Castillo? Are we talking about a charming village or a picturesque sprawling hotel. Well, it is all this at the same time, at the end of a winding secondary road with century-old vines and colorful houses, on the beautiful land of Saint Chinian in Languedoc.
It is a place to be earned, a beautiful indiscretion, a gourmet search, a bracket to finally recharge your batteries. This corner of paradise, from which the essences of the garrigue emanate, is still a wild and free space.
The place has been reinvented as a hotel with 24 large rooms and suites exquisite, distributed in several houses, a gastronomic and starry table with an organic, creative kitchen, products offer the harmony of the plates, a grill bistro to the large red parasols in the village square, where you can taste the estate’s wines, an Asian inspired restaurant with enchanting taste, and a concierge service installed in one of the winegrowers’ houses… In the summer season, aficionados enjoy tasty friendly BBQs, served under the southern starry sky.
Castigno Castle, the vineyard adjacent to the village, has a majestic cellar in the shape of a lying bottle that seems to emerge from the ground, completely covered with cork bark, blended into the valley, in harmony with the horizon line of the Natural Park of Haut Languedoc. A bold ode to nature, unique in the region.
The transformation of a domain
Marc and Tine Verstraete have been looking for their little paradise for a long time. They found it in 2007 with this big crush at Castigno, not far from the village of Assignan. A region that has remained wild, somewhat secluded, in Haut Languedoc in the lands of Saint Chinian. Castigno is a unique place, authentically steeped in history. The site, which belonged to the Knights of Malta, was built in the 12th centurye century.
With great concern for the preservation of heritage and the environment, the couple began extensive renovation work on the castle, but especially the vineyard. Organic farming was obvious, and Michel Tardieu, oenologist, ardent defender of the Côtes du Rhône, was called upon to ensure that the wines of Castigno become the best of the Saint Chinian appellation.
An opportunity to move on presented itself… in Assignan, their adopted commune, many houses are abandoned. Over the years Marc decided to buy six, nine and then twelve. Tine, with an artistic flair, becomes the decorator and the soul of the redevelopment of the village, which comes back to life… restoring houses, buried power lines, cobbled streets and reopening a cafe in the village square. Assignan is reborn!
Today, Castigno is an exceptional place with a strong personality … the result of a deep concern for detail and excellence.
Rooms and houses in Castigno
Castigno is a charming village hotel, where all services are included in the houses, small and large. Car-free village to stroll through the cobbled streets, meet the inhabitants, the mayor, the baker who delivers his bread every morning, the “household” with their trolley or the cooks returning from the market.
The harvesters… These very comfortable rooms (bathroom with shower and toilet) of 15 m² are winemaker style with colors reminiscent of the harvest, with private terrace in natural wood… 5 min walk from the reception and swimming pools and 2 min from the village square to enjoy breakfast and restaurants.
Luxury rooms… With an area of 12 m², with shower and separate toilet, they are an integral part of the Maison des Amis, at the entrance to the village, not far from the swimming pools and the reception and still 2 minutes from the heart of the village.
Junior suites… With 25 to 35 m², they contain works of art and design objects. In the heart of the village, to take advantage of catering facilities, in an old winery, they have a bathroom with shower open to the bedroom and separate toilet.
Prestige Suites… These are village houses in the center of the village converted into sumptuous and warm rooms of 50 to 90 m². They have a living room, a bathroom with shower and toilet and are located 2 minutes from the reception and swimming pools.
Friends house… with 9 rooms (5 Deluxe and 4 Junior suites) for 20 people. The independence of each is preserved, but sociability is for all. To complete it all, a well-equipped kitchen open to the dining room, a cozy living room with fireplace and plenty of space. In good weather, relaxation is assured on the terrace and its long baobab table, and the shaded garden equipped with poufs, sunbeds and parasols around the swimming pool. Ideal for a family rental or a tribe of friends!
For gourmands and gourmets
The bosses… Justine and Stephan, the place’s two chefs, have wonderfully captured the flavor of this terroir with a strong character. They met in Provence after individually having experiences at gastronomic tables. In 2019, they won their 1time Michelin star at Hameau des Baux (Baux de Provence) and then an interlude of a year and a half in Vietnam opened them to new horizons.
Table… With a Provençal DNA and an international outlook, the star cuisine is refined and daring… aromatic herbs for more freshness and a good job with the acidity to tickle the taste buds. The brigade and the chefs quickly explored the region’s potential to organize a real journey among the ecosystems, from the highlands of Aubrac to the Big Blue.
The small table… this is the pulsating heart of Castigno, the grill bistro with its generous cuisine, fine wines and a beautiful village atmosphere to welcome guests, tourists and all international travelers. Everything is locavore… local produce, beautifully grilled meats and fish and tasty vegetables for bistronomic dishes.
The Thai… the restaurant where you travel to Asia, a palette of flavors drawn from traditional dishes. Neither a la carte nor menu, everything is inspired by the chefs. The cuisine is generous, simmered or wok, the produce is seasonal and of local origin garnished with curry, mint, lemongrass, coriander, coconut milk… a change of scenery guaranteed!
Château Castigno’s cellar… The cellar of the castle lies in the heart of the vineyard (overlooking the Haut Languedoc natural park) like a slender sculpture. It is in harmony with the surrounding nature thanks to the cork oak that covers the building’s 2000 m² in the shape of a bottle placed on the ground.
Nomade Kitchen… Beautiful rural tradition in Castigno inspired by Uruguayan fiestas where you find yourself, in the heart of the vineyards, under tents with large tables covered with flowers and flowers to taste tasty dishes grilled or grilled before going to a siesta in the shade of centuries-old olive trees. Really ideal for a family gathering, a reunion with friends and even for a bohemian chic wedding.
In these beautiful atypical surroundings, the stay at the Village Castigno Wine Hotel & Resort is anything but ordinary and standard. It is imperative to appropriate the place to appreciate its exceptionality. Easy thanks to the complicity with the dynamic and international team that works there, so that hospitality and service rhyme with warmth, generosity and sharing. Extra soul of Castigno, which you come there for!
Photos and writing Patrick Koune
Practical information :
> Castigno Wine Hotel & Resort