The verdict 9/10
The Château Capitoul is a fabulous place for a week’s holiday with the family or as a stop off while exploring the area. Great location, accommodation, food and service with some real touches of luxury. It’s best suited to older children who are proficient swimmers and cyclers - the gravel paths make pushchairs a haul. But do consider it for a long weekend getaway without the kids - it’s a heavenly place to relax and unwind and super-convenient to get to.
A beautifully refurbished Chateau with 8 luxurious bedrooms, alongside 44 luxury stone villas form this magnificent estate with sweeping views over the vine-clad countryside and beyond to the sea. The villas, most with private pool or hot tub sleep 4-10 people and all have terraces and gardens with spectacular views. No attention to detail has been spared - each room is decorated elegantly, to the highest spec (expect Nespresso coffee machines, state of the art speaker systems and luxurious loungers). In fact, there has been so much interest from guests in the furnishings used at Chateau Capitoul and its sister Châteaux (Les Carrasses and St Pierre de Serjac) that a website has now been set up to sell them.
Château Capitoul has two restaurants. Asado, is warm and relaxed brasserie-style restaurant where local meats and seafoods are cooked over vinewood. Breakfast is served here and encompasses a large selection of continental breakfast items (I'd particularly recommend the toasted nuts) and eggs cooked to order. Everything is freshly prepared and delicious.
Méditerranéo is their gastronomic restaurant situated in the main Château. This is a fine-dining experience with a limited number of tables and service to match the food. We enjoyed an exquisite five-course tasting menu prepared by chef Valere Diochet using locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant's menu is overseen by double Michelin-starred chef Lionel Giraud from Maison Saint Crescent in nearby Narbonne. My bet, it’s a matter of time before Mediterraneo is bestowed its own star.
We also enjoyed ordering a BBQ pack which was delivered to our villa. Ingredients for a delicious three course meal arrived - including a rib of beef (with cooking instructions), roast potatoes and vegetable brochettes to be cooked on the villa's impressive gas-fired plancha. Pizza can be delivered on request too, and as you’d expect it’s top quality.
Service and facilities 9/10
Château Capitoul has one of the largest and most beautiful panoramic infinity swimming pools you’re ever likely to splash in. Fronted by a voluminous terrace housing luxury loungers shaded by olive mature trees and a very cool bar, with only the noise of cicada song to interrupt your thoughts, it’s the perfect place to get stuck into your holiday reading. For the more active there’s a tennis court (they’ll lend you racquets and balls),a petanque pitch and an excellent range of complimentary bikes for guests to use (with helmets and locks provided). We took the cycle path to nearby Gruissan - a lovely countryside cycle along the river for lunch at a spectacular fish restaurant on the waterfront. (Beware though to leave 45 mins for this in case the wind’s against you - Google maps suggested 25 mins being hopelessly optimistic unless you happen to be Chris Hoy).
Do visit the onsite wine cellar and shop where you can organise a tasting of wines from the estate. We sampled five excellent wines from the chateau and surrounding area and were given detailed notes on each wine - white, rosé and red.
There's also a kids club in July and August from Monday to Friday - run by qualified, bilingual (French - English) staff. And if all that’s not enough or the weather takes a turn for the worse - there’s a luxurious spa (for age 16 up only) including a small but perfectly formed limestone-clad indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. There’s a wide variety of treatments on offer - I went for the signature massage and wasn’t disappointed.
Surrounding area 9/10
An absolute must-visit is Les Halles de Narbonne - a Belle Epoque-era food hall with local charcuteries, patisseries, tapas bars, pizzerias and much more. There's a wide variety of beaches to suit all tastes within 10 mins drive. And film-set picturesque Carcassonne is only 45 mins away by car.
Chateau Capitoul is well-served by local airports - you have the choice between Beziers (40 mins), Carcassonne (45 mins), Montpelier (1 hour) and Toulouse (1 hr 45 mins).
Visit the Chateau Capitoul website to find out more