A magnificent setting surrounded by 240 acres of vineyards, olive groves and woodland commanding views over the lagoon to the Pyrenees yet a few minutes’ drive from the Mediterranean coast, Languedoc’s Château Capitoul is the most recent opening from
hoteliers Karl O’Hanlon and Anita Forte and wine maker Laurent Bonfils. Sister property to Château les Carrasses and Château St Pierre de Serjac, Capitoul is a centuries-old iconic wine estate occupied since Roman times and has been conscientiously renovated to preserve the expansive natural surroundings and rich agricultural and aristocratic heritage of the estate, elevated with confident, contemporary design.
Eight refined hotel bedrooms, a gastronomic restaurant and a Cinq Mondes spa are hidden within the decorative neo-gothic Château, beside a meticulously restored winery with tasting rooms, wine shop and a more informal brasserie restaurant. Further along the hillside the intimate hamlet boasts 44 beautifully crafted self-catering villas, a 30m infinity swimming pool and bar, tennis court, and magnificent terraced Mediterranean gardens by world renowned landscape designer James Basson.
Best time to visit
THE CHÂTEAU HOTEL
The iconic Château embodies a world of comfort, elegance and world class dining. High ceilings and meticulous restoration relay impeccable style and an almost obsessional attention to detail..
Upstairs eight hotel bedrooms have been given the customary O’Hanlon / Forte treatment. Drawing heavily on the estate’s turn on the century heyday the couple have blended art deco and art nouveau chandeliers and mirrors with mid-century and classical empire pieces rescaled to today’s requirements and paired with the necessary contemporary indulgences.
Downstairs in the original Château dining room Méditerranéo is an intimate gastronomic restaurant bathed in light where six symmetrical bay windows drink in the view. Chef Valere Diochet’s cooking takes full advantage of the huge range of local produce to propose a confident flavour-led cuisine with a distinct pan-Mediterranean accent that manages to be simultaneously rustic and elegant.
Below, accessed via an ancient spiral stone staircase is a serene Cinq Mondes Spa with four treatment rooms, an indoor pool, sauna and steam room spills into serene Mediterranean gardens dotted with cocooning loungers.
VILLAS WITH POOLS
A gentle walk along a pretty wooded slope with sweeping views of the lagoon leads to a hamlet of 44 self- catering villas embedded into the hillside. Inspired by local architecture the properties blend authentic Languedoc character with contemporary use of space and light. Each is generously proportioned and individually styled using natural, often reclaimed materials: terracotta roof tiles, traditional wooden shutters, oak beams and huge bay windows which frame the extraordinary views. Fully equipped Italian kitchens and en suite bathrooms are enhanced by stylish antique detailing and French furnishings. Aromatic private gardens and private swimming pools ensure plenty of outdoor space.
THE CAVEAU – WINING & DINING
Located in the winery, Asado offers guests a more informal dining option. Named for the vast wood fired grills that form its centrepiece, at Asado local fish and seafood and regionally sourced meats are charred over vine wood and charcoal accompanied by generous plates of seasonal salads and vegetable confections from the kitchen garden. A huge space marked by a theatrical, flamboyant design on balmy, summer nights guest can soak up the spectacular views from the expansive terrace.
La Clape has been producing wine since Roman times and was the first region in the Languedoc to be granted coveted Grand Cru status. Representing almost 10% of the production of the appellation, Château Capitoul has for centuries been an icon of La Clape. Following its recent transformation, Capitoul is the flagship estate of partners Vignobles Bonfils, one of France’s most innovative and respected independent wine companies. Under the knowledgeable guidance of wine maker Florian Chollet guests can sample the extraordinary breadth of Languedoc wines, a region recognised today for its world class winemaking, fully immersing themselves in all aspects of the wine making process.
Whether relaxing within the grounds or exploring the local area, guests will find an astonishing amount to do in an around Château Capitoul. After warming up on the tennis and boules courts, guests can cool down in the vast infinity pool, soaking up the views with a cocktail from the bar under the shade of an olive tree. And just beyond the Château, the soaring cliffs of La Clape provide a 37,000-acre natural playground for bikers, walkers and climbers, while those looking to explore the endless beautiful beaches and characterful coastal towns can cycle to the seaside in under 10mins before heading to Narbonne for a hit of culture.
A HOLIDAY WITHOUT COMPROMISE
With easy access from the U.K, Capitoul is situated within 1hr 30 of six airports (Béziers, Perpignan, Carcassonne, Montpellier, Toulouse and Girona just across the border in Spain), high-speed rail links and the option to drive, guests have maximum opportunity to savour their surroundings.
Capitoul blends the heritage of Languedoc’s most respected wine appellation with Domaine & Demeure’s trademarks of understated luxury and effortless style, in one of the most exquisite locations in the South of France.
Hotel rooms at Château Capitoul are from €140 per night.
Self-catering accommodation at Château Capitoul begins at €345 per night in a 2-bedroom property with private garden.
Château Capitoul lies within the natural park of the Massif de la Clape, an ancient landscape where rocky cliffs overlook vine-scattered countryside, between the lively historic city of Narbonne and the bohemian, picturesque fishing village of Gruissan. Far from the south of France’s over-trodden tourist trail, the properties spectacular position ensures unique access to the authentic Languedoc landscape in many alluring guises from its secret, sandy beaches to Michelin starred restaurants, UNESCO world heritage sites and thriving markets.
Visitors are welcomed into a spectacular atrium. The natural world appears to flourish within this modern reception space, petrified wooden tables, floral art deco bronzes and gnarled olive trees are complemented by the sinuous lines of a cantilevered spiral staircase. At Capitoul guests are invited to create their own bespoke assemblage of the estate’s extensive offering: the facilities and style of a quality hotel, the privacy of a villa rental, the authenticity of a working wine estate and the laid-back ambience and service of a private club.
Low season price from: €140
High season price from: €POA