The beautiful port city of Bordeaux, in southwestern France, is renowned for its 18th- and 19th-century architecture and its winemaking traditions, but it is also an exciting, vibrant city with a modern edge. This dual identity is reflected in the increasing number of boutique and design hotels, more often than not fusing tradition with contemporary design. Here, to celebrate Bordeaux’s dynamism, we’ve selected the very best.
Le Boutique Hotel is much more than just a boutique hotel. Its historic, 18th-century façade hides a high-quality, four-star hotel with a garden and a wine bar. Its 27 rooms and suites, each with a different design, offer minibars, coffee machines, iPod docks, and flat screen TVs. The room designs are really what makes Le Boutique Hotel stand out: for instance, the ‘Suite Château Haut Brion’, inspired by cinema, has a projector, photographs, and fine furniture designed by French designer Philippe Starck. Some rooms even have a jacuzzi or a terrace.
‘Hôtel particulier’ is a French word denoting a grand townhouse. Such a building happens to be the setting of this exquisite hotel overlooking the Place Pey-Berland and the gothic Saint-André Cathedral. Fusing the beauty of 19th-century architecture and modern service, it’s a perfect symbol of what Bordeaux is today: a dynamic city steeped in history. Every room or suite is named after a composer, the Debussy suite being the most luxurious. Guests will find all the services they’d expect from a high-end hotel: a minibar, a safe, and a coffee machine in the room, and breakfast and brunch in the hotel’s dining room. For those who want more privacy, the hotel also rents furnished apartments (‘appart’hôtels’).
Also located in a 19th-century building, this five-star boutique hotel is among the best Bordeaux can offer. The atmosphere is intimate, with only 12 rooms and suites, each carefully designed by the owner, Agnès Guiot du Doignon, and little details like a scented garden and a terrace that give it an edge over other establishments. Each room also includes a flat screen TV, air conditioning, an iPad, and room service is available 24/7. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a delicious homemade breakfast!
Among the 18th- and 19th-century buildings lining Bordeaux’s waterfront, Seeko’o sticks out. This four-star hotel, whose name means ‘iceberg’ in Inuit, is shaped like a giant block of ice. Along with the nearby Chaban-Delmas bridge, it hails a new architectural tradition in Bordeaux. Every one of its 45 loft-like rooms is over 29 square meters and offers free WiFi and flat-screen TVs. Some, on the fifth floor, have incredible panoramic views and terraces. There’s also a relaxation area where guests can enjoy a sauna and a steam free of charge, as well as a hip cocktail bar.
Less than ten minutes away from the splendid Jardin Public, La Maison Bord’eaux is an 18th-century boutique hotel with modern amenities and friendly service. Particularly attractive is the lovely courtyard, perfect to enjoy the sun in the warmer months. The colorful rooms feature flat-screen TVs, minibars and kettles. Some rooms also have a chic terrace overlooking the courtyard and apparent beams for even more of an ‘old world’ feel. Breakfast is available but not included.
Hotel-cum-restaurant Chez Dupont, in the Chartrons district but just a stone’s throw from the city center and the waterfront, is tiny but full of charm. The 18th-century building is home to five rooms and an apartment, ensuring a familiar and highly personal experience. In addition, each room, measuring between 25 and 40 square meters, has its own personality. For example, the ‘Stephen Girard’ room has stone walls, hardwood floor, and a generally minimalist design whereas ‘Frère Placide’ has a bright turquoise wall.
The soft life of the courtyard and serenity of La Cour Carrée seem to belie its central location, between Place des Grands Hommes, the Allées de Tourny, and Place Gambetta. This entirely renovated 18th-century building, typical of Bordeaux’s architecture, only has 14 rooms so it never feels busy. Each of these rooms include air conditioning, king-size or twin beds, free Wi-Fi, and a flat screen TV. Everything in its design is sleek and streamlined, with just enough color to brighten the atmosphere. Note the beautiful spiral staircase.
This chic but relaxed hotel near Esplanade des Quinconces was completely renovated recently but has been a real Bordeaux institution for decades. The new décor manages to keep this 18th-century hotel particulier‘s atmosphere while modernizing it, creating a true boutique hotel. There is now a patio on the ground floor, an elevator, and the 12 rooms benefit from an entirely new, contemporary design. All rooms are extremely comfortable and elegant, with high-quality bedding, air conditioning, flat-screen TVs, a safe (on request) and room service. Some even have a balcony.
Named after the Comte de Sèze, Louis XVI’s lawyer, this four-star hotel is bigger than most boutique hotels in Bordeaux but retains high-quality service and a peaceful atmosphere. The 55 rooms are divided into four categories, enabling for some flexibility in the prices: classic, superior, deluxe, and suites. The overall design takes its cue for the city’s past, particularly the 18th century, a welcome change from the beautiful but ubiquitous contemporary and minimalist design choices of other establishments.