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“Lovely property - poor service”

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Chateau Grand Barrail
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Saint-Emilion
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 15 August 2012

On the whole a very nice hotel in a great location for visiting St Emilion and the surrounding vineyards. We booked with a free upgrade and breakfast yet when we arrived we put initially into a small and dark room at the front of the property - so had to politely remind them we should be moved - and were told breakfast would be an extra 24 euros each per day. We decided to eat elsewhere given I'm not in the habit of spending £40 a day on croissants and coffee - only to be told at the end of the stay that breakfast was in fact included! Not exactly pleased.

Assuming that doesn't happen to you, you will probably have a lovely time here!

Room Tip: Make sure the staff know what you have booked. See review for the problems we had.
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Matthew F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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333 - 339 of 875 reviews

Reviewed 26 July 2012

This is a beautiful chateau, 2 km from downtown St Emilion. Good bedrooms, great restaurant, contemporary spa. The highlights include selecting and sampling wine as the sun sets on the terrace, and taking a bike tour to the local vineyards.


But there is a BUT! The level of service was shocking. Here are two lowlights:

1. As I was enjoying breakfast on the terrace, manager Martin appeared. "You cannot sit here.". I replied "really, sorry, err why?". Martin says "It is reserved for other guests". "Oh", I say, "how could I tell, was there a sign I missed?". Martin continued "There is no sign, but I told one of your colleagues this yesterday". I moved to a different table but note he did not apologise. Also note he did not even help me move my coffee, fruit or the rest of my breakfast.

By the way, even after I finished breakfast no other guests were in sight and my original table remained empty.

2. We were thirteen people in one meeting room, served by one nearby toilet. As we took a comfort break, one of my colleagues saved time by popping to another toilet nearby. A member of staff appeared: "You cannot use that toilet", She replied "Really, why?". "It is for spa guests only." It is true that she was near the spa reception...but there were spa was empty.

We had many other examples of poor, unfriendly and inconsiderate service. I have shared just two. My recommendation - visit this place once it is under new management!

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled on business
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4  Thank Steve1234576
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 July 2012

My partner and I stayed at Grand Barrail for the first 3 nights of our holiday in the Dordogne. When we entered the hotel, I think we were both disappointed that the hotel felt more "corporate", in the layout and style than we expected. As it was a chateau, we were expecting something more individual or stylish. The decor was also a little tired.
The same feeling applied to our room, which again felt like you could be staying in an average chain-type hotel, very corporate.
That said, the hotel is very spacious, the the quality of the food in the restaurant was excellent. We loved the fact that the hotel had a spa, and it was nice to relax in the jacuzzi or by the pool at the end of the day.
The hotel is stated as being 20-30 minutes walk from saint Emilion, and indeed it is well placed if you want to stay by but not in the town. However, it's a pretty dicey and therefore not enjoyable walk up a busy main road to Saint Emilion. Despite the hotel stating you could "walk across the vineyards" to the town, we actually tried this and, as there was no map or guidance from the hotel, we couldn't find our way so had to go on the main road. After that, we took the car or paid for a taxi. So you just need to factor that in.
One last thing- with the exception of a couple of excellent individuals, we found most of the staff very average in terms f customer service. One man on reception was actually really rude to my partner when we just asked for directions to saint Emilion. The rest were mostly unforthcoming / not generous with help.
Overall, it was fine. The food and spa were highlights. Would we stay again? No. Having been to saint Emilion, we've realised it isn't to big or noisy to stay in, and we'd avoid the cost and hassle of taxis by staying in town.

Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
1  Thank foodietraveller15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2012

The ambiance is great and the location is spectacular. It is a pity that the service and some other issues affected the overall experience.

Stayed here with a group for a meeting
The location is absolutely great, unfortunately the service is questionable. When asked if it was possible to lunch in the garden it was said that this was reserved for guests (???). During lunch and dinner one needed to ask several times to be able to order.
Furniture in meeting room is ramshackle
The WIFI is free of charge, but extremely slow (old fashioned dial up is faster)

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled on business
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Thank Marcus W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2012

Just completed a 2 night stay at this lovely Hotel & Spa which is a short drive away from St Emilion. Staff are friendly and we found the room very comfortable. Food is very good both at breakfast and dinner with a lovely setting outside when the weather is good.
Good sized pool next to the spa with good treatments at a reasonable price.
Very relaxed atmosphere but a good level of service when you need it. If you want a great sleep close the outside blinds on the windows and sleep for ages in complete darkness.

Room Tip: If you stay in the Chateau go for the 2nd floor for the views and sun terraces. The rooms away from...
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Bostik17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2012

This charming chateau just outside of St. Emilion is a perfect spot from which to explore the town and the region. The staff were pleasant, the breakfasts were amazing, and the rooms were comfortable. The a/c in our room was not great but in our friends' room next door it worked fine. We rented bikes from the hotel at a nominal cost and they had several route maps, but they were all in French, and the front desk didn't understand and couldn't communicate to us that the starting point on the maps wasn't the hotel, it was the tourist office in town, so we got hopelessly but delightfully lost! The 21-speed bikes were very comfortable and in excellent condition. The pool was wonderful, as were our massages at the spa. Dinner at the restaurant was also a highlight, but don't plan to eat here often - it's expensive and the limited menu doesn't change.

Room Tip: If you'll be there in summer, ask for a room that doesn't face west, so it has a chance to c...
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank MaggieNeedlefish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2012

The castle is beautiful on the outside, the rooms nicely decorated, kind of disappointed they were so modern when it's such an old castle ,but still very good taste. The only problem was the service, specially at the restaurant, you are at Saint Emilion and expect good wine, well they don't even have a sommelier and the waiters ( college age kids) were not very helpful, so that was kind of frustrating. I do have to say the food was good, and it's very convenient to get to Saint Emilion.

Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
Thank krussek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Chateau Grand Barrail

Address: Route de Libourne - D243, 33330 Saint-Emilion, France
Phone Number:
Region: France > Nouvelle-Aquitaine > Gironde > Saint-Emilion
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Saint-Emilion
Price Range: £147 - £381 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Chateau Grand Barrail 5*
Number of rooms: 46
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Chateau Grand Barrail Hotel Saint-Emilion
Chateau Grand Barrail Saint Emilion

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