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Hotel Richer de Belleval: Where luxury meets bistronomy in southern France city Montpellier
Hotel Richer de Belleval

Hotel Richer de Belleval: Where luxury meets bistronomy in southern France city Montpellier

| @indiablooms | 30 Mar 2024, 01:35 pm

When the Uber driver dropped us off on the main street of Monpellier driving through the iconic city gateway that is Porte du Peyrou, I thought my five-star hotel was just around with some impressive portico.

I was wrong. For a while I cluelessly searched for Hotel Richer de Belleval till a walk toting my suitcase down the maze of cobbled medieval alleys lined with limestone houses led me to a beautiful square and the property, an old mansion that witnessed a rebirth for gastronomy, art and luxury stay.

Once inside the magnificent heritage hotel across a square which on weekends buzz with music and a happy crowd of diners basking in the Montpellier sun, I felt like an entitled luxury traveller who is also free-spirited. Soon I discovered that my room on the first floor overlooking the square- Place de la Canourgue- was a stunner.

The Hotel Richer de Belleval is actually a private mansion turned Relais & Châteaux Hotel-Restaurant in the heart of the city. I learnt in my dreamy two days in the property that it is a place for gastronomes, and lovers of  art, culture and history, with a patio courtyard and an inner courtyard thrown in for good measure. 

The hotel is at this peaceful square - Place de la Canourgue - lined with beautiful mansions from the 17th century with outdoor cafés and the beautiful view of Cathédrale Saint Pierre and the city’s rooftops.

The repurposed property  was transformed into a must-visit-must-stay destination by The Philippe Prost firm, the Atelier de Ricou, Christian Collot, the Pourcel brothers (twin chefs), architects, atmospheric directors and restaurateurs. They all contributed their best without compromising the origin of the building.

The hotel preserved the floors, frescoes, and paintings, and installed new pieces, contemporary artworks, and objects that awaken emotions and give the place a timeless cachet that will last for years.

Rooms

The rooms in the hotel are both classy and cozy and each overlooks either the square outside or narrow streets of the city centre. The wifi rooms with TV loaded with satellite channels, have coffee machines while the bathrooms have walk-in showers.

A "Junior Suite With Balcony" is decorated with 17th Century gypseries classified as historical monuments. This suite has a ceiling height of 5 meters and a view of Place de la Canourgue and interior patio.

The hotel's atmosphere designer, Christian Collot, has added his own touch of sensitivity to the 15 rooms and five suites. "The spaces are treated like curiosity cabinets with a singular atmosphere that plunge into dreamlike worlds without losing the comfort and the requirements of today’s well-being," the hotel says.

He has made the spaces warm with wood, velvet, tapestries and paintings chosen in the colors of blue hour, purple and scarlet night.

Food glorious food

Besides art and history, this hotel is one dedicated to gastronomy with a Michillin star restaurant to boast of.

Chefs Jacques and Laurent Pourcel, twin sons of a winegrower, helm the gastronome scene at this hotel, offering you you sensory  experiences in the three vaulted rooms of the property including the restaurant that is Jardin des Sens in a space of architectural monuments and wonderful ceiling frescoes.  Their Gallic recipes are works of culinary art.

They will also propose a bistronomic cuisine, upstairs, in the former wedding hall, or in the courtyard of the hotel or on the terrace, close to the hackberry trees of the Place de la Canourgue, which is the beautiful square of Montpellier where the hotel is located.

"With their four hands, they have a talent for producing contradictory flavors, so that in their dishes the contrasts meld together, as when the almond delicately sweetens the bold flavor of a green olive tapenade," says Olivers & Co, Mane, France, which makes a selection of world's best vintage olive oil and Mediterranean grocery products.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sujoy Dhar (@sujoydhar1)

Jacques & Laurent Pourcel have brought back to life authentic products, fresh flavors, dusted, classic or original and textures between rusticity and lightness.

So dig into the  Mediterranean-inspired dishes here by the masterchef duo. Though I did not taste it, their pigeon dish is said to be unmissable.

We had some amazing cocktails at the bar, Elytre in the evening. This bar has the intimate atmosphere of a private club. You can have a sundowner or a cup of tea or coffee here amid the shades of green. 

Bistronomy is the contraction of the terms “bistro” and “gastronomy”, a new culinary concept, mixing the bistro spirit and the quality of fine dining. The duo offers you that experience with bistronomy, which is the art of making gastronomy accessible to all. A new way of conceiving to define the restaurant and the cooking.

"A good local cuisine, relaxed and chic, a simple cuisine, without showiness, generous, tasty and gourmet, in a relaxed restaurant where we eat. Bistronomic cuisine is a festive atmosphere restoration," the hotel boasts.

So choose your spot- outside on the terrace, or in the courtyard-patio or at the bar, besides under the grand fresco ceiling of Jardin des Sens. I loved my meals, however, in the beautiful inner courtyard. It offered me a relaxed gastronomic bistro experience under the flowery canopy and with natural light flooding in. 

During our two-day stay, we felt Hôtel Richer de Belleval as home away from home. A chic, historic five-star mansion hotel with fine dining amid the warm hospitality of hotel staff who were like your next door friends in an old world neighbourhood.

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