Eat, drink and sleep: Bordeaux (part two)


Ch. Giscours. Photograph: Jason Lowe

Ch. Giscours. Photograph: Jason Lowe

In the second part of our guide to Bordeaux, Philip Moulin offers guidance on where to stay, listing the best spots around the region, whether you seek pure luxury or more minimal accommodation.

Bordeaux is not short of places to stay, from charming chambres d’hôtes surrounded by vineyards to world-class luxury hotels, you will be spoilt for choice. Give some thought before you book as to how quiet you like your holidays to be. Although the city of Bordeaux is vibrant and bustling, the vineyards are very quiet indeed, and you might find yourself desperate for even the sound of a distant car engine, such is the deep silence that falls here at night. Most visitors to the region tend to base themselves in the centre of Bordeaux and drive out to the vineyards for the day.

If you have the time, then it’s great to be able to spend a night or two in or near St Emilion, although it’s only a 50-minute drive out from Bordeaux’s city centre.

In the Médoc

Le Pavillon de Margaux: particularly in the summer, it’s wonderful to have breakfast in the conservatory, surrounded by the vineyards of Margaux. Comfortable as opposed to posh.

Ch. Giscours runs a chambres d’hôtes. This is a beautiful, if rustic, place to stay, particularly if you are after total peace and quiet. Once the vineyard workers go home, you are totally on your own. In the morning, the local boulangerie delivers fresh bread and croissants to your door.

In Bordeaux

Hôtel Mercure, Ch. Chartrons: we suggest this, not for its sophisticated glamour, but rather its proximity to the northern edge of the city. The Berry Bros. team often stay here when tasting – the rooms are perfectly functional, it does a good breakfast and it’s very easy to get up to the Médoc. Ask at reception for directions past the old U Boat pens and out towards Margaux, to avoid the rush hour traffic. It will save you hours – honestly!

Hôtel de Normandie: a traditional hotel near the Place des Quinconces, in the centre of the city. Has long been a wine trade favourite, owing to its proximity to some of the best brasseries in town. There are a number of these old school hotels in the same area (we sometimes use the Majestic as well), and what they lack in modern slickness is made up for in character and location.

Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux: if money is no object then this remains the best address in the centre of Bordeaux. Located opposite the magnificent opera house, Gordon Ramsay recently took over the running of their flagship restaurant, Pressoir d’Argent.

In the Graves

Ch. le Pape: recently renovated to an exceptionally high standard, this would make a fabulous escape for a few peaceful days. Owned by neighbouring Ch. Haut-Bailly and run to the same exacting standards.

Read Philip’s introduction to Bordeaux and keep an eye out for his next instalment on – of course – where and what to eat and drink.