A grand impression

The Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa in the Bordeaux’s central La Place de La Comédie square is a wonderful mix of the traditional and the theatrical. With its flamboyant interiors, designed by Jaques Garcia, it is the perfect mirror for the city’s opera house, Le Grand Théâtre, which faces it.

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The sumptuous candy pink flowers in the lobby set the tone. If the minimalist look is for you, then this is definitely not the place to check in. The hotel was originally designed by Victor Louis in the 18th century and was re-opened in 2007 after a full redesign by Garcia, which gave freedom to his trademark bold style.


The walls in my bedroom were covered in a vibrant orange linen, a take on the traditional French toile wallpaper.

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Beds have oversized headboards…

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The hotel’s spa, Les Bains de Léa spa, is an opulent space and where Garcia seems to have really gone to town. Vivid red and black walls create a cocooning space, murals depicting buxom beauties abound while windows are sheathed in extravagant drapes. Treatments, such as the signature Instant Radiant Facial with Flowers, are by acclaimed French beauty brand Nuxe. And, new for this summer are treatments on the roof of the hotel… be warned: set on the roof-top with a billowing curtain for privacy, they are not for faint-hearted but feel wonderfully indulgent. Garcia would be proud.


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Little terraces off bedrooms give wonderful views across the city.

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Public spaces, like the Orangery (left) and the lobby are glamourous, featuring velvets, jewel colours and statement pieces.


While the Victor Bar, named after the architect Victor Louis and the writer Victor Hugo who stayed here, is a tiny sensuous space that features lit luminous green wine bottles.

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The more retrained setting of the Le Pressoir D’Argent restaurant is deserving of its Michelin star cuisine. It has an elegant 1920s feel and is light and airy – a perfect backdrop for some of the amazing dishes we were served.

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Amuse-bouche (left) included gold-coated macadamia nuts, olive scented macaroons, lobster dip and deep-fried samphire. The starter (middle) was sublime and was made of sea bass, avocado, caviar, shellfish consommé and citrus condiment. The main course, meanwhile, (right) was John Dory, Pata Negra ham, deep fried pig’s trotter meat with the freshest, zingest pea puree I’ve ever tasted.

Who’d have thought the wine would have been an after-thought in Bordeaux?







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