Bordeaux, France is famous for it's beautiful architecture, fascinating galleries and, of course, it's signature wine, all of which can be found in the modern yet classic hotel, Le Saint James. Accompanied by my mum, we decided to stay at Le Saint James and see what is has to offer – and left more than a little impressed by the hotel created by the renowned French architect, Jean Nouvel.
Located a mere 15 minutes' drive from the city centre in the sleepy town of Bouliac, even the front entrance of Le Saint James had us reaching for our cameras. Dripping with apple and orange trees with impressive sculptures studded around the garden, the essence of the hotel was already unique before we even stepped through the front door.
Upon our arrival, the staff were nothing but welcoming, thoughtful and efficient, and as we waited for our hotel room to be ready we took a stroll around the impressive grounds, complete with its own small vineyard, as well as an outdoor swimming pool and sauna. The hotel is in such a location that it gives you a truly magnificent view of the French countryside and out onto the bright lights of the city, and it truly makes the most of this asset in regards to the bedrooms.
When we checked out our suite, located on the ground floor, we were amazed by the wall of glass looking out across the stunning panoramic view. The room itself also offered every creature comfort, including a large marble bathroom complete with bath and shower, a sofa and chairs and, perhaps most stylishly (and admittedly, a little bizarrely) a Harley Davidson propped up in the corner.
WHERE TO EAT
One of Le Saint James biggest draws (and what surely gave them a full house for every night during our stay) was their acclaimed Michelin star restaurant. Dining at the restaurant with my mum while admiring the stunning views, which were made even more beautiful by the softly lit gardens, was truly a highlight of our trip, as we were treated to nine excellent courses, each more delicious than the next. Highlights from our dinner included Scallops from Brittany, and Razor clams and cockles served with Rhubarb.
WHAT TO DO
The town of Bordeaux is full of sweet, boutique stores and one particularly excellent high street full of fashion – with everything from Zara to Sephora open for business. Of course, the place is also full of sweet places to go for a bite of lunch or a glass of that famous Bordeaux wine – but they can be filled up quickly – so look out for the little orange reservation slips on tables! One of the town's biggest tourist spots is the Bordeaux Cathedral, a stunning Gothic building steeped in history (including the marriage of Louis VII to Eleanor of Aquitaine).
If you are looking for activities, Le Saint James also offers at three-hour cooking class, in which you are able to act as sous chef for a range of delicious courses. The excellent teacher shows you how to make everything from the starter (butternut squash soup) to the chicken and foie gras terrine main. It's also a great way to meet new people, and we had a great time chatting with the fellow guests over our homemade lunch and a glass of vin.