REVIEW: Hotel Le Saint-James, Bouliac, Bordeaux
- Location 10-minute drive from the city centre and in the centre of the wine region.
- Bed comfiness 8/10
- Pool Outside pool
- WIFI Free for guests
- Best thing? Cookery school
- Worst thing? Didn't have enough tome to do everything
- The all-important plug by the bed? Yes!
Ensconced in the hills of the quaint village of Bouliac, Bordeaux, you’ll find the sensational Le Hotel Saint-James. Watching over the beautiful city of Bordeaux, the hotel is the ultimate modern meets rustic. The contemporary Relais and Châteaux Hotel was recently redesigned by the French architect Jean Novel, creating a fabulous shadow over the rolling vineyards and romantic sunsets of the famous wine region.
As my taxi drew up to the hotel I was greeted by a breathtaking walk towards the original building, which included trees laden with fruit and iron sculptures of figures poised underneath. With the beautiful chateau towering into view, I could tell this was going to be a very luxurious stay. However, far from stuffy or cold, I was greeted by huge smiles from the helpful staff, putting me at ease and giving the hotel a far more relaxed vibe.
I stayed in the iconic Harley Davidson suite, (or room number nine), with doors opening up onto a secluded patio facing the hotel’s own vineyard. The large double bed faced the view, so watching the sunset curled up in my fluffy dressing gown became my pre-dinner ritual. What’s more, true to its name, a shiny Harley Davidson motorbike was parked up next to the bed – the perfect Instagram opportunity or what? All the lush rooms come with state of the art Bang & Olufsen entertainment systems and, if you can live without a motorcycle on your bedside, everything else you need.
Our itinerary for the weekend was to be packed full of sightseeing and enjoying the hotel, so after dropping off my bags, I decided to take the opportunity to explore the hotel’s garden with a glass of their own house red, take in my surroundings and relax. From here I could take in the pink sun setting over the quaint city of Bordeaux. Despite it being late autumn, the sun was still warm, giving me that much-needed dose of vitamin D.
That evening, after a bath taking full advantage of the luxury Hermes products on offer, I made my way to enjoy a light bite at the hotel’s sister restaurant Café de l’Espérance. The traditional French Bistro is a two-minute walk from the hotel, but you are guided by the bells of the local church and the fantastic sunset. I tucked into the catch of the day and washed it down with a glass of port. The authentic French menu was traditional and the bistro had a lovely, family feel.
A taste of old and new
The next day I decided to make my way down the hill to the city of Bordeaux and take in the sights. Bordeaux is made up of cobbled paths, magnificent brick buildings and medieval cathedrals. Plus, the meandering River Garonne frames the city with its shimmering ripples. In the midday sun, I took myself to the Chartrons district; full of antique shops, wine bars and hipsters. Just a 10-minute walk from the centre of Bordeaux, it really gives you a feel of modern life entwined in classic French design – a definite must if you visit. I also managed to make my way to the city’s contemporary art museum, located in the Entrepôt Lainé. CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux is a former warehouse for colonial goods such as sugar, coffee, cocoa, cotton, spices and oils. Here you’ll find a juxta-position of avant-garde art dotted amongst the medieval architecture.
After my visit to the city, I put on my best garbs and made my way to the hotel’s main restaurant, where I would feast on exquisite delicacies, created by the hotel’s resident Michelin-starred chef, Nicholas Magie. The seven-course extravaganza was paired with fabulous wines from around Europe, and each dish wonderfully introduced by the chef and Richard Bernard, the hotel’s sommelier and restaurant manager. I devoured a fabulous menu of steak tartare and seabass, while overlooking the illuminated vineyard at night. A truly unforgettable experience.
A sweet goodbye
My final day was also my favourite as I was introduced to the hotel’s in-house cookery school, Coté Cours. The relaxed, yet informative class was a fantastic experience and really put my cooking skills to the test. Despite being the only English student, I was soon laughing and speaking in broken French with my classmates.
Once the starter and main had been created, myself and the other classmates sat down to enjoy lunch at the kitchen table, where we ate our creations with a glass (or two!) of local wine. If you do decide to book a stay at the hotel you must try the class – it was a brilliantly unique addition to our trip! Classes start from 45 Euro with speciality classes for children. With its panoramic views, beautiful gardens, striking architecture, outstanding menu and charming staff, Le Hotel Saint-James captures all that is wonderful about the region. The wine is just a bonus.
View more photos from Flora’s stay at Hotel Le Saint-James, Bouliac, Bordeaux in our gallery: