“Romance and contemporary cool combine at this elegant townhouse hotel in the heart of the world’s wine capital”
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 Deluxe Double with Jacuzzi, Suite Chateau Angelus and Suite Margaux have been added, all promising high style and indoor or outdoor Jacuzzis.
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.
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.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available