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Perfect for those times when you are looking to spoil yourself with a romantic getaway or special experience.Kendinizi romantik bir kaçamak veya özel bir deneyimle şımartmak istediğiniz zamanlar için mükemmeldir.Looking for a vacation of a lifetime? Or Marking a special occasion? See some exclusive inspirations.Bir ömür boyu tatil mi arıyorsunuz? Veya özel bir günü işaretlemek? Bazı özel ilhamlara bakın.

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Hotel Review: Domaine De Verchant, Near Montpellier In France / By Natasha Heard / Janbolat Khanat Almaty News Office

A charming estate on the outskirts of the modish southern French city of Montpellier, the five-star Domaine de Verchant successfully blends Old World charm with contemporary characteristics.

Though the estate, which encompasses a vineyard, chateau, spa, landscaped gardens and a selection of enticing restaurants, holds an array of said luxurious amenities, this is more like a family home with old friends welcoming you in than a glossy five-star establishment where you remain anonymous.

The high level of service that you receive from all who work here is evident from the second you step into reception to the moment you reluctantly make your retreat from this wonderful haven.


domaine de verchant
The estate dates to the late 16th century and holds a truly picturesque setting

Made up of a selection of old stone buildings with contemporary interior design, the estate, which dates to the late 16th century, holds a truly picturesque setting, made all the more appealing by its peaceful location.

The pale buttery stone buildings against a clear, bright blue sky make for excellent photo opportunities as do the outdoor swimming pools, beautifully tended to grounds and the delectable food that is served up across the two eateries throughout the days.

For the more active types there’s a gym and tennis court on site, which can easily be followed with a relaxing trip to one of the two outdoor pools with cabanas and loungers or Verchant Le Spa.

Domaine de Verchant also provides a selection of private spaces for use in large events such as a wedding, conference or gala evening, all catered for with delightful food from the kitchen.


There are 26 apartments, suites and rooms all with their own distinct interiors

Domaine de Verchant prides itself on only offering a limited number of rooms across the estate so that optimal service and comfort can be offered to all guests during their stay.

With that in mind, there are 26 apartments, suites and rooms ranging from 30 to 90 square metres with nine in the chateau, 14 in outbuildings and two apartments with a detached villa occupying a former forge.

When speaking with other guests I quickly realised that each room held its own characterful interiors, blending hints of the old-style architecture with lashings of modern design alongside facilities that will up the luxury factor during any stay.

Upon arrival at my room I was pleased before I had even set foot inside. Accessed by a private patio area, which held two loungers and a table, chairs and parasol with a citrus plant framing the door, this outdoor space was enclosed with hedges and gave the feeling of my own apartment.

Inside, the large space boasted a huge bed with a decorative headboard, which lit up to provide silhouettes of trees, a rather pretty design feature.

I was impressed with the work area, which held an Apple iMac, espresso machine and a tea tray and I had a chuckle at the sight of a framed picture of myself next to a full fruit bowl, but I appreciated the effort and personal touch this showed.

Wood floors and mostly pale walls were brought to life with bright colours in a red rug, sixties style wavy-patterned curtains and lampshades above the workstation.

I lovne wall surrounding the arched door against this funky style and particularly liked the upscale bathroom with a big bath and disguised TV, twin sink unit and open walk in shower with fluffy robes and slippers for added comfort.ed the old sto

Food and drink

domaine de verchant food
Top-quality ingredients make up the fantastic meals here

From little treats at breakfast and a lavish Sunday brunch to a sumptuous lunch by the pool and delectable dishes at dinnertime, I certainly made the most of the delightful food being served across the two restaurants.

The two very different settings shared the same excellent quality when it came to the food and service, whether it was an elegant evening meal or casual lunch.

Verchant Restaurant is the hotel’s signature eatery, set in the main building, and serves up glorious fresh delights with many local ingredients finding their way into the plate, including luscious wines to complement.

Executive chef Mathieu Gourreau, chef Damien Cousseau and team provided a sumptuous special menu for my evening meal there and I adored the amuse bouche of butternut squash velouté topped with a chestnut puree – two wonderfully tasty flavours, which married so well together to create heaven in a little bowl.

The starter was a slowly cooked egg from Pic Saint Loup with Pecorino Romano foam and smoked Black Forest bacon. It was a little wet overall, but I do love eggs and the hammy flavour was a great addition.

