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Back in November we had the pleasure of escaping the oncoming UK winter to visit part of France I had never been to before, the simply stunning wine region of Languedoc in the South of France. Our hosts for the adventure were husband and wife Karl and Anita O’Hanlon who own two beautiful properties in the area Chateau St Pierre de Serjac and Chateau Les Carrasses. Both are fairytale châteauxs set in lush rural French countryside.
Background and Concept
In 2006 Karl and Anita O’Hanlon left their busy Dublin lives in search of the more relaxed pace of living in Languedoc. Château Les Carrasses was the first property they opened in 2011. Then following on from the success of Carrasses in 2016 they opened their second property Chateau St Pierre de Serjac a 30 minutes drive away.
Chateau Les Carrasses is a 19th century turreted château which is like something out of a fairytale dream. It was hard to imagine that the estate was in very bad shape before Karl and Anita laid hands on it, but after a multi million pound renovation the entire estate has been reborn into something quite incredible.
The main house is home to the salon/restaurant and a series of luxuriously fitted apartments. While the estate outhouses have been transformed into a series of larger apartments and residences ideal for families and bigger parties.
There is so much attention to detail everywhere you look, like the former orangery which makes the ideal place to have a coffee and read a good book in.
It doesn’t really get much more dreamlike, Carrasses is perched on a hill and set within 60 acres of French vineyards, the Pyrenees mountains can be seen in the distance from your apartment window. The winemaking village of Capestang is a short drive away which straddles the Canal du Midi (which you can hire boats and sail down). Hire self-drive canal boats in Capestang, or canoe wild river rapids in Roquebrun, 18 miles north. Sérignan Plage, 30 minutes south, is the closest sandy beach and Étang de Bages and Étang de Thau – hot kite-surfing spots – are 45 minutes by car.
The nearest airports are Beziers a 30 minute drive and Montpellier is around 1 hour drive depending on traffic. TGV trains run from London and Barcelona to Beziers and I was surprised to learn that Barcelona is only two hours from Beziers meaning you can easily fly in and out of Barcelona too.
The main châteaux houses five stunning suites and apartments suitable for couples with incredible views looking out to the vineyards.
We hit the jackpot with the view, which looks out to the terrace and infinity pool below.
Apartments and Residences
If you are looking for something for a larger group the former out-buildings of the châteaux have been turned into a series of apartments and residences. The properties are each individually decorated with a classic French country-style feel to them. Each property comes with fully equipped kitchens, most have a garden and a lot have their own private swimming pools.
Above is the former House of the Gardener which sits on its own with complete privacy and its own pool, perfect for honeymoons!
Some of the largest villas are set over three floors with terrace gardens at the bottom.
Many have their own pools and sun terraces.
Food and Drink
In the heart of the main châteaux is the salon which is the reception and brassiere. It has the feel of an inviting family lounge, very relaxed and informal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily using in season ingredients from the local area. Wine is also produced at the châteaux which you can buy in the brasserie which I highly recommend as it is delicious!
If you are staying in the apartments, they do all have kitchens so completely self catering, but it is nice to have the option to pop out for dinner or a lunch in the restaurant while you are staying,
In the warmer months, food moves from indoor dining to al fresco in the lower terrace which overlooks the pool.
At the top of the terrace is another lounge with a relaxed atmosphere and comfortable sofas which is the ideal spot for a pre dinner drink while you watch the sunset.
The cellar connects with the terrace and is open every day in the summer for drinks. It also hosts a series of music nights with local during the summer months.
Spa and Pool
One of my favourite parts of a hotel is the swimming pool and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint. Set at the bottom of the garden the infinity pool overlooks the vines in the fields beyond and the row of sun-lounges next to to the pool are perfect place to spend the day relaxing. If you are looking to be energetic during your stay there is also a clay tennis court, volleyball court, boules pitch and complimentary mountain bikes.
If you need a massage they offer in room spa options as well as yoga, cooking classes and guided walks of the area, and for longer spa treatments Serjac has a very well equipped spa.
Chateau Les Carrasses is a complete get away from it all luxury experience. It’s ideal as a self catering option for couples and up to groups of 8 people. The surrounding area is breathtakingly pretty, and the property is simply stunning. With multiple airline options flying into the region it is very easy to get in and out of from the UK.
I know you will love Chateau Les Carrasses as much as I did so put it onto your travel list for 2018.
Address: Route de Capestang, 34310 Quarante, France