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Welcome to my blog. I’m a Traveller of the Continents and within these pages I am trying to capture the things I see and experience.

Chateau Grand Barrail - Bordeaux

Chateau Grand Barrail - Bordeaux

As part of a Bordeaux wine tour through the right bank around St. Emilion, I stayed in the Grand Barrail, a luxurious chateau and SLH boutique hotel amidst the vineyards. Compared to the fantastic Les Sources des Caudalie this place took the more elegant, old-world and aristocratic route when it came to designing the interiors and appreciating the heritage of one of the most famous wine areas in the world.

 

Atmosphere

Arriving at the Grand Barrail after a drive through Bordeaux’s vineyards makes you feel like aristocracy. Coming home after a morning of examining the growing grapes… let’s hope lunch is ready!

The atmosphere is grand and elegant. Neatly kept gardens, nice patio, outdoor pool, surrounding vineyards, oh and a French chateau in the middle.

Deckchairs are scattered around the garden

Room

I had a nicely appointed room in the first floor of the main building. It had an elegant, classical style and view over the vineyards. This might’ve been an upgrade due to my SLH membership, but I am not entirely sure. I didn’t ask, because I was quite happy with the room. See for yourself:

Pool and Spa

You can reach the outdoor pool by going through the spa building or the courtyard. While it was a nice pool, the water was too cold for me to enjoy. It was in early autumn, though. A heated pool would’ve been fantastic.

The spa itself had two indoor jacuzzis, a sauna and a steam room, but I found them and the whole room not well maintained. The view of a new vineyard with sun beds in front did make up for it a little bit. Then again: the hard stones didn’t make it comfortable to walk outside.

Also: the design in the spa waiting area did not fit to the rest of the old world style. As if they didn’t care. Compare this to the Caudalie - it’s worlds apart.

Dining

I had dinner and breakfast at the chateau. Since being in France I had high expectations of the high-priced restaurant. Unfortunately, my three course dinner left things to be desired. It started out great, though, with an interesting French beer on the porch.

Then it got bad: a seabass filet that was only sour, nothing else. The roasted duckling filet was better, but not as tender as I would’ve liked.

Breakfast on the other hand was good, with enough choice and tasty eggs cooked to order. No Champagne, though.

Summary

Hotel Chateau Grand Barrail
Brand SLH
Good
  • Wonderful location in the vineyards near St. Emilion
  • Elegant gardens with a quiet terrace
  • Large rooms with renovated bathrooms in a fitting style
  • Nice pool
Bad
  • Dinner was not impressive for the price
  • Pool water was too cold
  • Indoor jacuzzi and spa in general was not maintained properly
  • Inconsistent design language
CT Points 93

I admit that the Chateau Grand Barrail was not so much my style. I have to compare it to the Les Sources des Caudalie, since it’s also in Bordeaux for a similar price and it takes a completely different approach to the idea of a luxury boutique hotel in the countryside.

The decision comes down to this: aristocratic, elegant, classical style versus natural, reclaimed materials and winegrower heritage. Apart from that, the quality of the food and of the spa were much higher in the Caudalie. The Grand Barrail on the other hand is closer to St. Emilion, which is such a wonderful old town, and of course all these world-famous vineries like Petrus, Cheval Blanc, Angélus, and many more, are in the direct neighbourhood.

Both are nice hotels, yet quite different. Choose yourself!

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