Next up was roasted red mullet with purple artichoke and padrons, black garlic and fish sauce, and I wouldn’t usually choose this fish (especially with artichokes on the plate too) but I was so glad I had this dish, the fish wasn’t what I expected it to be like – plumper than I expected, yet very delicate – and even the artichoke was devoured.

domaine de verchant food
Exquisite dishes are prepared all day across La Plage and Verchant Restaurant

The glorious cheese trolley made its way over and our expert server made some fab choices for me based on my ever-so-helpful clue of ‘I like anything but blue, and the wetter and smellier the better.’ She, however, chose some wonderful cheeses for me, all of which I very much enjoyed.

This was followed with a Jivara milk chocolate mousse and cream with Caribbean crisp and homemade peanut praline. Delightfully presented and so very tasty, this sweet and salty dessert was well balanced and a decadent end to the meal.

A chamomile tea with some homemade passion fruit and pineapple marshmallow, and I was ready to recline in my room.

The exquisite food doesn’t stop there; La Plage, accessible by the spa entrance, is a glossy, contemporary offering with chic floor to ceiling glass offering views over the outdoor pool and towards the vines.

When the sun shines, there’s no better place to be than the outdoor terrace, a place where I devoured a delightful spaghetti and scallop lunch, followed by a chocolate and praline éclair, all washed down with a white wine from the cellar.

The pièce de résistance has to be the Sunday brunch here. I walked in before the rush of diners and was impressed at how many staff members there were ready to serve and help.

It wasn’t long before my glass was being filled with Champagne and I was eyeing up the bountiful foods ready to be selected.

The very Instagrammable spread consisted of delectable portions of many treats including subs, salads and seafood including oysters and crevettes, as well as deviled eggs (I had to go back for more of those delights), a rainbow of tomatoes and mozzarella.

There was a bread and pastry table, cheese trolley, parmesan risotto, aligot, charcuterie, freshly cooked fish and meats from the open kitchen to order, juices, coffees, and a dessert table and trolley with crepes, choux praline buns, chocolate tarts and more. It was divine.


domaine de verchant spa
The spa offers a luxurious escape with sumptuous treatments only compounding this

It didn’t take me long to realise that, not only, does this place serve up some rather gorgeous food, but the spa is certainly a spot where you’ll want to spend some quality time.

A bit of time spent lounging on a day bed in the March sun was good for my soul, though I’m sure some locals having a coffee at La Plage thought I was a little mad (it was warm for me!).

The outdoor area is just so inviting with the selection of loungers and day beds surrounding the pool, you can’t resist whiling away an hour or two there. Inside you’ll spy the shop alcove, which holds an impressive selection of top-quality beauty products including the luxurious Valmont and the rather elusive but glorious Biologique Recherche offerings.

As well as a very well-equipped gym you’ll find a pool, sauna, Turkish bath, hot tub, and rather impressive changing rooms with branded hairbrushes and all the little items you’ll need to freshen up.

During my stay I was treated to a facial using the Parisian-based Biologique Recherche products, who use a clinical approach to beauty care using intentionally pure, concentrated products.

After a brief chat with my spa therapist I was treated to a 50-minute relaxing facial. Using six different products chosen for my sensitive and often dry skin, my skin was cleansed, massaged and lathered with luscious creams, serums and oils leaving me with a glowing and smiling face.

The relaxing set up in the room was inviting, especially the heated bed, it made me want to stay a little longer and snooze! While some of the creams were working their magic, I was treated to a neck, shoulder, hand and arm massage, which was a delight. I reluctantly left the warmth of the bed and headed to the relaxation room overlooking a garden area, and I was set for the day.

To do

Arc de Triumphe landmark in Montpellier, France
The Arc de Triumphe landmark in Montpellier is one of the many places you can visit on a city tour

Often overlooked for the more well-known southern France locations such as Cannes and Nice, Montpellier has a rather young and fun feel to it. Head here to discover a fascinating mix of medieval sights combined with modern elements.

I would highly recommend taking an official walking city tour with Bruno as you’ll have the opportunity to visit a Jewish ritual bath (mikveh) dating to the 13th century, see the city views from the top of Montpellier’s own Arc de Triomphe and learn of the history, while spotting more modern updates along the way, through cobbled streets.

Marche du Lez is a rather trendy area with loads of stylish restaurants, bars, shops and food vans with cool décor. I visited this village in the city one evening and tried my hand at pétanque (I need some practice!) before indulging in a dinner at the American style café, Bivouak. Sipping on a glass of wine with a starter of Camembert, honey, walnuts and thyme, followed by a burger cooked medium with herby chips, was certainly time well spent.

