Les Sources des Caudalie - Bordeaux
Discover something wonderful in Bordeaux. Imagine a place where nothing looks artificial, but blends perfectly into the natural environment. Where the service is first class, but nothing is bling-bling. Where you can have your dinner be prepared by a two-Michelin-star chef, without being pretentious. And all this amidst the best wine region on the planet.
Sound like heaven? It might as well be - to me at least. Will you feel the same?
This is NOT an advertorial - I genuinely loved this place (and never get paid for my trips, btw).
The way from the parking area towards the reception already set the tone for my stay: a calm natural atmosphere.
The mixture of wood and stone houses in a used look combined with nicely kept gardens surrounded by vineyards sets the stage for a relaxed stay.
Instead of a mere number, each room had a name. Mine was: Chasseur D’étoiles - chaser of the stars. Quite fitting for me if they meant Michelin and hotel stars ;) It was located in one of the many separate buildings on the first floor.
Style of the rooms vary, and mine was that of an 18th century explorer with painted wooden closets and vintage lamps. I would give it a 7 out of 10 on my personal taste scale. Some things I really loved, like the old table or the little balcony made of old wood.
The bed was great, too, and I slept like a baby. Also thanks to the quietness here.
While I really liked the style of the bathroom and the fact that it actually had a window to the outside world (seems to be a very rare thing), it had one problem: bad smell from the drainage. I seem to have bad luck regarding bad odours from the bathroom (see review of the Crystal St. Moritz for example), and the Caudalie was no exception, unfortunately. Keeping the door closed helped. But leaving the window open, didn’t (especially since flies would find their way in - we are in the middle of nature here, after all).
The spa is an important part of this hotel, since the name “Les Sources des Caudalie” actually means: the source of the French brand of beauty products aka Caudalie is here. The founders of the brand are also the owners of the hotel and even have their home near here.
Considering this, my expectations for the spa and massage was quite high. I arrived at the busy entrance hall of the separated spa building via the side entrance for hotel guests. The nice receptionists offered me a seat on the couch and gave me a tea and a little bag of a choice of Caudalie products.
The basis of Caudalie is - o wonder - grapes, and so they call it Vinothérapie. My masseuse picked me up and in a very friendly manner took me upstairs to the massage room to apply the grape-based oil and her technique on my back. I loved it and she really knew what she was doing and was very professional. My initially high expectations were fulfilled.
In summer you could relax on this outdoor pool next to the spa building.
The indoor pool was not in the spa building, but in a separate one next to mine. If I ever design my own pool room, it will look a lot like this one. Wood, stone, water, high ceiling, large windows looking out to green: I always knew that you don’t need any plastics or other ugly materials and colours to create an atmospheric pool area. Nature provides all the colours and materials you need.
A small - but well equipped - gym room adjacent to the pool building was big enough for me. But it’s definitely not the focus of the hotel.
Breakfast was served in the fine dining restaurant and had all the niceties I needed - eggs to order, bread and cold cuts, good coffee. One might expect a little bit more choice from a five star breakfast buffet, e.g. Champagne. But I was satisfied nonetheless.
For lunch I took to one of the two less formal restaurants - the Rouge. The offer little and qualitatively good dishes with locally sourced products.
… and of course I had dinner at the two Michelin starred La Grand’Vigne, which I reviewed in a separate article - summary: pretty fantastic.
The Sources des Caudalie is all about nature and wine. You can go hiking or biking through vineyards and forests, they even have their own running course that you can access via a code you get from the reception. And of course you can visit the neighbouring winery Smith Haut La Fitte. I didn’t do a tasting (which they do regularly for hotel guests), but I checked it out anyway - a very nice estate just to look at.
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I whole-heartedly recommend the Les Sources des Caudalie - it is nearly a 100/100. Of course, the scores are always somewhat subjective. Even though I am trying to bring in as much objective criteria as possible, the reason why this place got so many points is mainly because this is how I define luxury and how I would build my own luxury hotel: perfectly fitting to the cultural history of the location, usage of natural materials and colours all over, wonderful warm service with fantastic French food and wine and a great spa. Others might want a more refined, bling-bling kind of luxury - which is fine (I can handle that too), but you won’t get that here.
If you are first to Bordeaux, this is also a good starting point to discover the region and the city (20 mins by car).