︳Les Sources de Caudalie: A Luxury Hotel in Bordeaux’s Wine Region Celebrates the ‘Art de Vivre’ with Pastoral Soulfulness
︳Set amongst the prestigious vineyards of Château Smith Haut Lafitte and Grand Cru Classé de Graves, two heavyweights of the wine world, Les Sources de Caudalie is an independent five-star hotel located on the outskirts of Bordeaux that swaps grandeur and opulence for pastoral soulfulness. Established in 1999 by Alice and Jérôme Tourbier in celebration of the Aquitaine terroir, the hotel embraces the inherent beauty of the Bordeaux wine region, combining the closeness to nature of a rural estate with the warmth of a family home and the modern comforts of a luxury hotel.
From its vernacular-inspired architecture, farm-to-table philosophy and trademarked vinotherapy, a therapeutic combination of hot spring water and vine and grape extracts, through to its eco-conscious ethos, every aspect of the hotel is deeply rooted in the region’s land and culture. Offering guests the opportunity to explore the 600-year-old vineyards and adjacent forest and peaceful lake, dine at Chef Nicolas Masse’s two-Michelin star restaurant, and enjoy some of Bordeaux’s finest wines in one of the hotel’s cosy bars, Les Sources de Caudalie excels in nurturing the concept of ‘Art de Vivre’ in the French countryside.
︳Although the hotel was built a couple of decades ago, it nevertheless appears as if it always existed thanks to architect Yves Collet who drew inspiration as much from Aquitaine’s vernacular style as the property’s natural surroundings. Designed as a hamlet of smaller and larger houses, the hotel’s 40 rooms and 21 suites are spread across six buildings, each with its own identity, from La Bastide des Grands Crus which alludes to the region’s wine heritage, to Le Village des Pêcheurs which echoes the famous huts built on stilts, to L’Île aux Oiseaux which alludes to the Arcachon Bay natural reserve.
Constructed according to local building customs and materials, the buildings incorporate elements such as aged beams, tiles and stones, largely repurposed from derelict buildings in the vicinity. For example, the wooden pavilions housing the indoor pool and La Table du Lavoir bistro were erected using 18th century wood that was recovered from the wine cellars of neighbouring châteaux. The result is an architectural complex that perfectly harmonises with its placid lakeside setting.
︳The vernacular sensibility of the hotel’s architecture continues in the interiors where it is filtered through a lens of modern elegance. Working in collaboration with hotelier Alice Tourbier, interior designer Delphine Sauvaget has created contemporary spaces imbued with traditional charm by combining natural materials and handcrafted details with clean lines and an eclectic collection of antiques, contemporary art and design pieces. Bespoke pieces and details are also used to great effect, examples being the majestic rug created by Lia Rochas and crafted by Ateliers Pinton alongside the custom-made Hiromi and Condition Origin lights in the reception area, and the bespoke parquet flooring inspired by Villa Necchi in Milan, intricately combining three different types of wood into a decorative geometric pattern in the cherry wood panelled bar next to the reception.
Individually decorated, each with its own name inspired by the history and culture of Aquitaine, Les Sources de Caudalie’s rooms and suites are a treasure trove of thoughtful details and charming décor. From deep blue shades, to earthy and mineral tones, to whitewashed interiors, a variety of colour schemes is matched by an eclectic collection of antique furniture and a handpicked selection of paintings. Ash headboards, claw-foot bathtubs and custom-designed light fittings speak of discreet luxury and subtle refinement while woven, weft-knitted and pile fabrics add warmth and softness.
︳Inspired by 18th-century glasshouses, the two-Michelin star restaurant La Grand’Vigne is undoubtedly reason enough to visit the hotel. Acclaimed Chef Nicolas Masse takes guests on a gastronomic journey through the Aquitaine region by artfully combining local produce sourced from the hotel’s own vegetable garden and trusted fishermen, livestock breeders and market gardeners, with regional wines.
Less formal, but as flavourful, La Table du Lavoir serves bistro-style dishes in a timber-built cottage built from repurposed wooden beams recovered from 18th century wineries in the Médoc wine growing region. Featuring antique cutlery and vintage tablecloths, a welcoming period fireplace crackling in the winter and a dining terrace in the summer, this is a place steeped in both culinary and cultural traditions. Rounding up the dining options, Rouge, the property’s third eatery doubles as a wine bar serving tapas-style dishes, charcuterie and foie gras. Centred on a sculptural, timber-clad bar counter, the all-day venue effortlessly walks the line between contemporary sophistication and period charm.
︳Housed in a light-filled, timber-built structure reminiscent of traditional tobacco-drying barns, the expansive Vinotherapie Spa features 20 treatment rooms, a hammam, and a natural bath filled with thermal water drawn from 540 feet below the ground, plus a grand indoor pool at the bottom of which lies a monumental photographic installation by artist Mathilde de l’Ecotais. Engineered to be resistant not only to water, chlorine and salt, but also to the ultra-violet rays of the sun, the image depicts grape seeds in all their microscopic beauty, made all the more ethereal by the movement of water and the shifting sunlight. As is the case with the rest of Les Sources de Caudalie, even the simple act of going for a swim has been conceived and designed with providing an imaginative opportunity to connect with nature.
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