not to be missed, nor likely to be forgotten. On Friday nights, Chabert creates a five-course menu and wine pairing to complement live jazz performances at the hotel. They say l'art de vivre — the art of French living — is living life to the fullest, keeping pleasure and enjoyment at the forefront, celebrating excellent food and wine, socializing, and surrounding yourself with beauty. At Château L'Hospitalet this all comes easy — and we'll toast to that.
Source: Read Full Article