Back at the hotel and it is certainly advisable to partake in a wine tasting with sommelier Cyrille in the wine tasting room. He’s ever knowledgeable and showcases the rose, white and red offerings that have been produced from the 32 acres of vineyard here in the estate.

I particularly enjoyed the reds and could have chatted wines and nibbled cheeses all night, if it weren’t for a gorgeous meal being prepared.

A sneak peek of the cellars afterwards was a nice little treat too, especially as there were some rather exclusive wines tucked away.

Pool parties are popular at La Plage

Domaine de Verchant also offer pool parties at La Plage from April onwards and you can partake in a spa day with friends, but I would highly recommend indulging in at least a few days here so that you can truly take in all there is on offer.

Getting there

Hop on the Gatwick express from London Victoria and in half an hour you’ll be browsing the duty-free delights.

EasyJet offers direct flights from Gatwick and you’ll arrive in under two hours with the chateaux a mere ten-minute drive from Montpellier airport.

In a nutshell

Magically combining the comfort of a friend’s estate with exquisite foods, luxurious facilities, and a splendid location on the outskirts of such an interesting city, Domaine de Verchant is a place that you’ll reluctantly leave but already be planning your next trip back.


Rooms can be booked from €195.

Address: 1 Boulevard Philippe Lamour 34170 Castelnau le Lez
Phone: +33(0)4 67 07 26 00

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Travel Exclusive News / Istanbul / Turkey / 7 Of The Best Neighborhoods in Istanbul / By Jennifer Hattam

With its huge size and centuries of history, it would be impossible to see all of Istanbul in one trip – or perhaps even in one lifetime.

Still, its central neighborhoods are relatively compact, and each has its own distinct character and offerings. First-time visitors and those on a tight schedule will likely want to book a hotel in Sultanahmet, smack in the middle of Istanbul’s star attractions, while time spent in other districts gives insights into different aspects of local life in a city that contains multitudes.

Get to know Istanbul by each neighborhood one at a time.

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1. Sultanahmet

Best place to stay for unmissable sights 

The (seriously) historic center of Istanbul and the former seat of both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, Sultanahmet contains the majority of the city’s most-visited sights within walking distance of each other, making it a convenient base.

For historic atmosphere, it’s certainly hard to beat: the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque face off across Sultanahmet Square, with the storied Hippodrome alongside and the grandeur of Topkapı Palace just a stone’s throw away. Even seemingly nondescript parks, plazas and parking lots are built atop or alongside ancient ruins. 

With a dense concentration of hotels, accommodation options cater to every budget, including rooms in restored Ottoman mansions and simple pansiyons (hostels) with million-dollar rooftop views over the neighborhood’s domes and minarets.

The flip side is that little local life remains in Sultanahmet, and the generally tourist-focused restaurants hardly show off Turkish cuisine at its best.

People walking on Istiklal Street in Beyoğlu, Istanbul with a tram running up the center

Get a taste of Istanbul’s contemporary culture in Beyoğlu © Boris Stroujko / Shutterstock

2. Beyoğlu

Best neighborhood for contemporary art and culture

Across the Golden Horn (and a short tram ride away) from Sultanahmet, winding streets climb past the Galata Tower to İstiklal Caddesi, the pedestrian thoroughfare that cuts through the bustling Beyoğlu district.

Known in the past as Pera and Galata, this area has historically been home to many of Istanbul’s Christian and foreign communities. Today, it retains numerous – and sometimes beautifully restored – European-style apartments from the late 19th and early 20th century. 

Important cultural institutions such as the Pera Museum, the newly opened Istanbul ModernSALT BeyoğluSALT Galata (in the former headquarters of the Ottoman Bank), the Istanbul Research Institute and numerous small galleries have established themselves in some of these buildings, making the neighborhood ideal for an afternoon of art-going.

Though no longer the nexus of the city’s dining and nightlife scene it once was, Beyoğlu still has fine contemporary restaurants as well as lively meyhanes (taverns) where the raki and conviviality flow freely.

In addition to the large hotels around Taksim Square, you can find smaller hotels and rental apartments in the Cihangir, Çukurcuma, Galata and Karaköy quarters within Beyoğlu, each of which has an attractive atmosphere of its own.

3. Fener and Balat

Best areas for antiques and Instagram shoots

Traces of history blend with a stylish present in the adjacent neighborhoods of Fener and Balat, along the banks of the Golden Horn.

