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Reviewed: Hotel Richer De Belleval, Montpellier

08/08/2022 by .
Hotel Richer de Belleval exterior e1659959395641

Anthea Gerrie Visits Hotel Richer De Belleval, Montpellier’s Latest Architectural Tour De Force

In a city of astonishing buildings, including a glittering town hall by Jean Nouvel and an entire neoclassical-revival neighbourhood called Antigone, the Hotel Richer de Belleval is a fittingly eye-popping new arrival.   On the face of it an unexpected one, given Montpellier, a wine trade town with a large student population where a glass of good plonk at the lowest price in the country is considered practically a birthright, is, despite the grandeur of the city centre, not the obvious home for a five-star hotel.

However, years ago twin chefs Jacques and Laurent Pourcel made the city a dining destination with their Michelin-starred restaurant Jardin des Sens, and after five years absence have reopened at the Richer de Belleval to offer affluent gourmets digs as glorious as the dinner to bed down in after a fabulous feed.

Jacques and Laurent Pourcel at the Hotel Riicher de Belleval

This renovated 17th-century palace is, however, by no means just a restaurant with rooms.   It’s also home to a contemporary art foundation, showcasing some of the most vibrant and playful artists around, and above all a luxurious and stimulating place to stay, a feast for the eyes to complement the feast for the tastebuds available on the ground floor.

The hotel and its two restaurants are the culmination of several years’ restoration aimed at creating “a place dedicated to beauty, culture and gastronomy” to quote the twins, the sommelier Olivier Chateau with whom they operate the hotel and restaurant and real estate group GGL with whom Pourcel and Chateau partnered to bring this gorgeous new hospitality venue to fruition.

Room shot2 Hotel Richer de Belleval

View of Place de la Canourgue from balcony at Hotel Richer de Belleval

The 20 guest rooms are exquisite, many overlooking the beautiful Place de la Canourgue in the historic city centre just a hop and a skip from Montpellier’s own Arc de Triomphe.   All are different and some, like ours, no.8, boasting a balcony on which to sit and admire the charming square, are classed as historic monuments in their own right.   Put it down to the original 17th-century plasterwork and fireplace which worked surprisingly well with quirky, playful modern accessories like the bouquet of giant handmade artificial flowers on a stand and the art mantelpiece lamp styled as a peacock adorned in crystal.

If the moonlit view of the peaceful deserted square, which earlier had been the scene of carousing in a popular restaurant, was the after-dinner attraction, the aperitif was the beauty of the room itself, with its luxurious, curvy upholstery  – “all roundness and softness” was apparently the watchword for the decor in this room – and the large but intimate marble bathroom with clawfoot tub, large walk-in shower and double basin accessed by a secret panel in the bedroom wall.

Jardin des Sens restaurant

Hotel Richer de Belleval art ceiling in lobby and bistro beyond

Breakfast at Hotel Richer de Belleval

It’s a room which seduces inhabitants to linger, but dinner is not to be missed – downstairs the Pourcel twins are simultaneously managing to feed both gourmets in their famous Jardin des Sens, which occupies three ground-floor rooms, as well as guests and locals looking for a more informal feed in their “bistronomique” restaurant.

Informal the service may be, but the room, an interior courtyard, is jaw-droppingly grand, its ancient stones highlighted by a trio of huge chandeliers.   It’s here a gourmet breakfast is also served, featuring fine cheeses, yoghurt and smoked salmon from a chilled cabinet as well as bread and croissants from an award-winning local bakery and the succulent fresh fruit for which the south of France is famous.

Hotel Richer de Belleval bar

There are less showy, but nonetheless exquisite, artefacts to admire in the dark green first-floor bar, L’Elytre, one of a few spaces which could be described as cosy – others are the small, mural-bedecked lobbies off which rooms are situated on the upper floors.

Art is everywhere – on ceilings, walls and hanging from rafters – tempting guests to stay in the building, but those who can tear themselves away will find a stroll around the old town via the nearby place de la Comedie a rewarding way to walk off dinner in a city which has distinguished itself with audacious architectural projects like the revamped Richer de Belleval for close to a millennium.

Tell Me More About The Hotel Richer De Belleval

The Hotel Richer De Belleval, Place de la Canorgue. 34000 Montpellier

T: +33 04 99 66 18 18

Rooms at Hotel Richer de Belleval from €300.00


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