After booking our vineyard tour of Chateau d’Yquem in Sauternes, rather than argue over who was going to have to drive home later that day (thus having no more to drink – a waste of a trip to the area if you ask me!) we decided an overnight stay was in order
As usual my first priority was to find a restaurant for dinner and after a little search online settled on La Grand’Vigne (more on that in my next post…) which conveniently happened to be located at Les Sources de Caudalie, so where better to book a room for the night?
Situauted about 20 minutes from the centre of Bordeaux, and a 30 minute drive from Sauternes where we had lunch, the hotel is really easy to get to and is the perfect base if you want to explore the Graves wine region
Rooms are guaranteed from 3:30pm but as we’d arrived a couple of hours early we parked the car and went off to explore….
The hotel was designed by architect Yves Collet using recycled local materials to sympathetically blend in with its surroundings
The main hotel building and its annexes overlook a small lake, which creates a calm oasis at it’s centre. There are 40 rooms plus several suites at the hotel, so I was surprised by how quiet everywhere was – you really did feel as if you had the place pretty much to yourselves – although I imagine that in the summer it has a whole different feel
The conservatory you see below is restaurant La Grand’Vigne where we had booked a table for dinner. There are 2 other restaurants at the hotel – La Table du Lavoir bistro which is more casual than 2 Michelin star La Grand’Vigne, and Rouge which is a tapas bar – giving you a good choice of food should you not want to leave the hotel
Desserted in autumn, there are seating areas under the shade of the trees that would be lovely to sit at on a warm day with a cold bottle of wine…
Dotted all around the grounds are beautiful iron sculptures for you to discover, depicting acrobatic figures suspended from hoops. They provide a lovely contrast to their more rustic surroundings
There is also a sort of ‘farm’ area, with horses, goats, chickens and vegetable patches that you are free walk around – just don’t touch!
As we visited in November the stunning outdoor pool wasn’t surrounded by its usual sun loungers, but there is an indoor pool that you can use instead, accessed with you room key
The hotel is conveniently located right opposite Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte just a hop, skip & a jump through the vines, so it would be rude not to pop over…
You can have a tour of the vineyard but these were fully booked when we visited so instead we popped to the on site boutique where you can enjoy a tasting
We shared the mid-priced tasting flight which gave us two reds and two whites. Whilst a more in-depth guided tasting would have been preferable, we had a quick explanation of the wines from the lovely lady in the boutique but as she was about to start a tour we were left to enjoy the wines at our leisure in the conservatory
There’s plenty of reading material for you to flick through, but you’ll need to have polished up on your French!
As with Les Sources de Caudalie, the Chateau Smith Haute Lafitte estate is also immaculately kept and dotted with sculptures which you can’t help but stop and admire
After our tasting we still had a little time to kill so we popped back over the lane, grabbed the bikes that are made available to all guests free of charge and pedalled off through the vines – we definitely earned our dinner as the ride back was all up hill!
When it came to check in time, we were shown to our room which was in one of the seperate annexes – a beautiful timber framed barn. There were 6 rooms in this barn but we didn’t see another soul in there during our stay! Our room was up in the eaves, on the first floor
Little touches like a bunch of sweet fresh grapes waiting in our room were lovely
And the view overlooking the lake wasn’t bad either…
We had booked a ‘Comfort’ room which was their smallest, but were pleasantly surprised by just how big it was. The room itself was quite traditionally furnished in a French country style and felt welcoming and homely. The bed was huge with crisp white sheets, fluffy pillows and the perfect firm mattress – the kind that makes it VERY hard to get up in the morning! The padded pillow headboard was a great touch- so comfy to lean against whilst reading or having a cup of tea
There was plenty of wardrobe space for you to hang clothes and stash suitcases, leaving the main part of the room free of clutter. The TV, mini bar & coffee machine were discreetly hidden in what looked like another wardrobe at the foot of the bed so they were only on display when required
The bathroom was also a nice surprise – we had a large bath with a window above to take in more of that view…
His & hers sinks and mirrors (with great lighting might I add!) and enough towels for an entire family
We also had a seperate shower with a huge rainfall head that resulted in one of the longest showers of my life!
As you would expect, and much to my delight, the bathroom was laden with Caudalie goodies. Alongside plenty of shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and body lotions, you are also given skincare samples such as serums and moisuturisers to give you more of a taste of the brand
As Les Sources de Caudalie is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the bed time reading is very fitting and gets you thinking about planning your next trip!
Our only spare time during our visit was a few hours on the Saturday afternoon and a few hours on Sunday morning, so we had planned to have a massage in the world renowned spa… Unfortunately at weekends the spa requires you to have a minimum of three treatments each or a half-day package which is a) pretty expensive and b) means you need a spare 4-5 hours which we didn’t have
Instead we had a good long lie-in – we had pre-booked breakfast and were given the choice of either visiting La Grande’Vigne for their buffet breakfast or having it delivered to our room – we obviously went with the latter!
Enjoyed cozied up in bed with the windows flung open – not bad at all!
We booked our stay based on the hotel having the restaurant we wanted to visit within it, so I was really pleased that it ticked so many boxes in terms of service and rooms etc – the staff couldn’t have been more helpful throughout our whole stay and although it wasn’t the contemporary style that we’d usually choose, our room exceeded our expectations
I wouldn’t hesitate to re-visit Les Sources de Caudalie. My only advice would be to book any tours/treatments/activities etc well in advance of arrival to ensure you get to experience as much of what you want as possible- they offer all sorts such as cooking classes, spa retreats, walking tours and much more. I did feel a little disappointed at not having the chance to experience the spa but I guess that just means we’ll have to visit again (6 night vitality getaway I’m looking at you!)
You can visit their website here.