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Sunday 15 November 2015

The ultimate gourmet retreat for lovers of the finest things in life

I am frequently asked where I would choose to stay if money were of no concern. As a lover of fine wine and food, and luxury surroundings, it is hard to go past Les Sources de Caudalie

For a start this delightful Small Luxury Hotels vineyard resort is just a short drive south of the world wine capital of Bordeaux and is surrounded by some of the finest vines in Graves, those of Château Smith Haut Lafitte. 

Hotel guests are offered a free guided tour of the cellars (in French or English), and a complimentary tasting. 

But there is much more to Les Sources de Caudalie than just vines, although it does make a fine base from which to explore Sauternes, Passac-Leognan, Cadillac and other great wine regions.

Les five-star Les Sources de Caudalie was opened in 1999 has has gradually, and tastefully, been expanded while maintaining a boutique feel and that seamless, multi-lingual service that the French do with such panache. 

Today there are 61 rooms and suites, two restaurants, a wine bar and a luxury Vinothérapie® spa combining the therapeutic effects of warm mineral springs with treatments using vine and grape extracts.

Les Sources de Caudalie is located in bucolic country, extremely quiet and peaceful but just a short-drive from the city. Many of the impeccably tasteful rooms overlook the vineyards, and there are several modern art sculptures dotted around the grounds. 

Most rooms have a terrace or a balcony and all are equipped with a bathroom with tub and shower, individual climate control, cable TV, mini bar, safe and hairdryer. And it is all so achingly tasteful. 
For a start there are no fewer than three places to drink, including La Grand'Vigne,  in a charming 18th-century orangerie, where chef Nicolas Masse earned his first Michelin star in 2010 and a second this year. 

Masse is known for creative yet traditional dishes using local, seasonal produce like carpaccio of Aquitaine beef with caviar from the region and quail’s egg, perhaps followed by pigeon with white artichokes, fondant potatoes with a giblet sauce, and cardamom jus. 

The wine list, as you would expect, is outstanding. You can expect to spend 100+ on food here, and with wine the sky is the limit. 

La Table du Lavoir, originally an open-air wash house dating back to the 19th century, serves dishes reflecting the local terroir in a relaxed bistro setting.

In summer guests can enjoy meals on the covered terrace. Here think dishes like a superbly rich foie gras, followed by a delicious pan-seared hake with fresh summer vegetables. 

And there is also the Rouge wine bar, open every day during high season, with a range of products from south-west France and a range of Bordeaux wines, including several by the glass. 

Oh, and breakfast. This is copious, delicious, and served either in the Orangerie or on a delightful terrace. 

There are all the services you'd expect at a luxury resort; porters to park your car, 24-hour reception, laundry service, hairdresser and leisure options including free wifi, bicycle hire, a gym room with treadmill, exercise bike, and rowing machine, a fitness trail through the woods, tennis, heated outdoor and indoor swimming pools and a jacuzzi.  

But wait....there's more. 

One of undoubted highlights is the Caudalie Spa with 20 treatment rooms, Turkish and thermal baths, and a huge range of treatments. 

The Caudalie cosmetics brand was created at family-owned Château Smith Haut Lafitte, from the discovery of a new way of using active polyphenol components found in grape pips. Maybe try a crushed cabernet scrub or a honey and wine wrap, all in a beautiful, wood and stone building. 

For such a luxurious resort the hotel prices are actually reasonable; rooms range from €210 to €630 for a large suite. 

Packages such as one night with breakfasts, one meal at La Grand’Vigne, the guided tour of Château Smith Haut Lafitte followed by a tasting start from €376. 

Forgive me if I've gushed a little. Regular readers will know I am usually far more curmudgeonly. This time, however, there really was nothing to complain about.    

Les Sources de Caudalie, Chemin de Smith Haut Lafitte, 33650 Bordeaux-Martillac. +33 5 57 83 83 83. 

# The writer was a guest of Les Sources de Caudalie and Small Luxury Hotels 

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!….. I’ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work

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