Europe, Travel

Review: Château Hôtel Grand Barrail, France

While looking at accommodation options in Bordeaux I came across Château Hôtel Grand Barrail. This 19th-century Château is just 3km outside Saint-Émilion and after seeing the photos we decided we had to spend a couple of nights here during our trip.

Château Hôtel Grand Barrail is one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World – a collection of over 500 small, independent luxury hotels. We’ve previously stayed at another hotel in this group, Luton Hoo, so our expectations were high.

We hired a car at Bordeaux Airport, but the hotel also offers a shuttle service from both the airport and Bordeaux St-Jean Train Station. If you do come by car there’s plenty of free parking available at the hotel. It’s about a 40 minute drive from the airport to the hotel.

We were greeted warmly at reception and the staff also offered to park the car for us. I still wasn’t quite used to the left-hand drive so I was more than happy to accept this offer! After check in we were given a quick tour of the hotel facilities and shown to our room.

Our room was a Superior Room, located in one of the outbuildings overlooking the vineyards. There was plenty of space for two guests – a king size bed, desk and a large wardrobe. Free bottles of water and a coffee machine were also provided. Free WiFi was available in the room but we found it to be quite slow and it was often faster to just use the 4G network on our phones.

The bathroom was a generous size with a shower-bath combo and twin sinks. Unfortunately the hairdryer was one of those low-powered ones where you have to hold down the button to keep it switched on.

After settling in to the room we had a bit of time to explore the hotel grounds before dinner. Our stay happened to coincide with the Hot air balloon Festival in Saint-Émilion so we saw lots of hot air balloons flying over the vineyards.

We also popped into the spa to try the pool. With the water temperature being 25 degrees it was a little too cold to be enjoyed in October, so we stuck to the indoor jacuzzi. I imagine it would be quite refreshing in the heat of summer. The spa was heavily booked during our stay so we didn’t try out any of the treatments. I’d recommend booking these prior to your arrival at the hotel.

We dined in the hotel restaurant on the first night of our stay. The hotel got in touch with me after I’d made the reservation to see if I wanted to book a table for dinner, which I immediately confirmed. Like the spa, it is best to book a table for dinner in advance as the restaurant does get quite busy. The hotel is quite isolated so would have to travel into Saint-Émilion for other dinner options.

The restaurant is located within the Château in a beautiful setting. The food was well presented and delicious, and there are plenty of local wines to choose from to accompany your meal.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Château Hôtel Grand Barrail and wouldn’t hesitate to return if we found ourselves visiting Saint-Émilion again. The staff were friendly and spoke excellent English, and it was a real treat to stay at a genuine French Château surrounded by acres of vineyards.

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