The landmark “iron church” and Patriarchal Church of St George attest to the area’s more cosmopolitan past, while colorful old homes and cobbled streets have become a favorite backdrop for film crews and Instagram influencers alike. 

Antique collectors, bargain hunters and nostalgia buffs descend on the neighborhood’s many antique stores, especially when they hold lively auctions, while the cafe culture here thrives.

This area doesn’t have many hotel or nightlife options, but a tram along the water – as well as a slower but more scenic ferry on the Golden Horn – make it relatively easy to get back to Sultanahmet or Beyoğlu after a day’s leisurely wandering. 

A couple take a smiling selfie as they ride on the ferry with the Istanbul skyline in the background

The ferry ride to Kadıköy is a quintessential Istanbul experience in itself © petekarici / Getty Images

4. Kadıköy

Best area for cafes and nightlife

The popularity of the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of Istanbul has exploded in recent years, creating a neighborhood that’s vibrant day and night, with third-wave coffee shops, hip boutiques, small independent art galleries, restaurants, cocktail bars, pubs and live-music venues. 

While the neighborhood has a few notable sights – a museum dedicated to a beloved Turkish rock star, a 1927 opera house, a mixed-use cultural center in a restored gasworks, a colorful street market – the main attraction is simply soaking in the scene and admiring the spectacular sunsets from the long waterfront park’s promenade.

This area has a handful of hotel options, mostly near the water, but it’s easy to hop over for the day or evening from Eminönü or Karaköy on a ferry ride – a quintessential Istanbul experience in itself. 

5. Nişantaşı and Teşvikiye

Best places to go for luxury shopping

Just north of Taksim Square, chic Nişantaşı and Teşvikiye draw a fashionable set with their leafy streets lined with designer boutiques and high-end department stores, stylish sidewalk cafes and grand apartment buildings.

This area has good restaurants and some luxurious hotels, too. The neighborhoods abut Maçka Park, one of the largest green spaces in the city center and a popular spot with picnickers, dog walkers and joggers. 

Though the area is in the central city, limited transportation links are a downside. Walking to the Osmanbey metro station or downhill to the buses and ferries of Beşiktaş are the best ways to connect to the rest of the city.

6. Kurtuluş and Bomonti

Best areas for market shopping and local life

Down-to-earth Kurtuluş and up-and-coming Bomonti are just on the opposite side of the Osmanbey metro station from Nişantaşı and Teşvikiye – but a world away in atmosphere.

Kurtuluş offers the best of traditional neighborhood life, with bustling streets and a wealth of small homestyle restaurants, bakeries, delis and other food stores. 

Anchored around the Bomontiada entertainment complex in a historic brewery building, Bomonti has a growing dining and nightlife scene, as well as some higher-end hotels. In between is Feriköy, where an open-air market is set up in a parking garage multiple times a week, with vendors selling organic produce on Saturday, antiques on Sunday and a mixed array of foodstuffs and homewares on Mondays and Thursdays.

Boats in the Bosphorus Strait near Ortaköy Mosque in Beşiktaş, Istanbul

If you want a luxury hotel on the waterfront, head for the neighborhoods of Beşiktaş and Ortaköy © Shchipkova Elena / Shutterstock

7. Beşiktaş and Ortaköy

Best places to stay for deluxe hotels with Bosphorus views 

The neighborhoods of Beşiktaş and Ortaköy along the Bosphorus are home to some of Istanbul’s most luxurious international hotels, boasting broad views across the famous strait.

Beşiktaş itself is a busy transit hub with a youthful vibe and lots of casual bars and restaurants around its lively market area. A group of restored late-19th-century Ottoman row houses in the Akaretler part of the neighborhood, near the Naval Museum, is now home to cafes and contemporary art exhibitions. 

Sitting under the first Bosphorus Bridge, Ortaköy has a beautiful baroque mosque and a popular waterfront area. Both areas have ferry docks, though Beşiktaş has more connections.

In between sits hilly, green Yıldız Park, former hunting ground to the sultan, now a popular place to have a big Turkish breakfast buffet in a century-old pavilion.

Travel Exclusive News / Istanbul / Turkey / 7 Of The Best Neighborhoods in Istanbul / By Jennifer Hattam / Jennifer Bar,Tony Bar, Sedat Karagoz / Istanbul,New York Travel,Tourism News Office / Janbolat Khanat / Almaty Travel,Tourism News Office

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