I'm surprised no-one has reviewed the hotel on tripadvisor before now!
We stayed for 2 nights in the Hauterive St James in Aug 06, as friends were getting married nearby. We chose the hotel because it looked so incredible different, and the location was perfect.
The hotel is located in a little village called Bouliac, located above Bordeaux. The village is very pretty, with an ancient church, and fantastic views over the city.
For the first night we stayed in one of the hotel suites (unfortunately this wasn't available for night 2!) The room was spectacular, with a huge, very high king size bed in the middle of the room, and floor to ceiling windows on 3 of the 4 walls. The windows have electric blinds, which are controlled by switches beside the bed - no soft furnishings here, as even the floor is concrete. Probably not to everybody's taste! The room overlooked the hotel vineyards, with Bordeaux beyond, and the view from the bed was astounding.
That night we decided to eat in the hotel's brassierie restaurant (LCafe de l'esperance) which is in the village, a short walk from the hotel. It was a very friendly buzzy restaurant with the menu chalked up on a board - you just choose your meat and they bring it with chips and green salad - very simple, but very good!
Before dinner we decided to have a drink at the hotel, on the lovely bar terrace. We asked for two vodka martinis, and received tumblers containing 1 part vodka, 1 part vermouth and a few ice cubes. The bar man serving us was the same staff member who had helped with our bags, so maybe they run down the staff numbers in August, but they really should employ a decent barman!
The hotel has a 'haute cuisine' restaurant, which we didn't try, as we were at the wedding the second night, but other guests commented very favourably on the food. Next time! They also have another brasserie just outside the main gate, which was closed when we stayed (a lot closes in France in August!).
There is a small swimming pool beside the vineyard, which looked very inviting, and we wish we'd had more time.
Despite all the positives, there were a few areas for improvement. The hotel is looking a little tired, and there was a noticeable damp smell in the public areas - indeed there were air fresheners plugged into all the sockets. The B&O hifi in our suite had a broken cover, and the decor, although striking, is looking a bit dated. Potentially the owners are waiting until winter to make the improvements. We would certainly consider going back - it would make a fantastic weekend break, as it's just a short drive from Bordeaux airport. You could leave work on Fri, fly to Bordeaux then hire a car and be at the hotel in time for a Cote de Boeuf at l'esperance, then spend the next day relaxing by the pool or in the city before a gastronomic Saturday night dinner in the hotel restaurant! Maybe next year...!