On a recent trip to the Basque region of France, we spent one wonderful night at Ostapé, a country inn owned by Catherine Pere-Verge and operated by Alain Ducasse, who grew up in Basque country.
We arrived at Ostapé late afternoon in the middle of a rain shower. The rolling hills surrounding the estate of 45 hectares were shining in the rain and suddenly the clouds parted and the sun broke through resulting in a glorious rainbow stretching across the hills.
Ostapé is located on a hillside in Bidarray, just a few kilometers from Biarritz. Cars entering Ostapé can only travel as far as the stables at the estate so porters met us there, took our luggage, and whisked us to our room in golf carts. The carts were available for us and other guests throughout our stay. The inn is made up of 5 villas, among which Chahatoa, a magnificent 18th-century house, is built in the traditional style of the Navarre region with white-washed facades, and crimson shutters.
Interior designer Tonia Peyrot, who also decorated La Bastide de Moustiers, another deluxe Alain Ducasse residence in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie in the Alpes de Haute Provence, has given each of the 22 rooms its own expression, conveying the richness and rarity of the surrounding landscapes. Our own room had a stunning view of the lush hills dotted with white sheep. Everything was done in muted tones, which enhanced the feeling of relaxation and calm. A large living room, bedroom area and well-fitted bath made us feel as though we were in a lovely apartment rather than a hotel room.
That evening we dined at their rustic, but elegant restaurant. Head Chef Alain Souliac blends ocean and mountain flavors into an authentic cuisine, using only regional produce and ingredients. The produce comes from the Biarritz farmers market, and is also grown directly on one of the estate’s two vegetable gardens. The restaurant boasts a lively list of regional vintages from both French and Spanish vineyards. Our dinner was, in a word, superb and the service impeccable. We were invited to tour the kitchen after our meal, and found it spotless.
The Navarre Region has endowed the countryside with winding pathways, which lend themselves perfectly to long, peaceful walks, or to discover other outdoor activities. At Ostapé, guests may enjoy culinary classes, swim in the pool , or go for thoroughbred horseback rides from the stables on the estate. The River Nive, located at the foot of the estate, leads to the Atlantic.
Ostapé is a deluxe residence, a hidden treasure set in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Here, the hospitality and warmth offered to everyone, makes guests feel right at home. Visiting Ostapé can’t be a once-in-a-lifetime affair. We love it…we will return.
Ostapé, 4-Star Hotel****
Domaine de Chahatoa
64 780 Bidarray