While most of our spa reviews focus solely on the spa experience, we would strongly encourage visitors from the UK to book into this award winning small luxury hotel to enjoy the full spa experience, and as such this review covers the hotel and the spa.
We would consider this to be the perfect location for a pre-wedding romantic break, or as a honeymoon.
Caudalie also has spas in hotels in the Rioja areas of Spain, and in New York and another Spa Hotel on the edge of Paris, reviewed here.
**STOP PRESS. February 2010 Les Sources de Caudalie voted Top Overseas Spa by Conde Nast Readers.
“In 1999, Caudalie created the 1st Vinothérapie® Spa in the world, near Bordeaux, in the heart of the Grand Cru vines of the Château Smith Haut Lafitte. Discover exclusive treatments that combine the benefits of the grape and grapevine with Natural hot spring water in an environment of rare beauty.” Quiet, calm and serene, this 49 room haven just 20 minutes from Bordeaux airport is the ideal retreat for anyone looking for utter relaxation in a peaceful environment with a top class spa and exceptional cuisine. Classically and unashamedly French, the many antiques in each individually designed room give you the feeling of staying in a beautiful French country house rather than a hotel.
The choice of facilities were limited compared to many modern hotels, but included all you could realistically need; a modest gym, a bar, a wine tasting room, a sheltered outdoor pool, and hectares after hectares of vineyards to explore on the hotel’s bicycles. The hotel is well known for it’s food, and guests enjoy a choice of two restaurants – one of which is aiming for a Michelin Star, and has a machine to store opened wine in it’s perfect state so that the more exclusive vintages can be bought by the glass. Room service, although from a more limited menu, is available at no extra cost. The personal service is excellent, with experienced, courteous and unobtrusive staff ready when you need them, invisible when you do not. The rooms are almost colonial in style with large wooden fans, wooden or tiled floors, roll top baths and plenty of distressed wood, with the flat screen TV and DVD standing out in contrast. The views across the surrounding Smith Haut Lafitte vineyards give the feeling that you are really part of the vineyard, with the hotel sitting perfectly within the landscape.
With most of the rooms and suites within the main building, the favourite amongst honeymooners is the private wooden lodge on stilts the edge of a lake close to the hotel. The lodge was completely re-furbished in December 2009 for a clean, white look – far from the stereotypical rose petal strewn white linen honeymoon suites of the chain hotels, and with all mod cons; TV, DVD, safe, roll top bath, walk-in shower, double sinks, and with a huge and sunny deck over the lake.
Despite repeated visits over several years I am yet to see the spa busy, and there is a strict policy to ensure it stays that way. It is usual to find an equal number of men and women of all ages using the spa, most of them glamorous and French. It is clear that children would not be even remotely appropriate here. The changing areas, pool and steam room are immaculately clean and beautifully presented. The many relaxation areas – by the pool, in semi-private lounges and on the outdoor terrass are equipped with beautiful books on wine, all the latest boutique magazines, jugs of lemon water, today’s blend of hot herbal infusion and bowls of grapes from the surrounding vines. We tried the Divine Duo Massage for Two – a blissfully relaxing side-by-side massage, expertly delivered by two experienced vinotherapists, and would highly recommend it.
In addition to numerous signature treatments, from cabernet scrubs to merlot baths, the spa has it’s own highly regarded range of beauty products enabling you to continue the spa rituals at home. Most of the range is also now available in the more exclusive UK department stores. Les Sources de Caudalie
Chemin de Smith Haut-Lafitte