“Romance and contemporary cool combine at this elegant townhouse hotel in the heart of the world’s wine capital”
But stuck in the past this place is not. The 12 rooms and suites neatly blend original parquet and mosaic floors with contemporary chic such as designer chairs, vast beds and chrome lighting; many have decadent in-room bathtubs or Jacuzzis, too. There’s also a pair of 2-bedroom apartments on the top floor, complete with open-plan living areas and fully equipped kitchens. Downstairs is a handy wine bar where you can whet your palate in preparation for exploring local vineyards or snack on plates of cheese and charcuterie, and there are restaurants and shops all around. Culture vultures, wine buffs and couples wanting a romantic getaway will be equally happy at this haven in the heart of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
- You’re bang in the centre of historic Bordeaux, within walking distance of the main sights, and the city’s tram system makes getting around quick and easy
- The hotel building really is a stunner, with a tree-shaded terrace, beautiful wrought iron and graceful stonework
- Bright and spacious rooms, with pampering bathrooms and lovely touches such as hand-made macaroons, fruit baskets and hot-water bottles
- Blow-out breakfasts (not included in rates) with freshly made pastries and juice, plus the option of champagne brunch at weekends
- Helpful staff who can point you in the direction of great places to eat and arrange wine-estate visits
- Some plasterboard and plastic fittings look distinctly ‘budget’ and let down the otherwise classy look
- No on-site parking, but the hotel has a concession at a nearby car park and you can stop outside to unload luggage
- Sound insulation is poor between some rooms. If you’re a light sleeper, avoid the lower floors
- The lift is small and slow (it would be impossible to fit anything more modern in this old building); pop your luggage inside, head up the stairs and you’ll probably beat it to the top
- Many ensuites are open-plan (enquire when booking if you’d prefer an enclosed bathroom)
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- 24 rooms + 2 apartments
- Breakfast and light meals (restaurants nearby)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
The rooms are divided between 2 elegant buildings either side of the courtyard. All are generous, with plenty of calming white space to soothe you after a hectic day. Design aficionados will spot Eichholtz cinematographic lights, Philippe Starck chairs and Flamant soft furnishings. Beds are huge, with pristine Egyptian cotton; if it’s chilly in winter, staff will pop in hot-water bottles (designer, of course) to warm them up. There’s free WiFi and gadgetry aplenty, from flat-screen TVs and iPod docks to Nespresso coffee makers and minibars, plus Hermès toiletries for classy pampering.
Rooms are joyfully different - enquire when booking to ensure you get one that suits. If an in-room Jacuzzi tub with coloured lighting and an underwater music system turns you on, bag one of the 2 Superior Rooms that have them. If you’re happy with a rain shower, then a standard Double Room will suffice. Some bathrooms are open-plan, others enclosed, so let the hotel know if you have a preference. And if you’re a light sleeper, aim high, away from the bustle of the ground floor.
We stayed in Junior Suite Larrivet Haut-Brion on the second floor, which has a claw-foot bath from where you can gaze out over Bordeaux’s historic boulevards. We loved the playful Eichholtz horns on the bedhead and, behind it, the cleverly positioned his and hers wash basins. Another Junior Suite, Haut Brion, has a huge circular Jacuzzi in the middle of the room, swathed in curtains that you can pull across for privacy; the third, Pontet Canet, has a private terrace with a heated outdoor Jacuzzi.
On the third floor are 2 swanky apartments with dreamy views. Both have 2 double/twin bedrooms, a bathroom with a shower and tub, an open-plan living area with brown leather sofas, and a kitchen with an oven, microwave, dishwasher and fridge-freezer.
Since our visit, the Double Room with Jacuzzi and Terrace, Suite Chateau Angelus and Suite Margaux have been added, all promising high style and indoor or outdoor Jacuzzis.
- Air conditioning
- CD player
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Internet access
- Ipod dock
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
The hotel’s breakfast (not included in the room rate) is among the best we’ve ever had - and we’ve eaten a few! The orange juice was freshly squeezed (a definite brownie point in our book) and the fruit salad, bread and croissants were freshly made. You can also enjoy muesli, yoghurts, hams and cheeses, even pastel-coloured macaroons and canelés (Bordeaux’s signature madeleines). If you want them, there’s cooked ham and scrambled eggs to set you up for the day, and at weekends you can turn your breakfast into a full-blown brunch with champagne and smoked salmon at any time before 2.30pm. Eat in your room, in the breakfast room or in the conservatory, or head outside to the leafy terrace.
The hotel’s wine bar has a list of local labels carefully chosen by the sommelier, plus a range of quiches, cheese and charcuterie plates, ice creams and cakes. From July 2013, it will also serve full meals in the evening - perhaps steak, duck magret or salmon and salad.
Otherwise, Bordeaux has a multitude of restaurants to choose from. For a lively vibe and a spot of people-watching, join the locals at Le Noailles, a nearby brasserie decorated in Parisian belle-époque style. The menu includes hearty southwestern classics, which means plenty of duck - we enjoyed salade aux gésiers (duck gizzards salad) for a starter, followed by a heavenly coquilles St Jacques aux cèpes (scallops with boletus mushrooms) in a cream sauce. For sumptuous rococo décor, history and Michelin-starred food (including a good-value fixed-price lunch), head to Le Chapon Fin, the oldest restaurant in Bordeaux. Another good bet is Le Gravellier, a high-end eatery 10 minutes’ walk way.
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Light meals
- Restaurants nearby
- Enjoy a tipple at the wine châteaux of the Medoc, including Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Latour and Château Lafite Rothschild (all by appointment). If you wish, the hotel can arrange for you to join a tour of the vineyards by car or bike. You can also sample local wines at the hotel's bar, which hosts tastings most evenings
- Tour Bordeaux’s magnificent 18th-century centre by foot or tram, or ask staff to arrange a personal guide
- Stroll along the River Garonne, taking in the fascinating Musée des Douanes, which tells the story of Bordeaux’s port and seafaring past, then enjoy the view from the impressive Pont de Pierre, built at Napoleon’s command
- Wander through Bordeaux’s Jardin Public, the city’s botanical gardens. Grab coffee and croissants in its lovely orangerie, then seek out the Palais Gallien, the remains of Aquitaine’s Roman capital
- Indulge in some retail therapy on rue Ste-Catherine, Bordeaux’s main shopping street
- Catch some opera or ballet at the opulent Grand Théâtre on Place de la Comédie, and get a glimpse of the wonderful trompe l’oeil paintings inside
- Jump on a train to St Emilion, east of Bordeaux, and spend a day enjoying the fortified medieval town’s famous wines and steep, historic lanes
- Or take the train to Arcachon on the Côte d’Argent to see its silvery sands and savour its famous oysters
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Wine tasting
Bordeaux is more classically associated with food and wine, but it’s a great city to visit with children. There are plenty of museums and galleries, plus cycle trails, zoos and parks.
Although many of its rooms are geared up for romance, with free-standing bathtubs or in-room Jacuzzis, the hotel is fairly family-friendly. The Junior Suites can take an extra bed or baby cot (both for an additional charge), but overall we’d recommend the apartments for families, as they have 2 double/twin bedrooms, living and dining areas, kitchens and enclosed bathrooms.
Family friendly accommodation:
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available