- 60 rooms
- Double rooms from €192.
- The suite and in particular prestige suite are big enough for another child to be with you.
- The indoor and outdoor heated pool s are open all the time for children, which is really great. Only the spa pools are off limit
- Menus for children in all restaurants (see below)
- Plenty of activities: there’s a farm at the bottom of the garden with goats and chickens, you can borrow bikes, play tennis or they can go play in Le Petit Château games room.
- Three restaurants, three pools, vineyards to explore, bikes, wine tasting, art exhibition in the forest..
- A big Caudalie spa
- Just outside of Bordeaux, only 30 minutes drive from the airport.
- Les Sources de Caudalie is located just outside of Bordeaux, among the vineyards and rolling green pastures of Martillac.
Les Sources de Caudalie was a plan B choice when we realised that we couldn’t do our planned holiday to Paxos due to Covid. There were lots to like and some things that left us a bit wanting.
A dreamy setting in the middle of the Bordeaux vineyards
The setting of the Sources de Caudalie is the stuff of picture books about France: in the middle of the Bordeaux vineyards, the Chateau Smith Laffite domain precisely. The old longère (the French word for a long stone house in this region), has been renovated and several wood buildings have been added to house the spa and the various bedrooms. The hotel also has a lake where the top suite, the Ile aux Oiseaux, takes a commending view.
It is so close to Bordeaux (only 30 min from the airport) that it gets busy very quickly. In fact, we were there in August and the hotel was full despite being the year of Covid. Out of season, the setting, service and the facilities will certainly ensure a lovely break. This is mostly due to the wonderful service by the staff: always smiley, professional, helpful and friendly. High marks for that.
Caudalie is really family-friendly
It is also an ultra family-friendly hotel for children of all ages. First of all, many of the bedrooms are quite big and accommodate children. On arrival, children receive “Le Carnet du Petit Voyageur”. Challenges, games, stories and recipes, enough to take advantage of these few days of respite.
There is a play room in one of the buildings, three pools, two of them being open to kids all day long. The indoor pool is heated all year long, while the outdoor pool is heated between May and September. The third one is in the spa and for adults only. All of course have loungers, and the ones by the outdoor pool under the trees were my favourite. There is a children’s menu everywhere, even in the gastronomic restaurant. The French really know how to welcome families and understand that well-behaved children can certainly seat at the same table as their parents.
Sport, spa, relaxation, culture: lots to keep you occupied
In addition to pool time, several activities are perfect for families. We enjoyed the Land Art, a 2-hour course where twenty contemporary works of art rub shoulders with nature, many of them really adapted to children. From walking barefoot on various grounds, to playing music with bells hung from the trees, through to smelling herbs or balancing across a makeshift bridge, it was all really well thought. And it was under the shade, which was a blessing during the heatwave.
Another nice thing to do is to take the bikes that are free to borrow and circle around the vast vineyard. You can of course also get a tour of the vineyards and explanation of the wine process as well as book wine tasting sessions.
Les Sources de Caudalie rooms: ask about the decor
Our bedroom was a signature suite and we really appreciated the space: about 55 m² with a lounge area, a bedroom, a balcony and a big bathroom and walk-in closet. The balcony overlooks the lake and leads to stairs that allow you to exit the room privately without having to go through the common areas. Given that we stayed during Covid, it was a big plus.
I was not a big fan of the decor and actually, re-arranged the furniture to make it less busy. The wood is meant to remind you of the cabans of Cap Ferret, which is fine, we love Cap Ferret, but the furnishing was heavy and dark. There are some rooms that have been recently redecorated and I hope they’ll do this for all rooms.
I suppose they are currently focusing their investment on the new Sources de Cheverny. The decor here is really up to date, due to the involvement of the famous design studio Bepoles.
The gastronomic restaurant also feels a bit sorry for itself. The food was delicious but there was no soul to the place.
Les Sources de Caudalie restaurant and food
Talking of food they are three restaurants: the gastronomic La Grand Vigne, the bistro called La table du Lavoir and there is a wine bar and Tapas.
The gastronomic restaurant was delicious. I particularly appreciated the tomato tart, the fish and the amazing pre-desert of cucumber and bitter herbs, a total palate cleanser. Walking back to our bedroom via a leisury stroll around the lake was dreamy.
The Table du Lavoir was nothing special. The setting is nice and you can eat outside under the trees. It’s convenient but I wouldn’t rush to book it back.
The tapas place was exactly what we wanted for lunch the last day: again some nice seating under the trees, more relaxed and in the shade. Plates of ham, tomatoes, tapenade etc.. accompanied with a glass of red wine from the region make for a nice combination and you do find yourself willing the time away chatting.
You can also do room service, which we chose to have for breakfast each day and for diner one night. This turns out to be a great choice: it means that you can have your breakfast later than in the restaurant (11:30 instead of 10:30) and also comes in a pretty picnic basket. You get hot drinks, pastries, bread and jam, a fruit salad, fresh fruit juice, cottage cheese and cooked eggs with piperade and ham. Enjoying this on our balcony while looking at the lake was lovely.
One BIG issue though: no proper baguette! They have pain from Pain Paulin, which is a famous baker in Cap Ferret, but it was the cereal kind each time. We miss our French baguette in London so that was a pity we couldn’t enjoy it there.
The Caudalie spa: fabulous massage in an OK decor
25 years ago, I remember very well discussing with a lady in my local supermarket in Paris the creation of her beauty brand which was based around the benefits of grapes. This brand turned out to be Caudalie! It’s not often that you remember a demonstrator in a supermarket so I think I had been impressed by her determination, entrepreneurial spirit and ingeniously as well.
Les Sources de Caudalie was born later as the first spa where treatments are provided with the products. There are now several spas in the world. I was of course very excited at the idea of having beauty treatments there.
The treatment was absolutely fabulous, more on this in a minute, but I thought worth to warn you of a couple of things. First of all, there is a minimum spend: you need to book for minimum £160 worth of treatments. Given that a 60 minutes massage was £120, which is already not cheap, and that we were staying in the hotel, I found that greedy. Second of all, even as guests of the hotel, you can’t enjoy the spa facilities unless you have a treatment booked. Finally, the decor again needs to be updated. The wooden structure and high ceiling is great but the purple, the brand signature colour, is not done very subtlety.
That being said, my facial was great but my body massage was even more fantastic. Andrea, the therapist, was young but with magic hands. I left walking on air and so relaxed. Do ask for her if you go there.
Covid measures 5/5
It’s a bit sad that I have to add this category but I thought some of you may have questions around this. It was all very safe: every guest had to and was wearing masks as soon as going indoors, the staff had masks on all the time including outdoors. Menus were accessed via QR codes and they were leaving pool towels in the room which you took with you to the pool. It all felt really well thought out and didn’t take away from the relaxing experience.
Les Sources de Caudalie sits in a very pretty location and does service very well. Rooms are spacious, treatments at the spa can be wonderful and it’s so great to have spaces and activities available for children. The three pools mean that you are never on top of other people. I would like a bit of investment made into updating the decor and giving it more soul.
It is certainly a good base to explore the Bordeaux region and with a short drive from the airport makes it a good destination for a relaxing weekend.