Bordeaux – a fantasy land for foodies and wine buffs, a city tucked away in the French countryside whose name is respected yet whose historical streets have hardly been tread by even the most well-travelled among us.
The city’s boundaries are dotted with vineyards and quaint villages, and the region possesses a quintessential chicness that one would expect to find here in the south of France. Boasting a sophisticated lifestyle and a classy, low-key population (leave the palazzo pants and the Pucci in Cannes!), it’s no surprise that Bordeaux was recently voted by the French themselves as the most desirable place to live in the country. Oh la la!
Located up on the hill in pretty Bouliac, a little village known as the balcony of Bordeaux for its glorious views over the city, Hôtel Le Saint-James encompasses everything about France that might attract you in the first place – gastronomy, wine, art and architectural charm to name a few things. Check-in is akin to entering an exclusive art exhibition – you’ll be welcomed by beautiful French accents, handed a sleek information booklet, and invited to wander the property’s corridors, enjoying hundreds of pieces of art updated every few months in what is truly an exceptional hôtel d’architecte, designed by the well-known Jean Nouvel.
On your unofficial exhibition tour, allow the delightful aromas wafting from Le Saint-James’ Michelin starred kitchen to lure you down the colourful tiled hall past the stylish and sophisticated bar to one of the hotel’s unmissable attractions; an artistic and architectural feat in itself, Restaurant Le Saint-James – surrounded by greenery and designed in such a way that every table enjoys panoramic views over Bordeaux – serves up exquisite dishes, and tasting menus, proudly showcasing local ingredients which are best washed down with a bottle of the hotel’s very own Vin du Jardin, produced in-house. A food-lover’s dream, Le Saint-James also has its own traditional French bistro, just a short and worthwhile walk into the village in the name of scrumptious frites and a heavenly dessert buffet.
Once you retire for the evening to sleep off your 18-course gourmet dinner (just kidding, but definitely avoid tight waistbands), you’re in for a blissful night of Hermès bubble baths and plush sheets on a king-sized bed, raised to take advantage of magnificent views over the property’s vineyards and impressive pool. The hotel’s 18 spacious rooms and suites, located in pavilions inspired by old tobacco drying barns, feature open dressing rooms with plenty of hanging and unpacking space, and bathrooms complete with Hermès products, make-up mirrors, and ample sink space for the customary washbag-contents spill.
Choose a second floor room to fall asleep against a backdrop of twinkling Bordeaux lights, and awake to bright rays of sunshine flooding in through the expansive windows. You’ll have no problem leaping out of bed for the complimentary breakfast featuring warm pains au chocolat and sweet, spongy and delectable canelés!
For all Citizen Femme gourmets, gourmands, and dinner party goddesses in the making, Le Saint-James is an unmissable gastronomic destination in itself. A two-day Culinary Culture stay at this contemporary Relais & Chateaux hotel includes not only a gourmet meal for two with wine at the Jotel’s Michelin starred restaurant, but also the unique opportunity to discover gourmet French food and the philosophy of cooking with Executive Chef Nicolas Magie and local suppliers of the restaurant’s divine, fresh ingredients.
On Sundays, foodie Femmes can also meander through the Marché de Producteurs hosted out on the hotel’s shaded terrace, sampling and purchasing fresh, seasonal produce, and for those who like to impress, tailored cooking classes are also available at the hotel’s Côté Cours on-site cookery school. That’ll be all the training you need for a successful dinner party or date night chez toi!
When To Visit
Enjoy wonderful south of France sunshine vibes in the summertime, or hold out until October when wine-loving guests are able to take part in Le Saint-James’ annual grape harvest. Business tripping in Paris? Wrap up the Friday meetings and whiz down on the new high-speed train from the capital. No matter the time of year, gourmet indulgence and luxury getaways are always highlights, and Le Saint-James, just 15 minutes from Bordeaux airport, is the ultimate destination for a quick and classy escape.