A hotel stay can be influenced by many things and without doubt our very positive experience at the Le Saint James owes much to the General Manager Anthony Torkington and his staff. We were most fortunate to be upgraded to chambre 10, a blissful experience if ever one is to be had in a hotel room. This space is magnificent in every imaginable way. A sumptuous room with view straight out of a postcard overlooking the grounds and the city of Bordeaux in the distance. A huge bed in the centre of the room overlooking rows of vines just outside the window. A lovely seating area and electronic privacy blinds that can be adjusted as the sun sets. The room is huge and the bed is quite high off the ground but having it placed in the middle of the room with superb bedding and linens gives a great impression on entering the room. Windows on three sides also provides a wonderful sense of light and space.
The hotel is just at the edge of the pleasant small town of Bouliac which has a nice little pizzeria that is frequented by the locals with a very welcoming owner. We had lunch here just before leaving town. We enjoyed a stroll around the town watching the events in front of the Mairie. I am not sure what was happening but it looked like someone was being presented with a medal or other honour. In any case it made a very nice impression of the formality that can be quite dramatic in France.
Breakfast was mostly self serve with an Nespresso machine set outside near the seating area. It was decent value for money though I would have preferred a wider selection of fresh fruit, particularly at this time of year (mid to late June). Eating outdoors overlooking the pool and the city of Bordeaux was a real treat.
We really enjoyed dinner at the restaurant though I am not sure it was quite at the same level as the rest of our experience at the hotel. Certainly the staff were outstanding and it appeared they made space for us as we had arrived late and not made a dinner reservation. A wedding rehearsal dinner was going on with a big table of guests but the staff did not miss a beat and were very attentive to the regular diners. There were no slips up in any way and each course arrived with good pace and was beautiful to behold. The food was generally excellent but there were a few strange elements. For instance a "side dish" of fish bones still on the spine sitting on a bed or stones. Beautiful to behold but with no real taste-we checked to be sure these were to be eaten and not simply admired while we ate the flesh of the fish! In several of the courses one item seemed to have been dipped in and coated with a clear sugar glaze and we found this repetitive and not that tasty. With these small complaints aside the quality and taste of the dishes was excellent. We ordered the prix fixe menu which included foie gras as a starter. This course was followed by a delicate serving of rouget with glazed heirloom carrots and potatoes. Next time I would try the a la carte menu to explore the cooking in more detail as the hotel also has a cooking school. You can see into the kitchen and it is amazing to watch the chef create the dishes as they make their way down the "assembly line.".
In summary it hard to beat the location and the view of this hotel and similarly the staff are first rate in terms of being friendly and extra helpful and the contemporary art that is spread throughout the hotel only adds to the great impression. We had an amazing day visiting Chateau Rieussec in Sauternes which is quite near the hotel and similarly Bordeaux and the airport are not far away. I can highly recommend this hotel, particularly in the upgraded rooms.
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- Also Known As:
- Hauterive Saint James Hotel