Conde Nast Traveller (UK), January 2011
“It is a former convent and an organic part of the old winding streets in the village of Herepian. As well as featuring designer bathrooms, Vosges linens, muted nun’s-habit tones and a sybaritic spa, it is run along sustainable lines… I shall ask for a garden-side room to catch the evening sun. A modest sip in the womb-like bar will precede a less-modest dinner, perhaps of local charcuterie, cassoulet, salad and vegetables from a garden in the village.”
The 50 Best Hotels in the World, The Telegraph, December 2010
“Next time someone urges you to “get thee to a nunnery”, come here. Hidden away in a small town at the foot of the Haut-Languedoc mountains, the former convent has been converted into lovely contemporary suites, without losing the winding, stone-built integrity. Sisters would still find their way around the compact place, but might be surprised by the sober extravagance of the comfort, the terraces, little spa and pool, and, especially perhaps, the vaulted wine bar. Warm informality infuses the place, from the central kitchen – where you meet for table-d’hôte dinner – to the lounge-library, winter terrace and garden beyond.”
The Times, July 2008
“This tiny spa – one treatment room and a small hydrotherapy pool -is more than the sum of its parts. This is not a place to come for beauty therapy (no waxing or pedicures here) but for relaxation, to feel the week’s weariness ebb away. The small, friendly hotel staff, led by the solicitous manager Antoine Lopez, make you feel entirely at home.
Housed in a charming former convent in the centre of a quiet village, the hotel has 13 suites and is simply decorated in cool greys to reflect its previous life as a place of contemplation. The ground floor spa looks directly onto the little garden and out towards the nearby mountains. The treatment room is lit with candles and the piped music is mercifully just classical.”
The Independent, May 2008
“Step through the doors of Le Couvent d’Hérépian and you’ll find a bijou bolthole you can make your own in the leafy surroundings of the High Languedoc. The sympathetic restoration of this 17th-century convent has resulted in a rural retreat characterised by cool, calm chic. The building was stumbled upon first; the concept followed. The aim was to open a small, sophisticated hotel, where guests could delight in the discovery of this little-known part of south-west France.
The 13 suites are simply but elegantly furnished, blending modern and rustic, many with mountain views. Rooms vary in size, but all are spacious and en-suite, with kitchenettes and dining areas. A “petit-déjeuner du terroir” – fruit, cheeses, charcuterie and pastries – is laid out in the vaulted kitchen. There’s a tapas menu and, with a day’s notice, deli owner Michel Aninat will prepare regional dishes.”
Le Couvent d’Hérépian, Languedoc-Roussillon, France Harpers Bazzar
“The restored 17th-century Couvent d’Hérépian in the heart of High Languedoc, this enchantingly gardened boutique hotel’s handful of suites feature vaulted ceilings and period details – and have kitchens too.
Hérépian, a small village on the fringes of the Haut Languedoc national park, couldn’t provide a more scenic setting for this renovated 17th-century convent. Adding modern touches such as a subterranean spa, a terraced garden and a mouthwatering table d’hôte to its ancient vaulted ceilings and period charms, Le Couvent d’Hérépian is a boutique hotel that offers great get-away-from-it-all value in a real rural idyll.
Packing tips: Your cutest eco shopping bag to stuff with goodies from the local markets.
Hotel restaurants: Le Couvent d’Hérépian offers a table d’hôte, given a day’s notice. Chef and charcutier Michel Aninat, noted for his saucisse by Rick Stein, prepares tapas and hearty dishes such as lamb confit and coq au vin.
Hotel bars :The honesty bar is down in a vaulted limestone cellar, where you can sink into chunky contemporary chairs with a glass of local wine; it can be plundered all night long. Aperitifs are served every evening in the bar, salon or gardens.
Activities:The village of Lamalou-les-Bains is a short drive from the hotel, and offers both a nine-hole golf course with gorgeous views (+33 (0)4 67 95 08 47), and mineral springs where you can indulge in thermal treatments and therapies.”
The Big Six: Convent hotels, The Independent, April 2012
“Hérépian has long been a place of quiet contemplation: pilgrims used to stop here en route to the Way of St James in Spain. Here, in the heart of the Haut-Languedoc national park, a 17th-century nunnery is now a four-star hotel with 13 suites and a restorative spa. Vaulted ceilings, mullioned windows and stone staircases retain a sense of history, while plasma televisions and iPod docks bring things into the 21st century.”
Le Couvent d’Herepian, Elle, March 2012
“If your idea of a great spa is a place that can really take you away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life then Le Couvent d’Herepian if for you.
One and a half hours from the medieval town of Carcasoone in the South of France this converted 17th century monastery is a beautiful bolt hole hidden in provincial France, just inside the Regional Park of the High Languedoc. You can’t access Le Couvent d’Herepian, which sits up a hill in a tiny town near the larger towns of Béziers and Pézenas, unless you have a car, which also makes it the ideal stop on a driving holiday.
What makes Le Couvent d’Herepian so special is the atmosphere, relaxing before you have even booked your treatment in the small spa. Decorated in classic French farm house style, the uber chic 13 room inn is immaculately equipped for relaxation. The large country kitchen is where the daily, delicious, dinner is prepared, and where guests sit together around a big wooden table, to eat in the evening. There is also a fully stocked selection of teas, coffees and snacks which guests are free to take whenever they want to.
Apart from the bedrooms which all have a DVD players, and small kitchens to prepare locally sourced snacks in, there are various nooks and crannies to get lost in, like the reading room (equipped with books, CD’s, DVD’s, newspapers and magazines which can all be borrowed for the duration of your stay.) Or the tiny but perfectly formed patio terrace, and the Honesty Bar, open 24 hours a day, where you help yourself to a drink and then sign your name and room number on the bar’s tab. Here you are left to your own devices, to explore or relax, unless that is you want some help, or advice on what to do locally from the hotel’s manager Antoine, who speaks perfect English.
Nearby is the pretty town of Pézenas, where you will find a traditional French market every Saturday morning. Everything from fresh organic haricot vert to embroidered quilts (just like those in the bedrooms at Le Couvent d’Herepian) are for sale.
But what about the spa? It’s small, only one treatment room, off an atrium that houses a very small warm water pool (not for swimming lengths in.) There is one therapist (nothing and no one is in a hurry in this part of the world) and just three types of massage to chose from by way of treatments. You pay for the time spent there, one hour costs 90 Euros.
The lack of variety is made up for with real expertise and organic, natural, locally sourced products. The reflexology is so relaxing you will fall asleep.
Best for: Truly getting away from it all. A luxe break whilst driving through France.”