Château Grand Barrail Hotel
What We Love
- Charm and tranquility at a 19th-century château in the Saint-Emilion vineyards, with breakfastTaking in the beautiful views across Saint-Emilion's rolling vineyards and the château's seven-acre grounds
- Waking up to a delicious – and complimentary – breakfast
- Indulging in a luxurious Cinq Mondes spa treatment
- Savoring refined dishes and complementary wines in the elegant restaurant
What To Know
- If there aren't enough vineyards for you in Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux is less than an hour away
- The onsite spa has a jacuzzi, two steam rooms, two saunas, treatment and rest rooms, and a fitness studio
- Chef Romain Gondras' menu is seasonal
You’ve heard about pairing wine with fine cuisine – how about with a fine hotel? Nineteenth-century Château Grand Barrail Hotel and its picturesque seven-acre estate impresses both inside and out, with the tranquil Dordogne River running alongside it, and with a setting in the heart of the esteemed Saint-Emilion vineyards. Spend your time in this pretty pocket of France exploring the medieval hilltop town, visiting the sights of Bordeaux (which is less than an hour away) and taking a tour among the rows of grapevines – not to mention, tasting the Grand Cru produced from these grapes.
You may also relax, pamper and delight your senses at the hotel spa, with Cinq Mondes body treatments or with a sauna and hot-tub session. And, of course, if you would like to pair your wine with something culinary, you’re welcome do that, too. The gourmet restaurant (which has an outdoor terrace for warmer days) is run by Chef Romain Gondras and is a real treat for the taste buds, with creative dishes ranging from fillet of duck to fried scallops, and with carefully selected Bordeaux fine wines to complement whatever you select.
Split between the château and its outbuildings, the rooms make the most of uninterrupted views over the château’s seven-acre estate. Measuring 323 square feet, Superior rooms feature bold, yet tasteful, decoration, with curtains and sofas upholstered in wool tartan, plus views over the extensive vineyards. Adjoining rooms for family stays are also available. Deluxe rooms are a fusion of modern trends, period styles and Blanc d’Ivoire elements and are housed in the main Château, La Maison du Vignoble (which boasts breathtaking panoramic views) and La Maison du Bien-Etre spa complex – perfect for recharging your batteries.With their Gustave III-style woodwork and unobstructed views over the park and vineyard, Executive rooms are set at the heart of the Château. The decoration and furniture is mostly by well-known manufacturers, such as Pierre Frey, Mise en Demeure and Prés de Brou.
Château Grand Barrail Hotel houses a gourmet restaurant run by Chef Romain Gondras and offers creative cuisine with a curated selection of local fine wines from Bordeaux. The hotel has three separate dining rooms, with elegant design – think Viollet Leduc-style paintings and imposing chandeliers – and a hotel bar for relaxed drinks.
With beauticians at your disposal, take your pick from a variety of luxury, all-natural Cinq Mondes face and body treatments. Once you’re done with these, there are two hammams, two saunas, a hot tub, rest areas and a fitness room to enjoy. The undisturbed views of the vineyards will follow you to the spa, so it’s an especially peaceful and relaxing experience.
Château Grand Barrail Hotel is in the center of the Saint-Emilion vineyards, with Bordeaux less than an hour away. Libourne train station is less than two miles away; Maison du Vin, Saint Emilion’s Underground Galleries and Château Figeqac are all nearby and worth a visit.
How to Get There
>We spent really a good days in the hotel and in the town. The room very beautiful and large, with a splendid balcony on the grapes and the lake and the countryside. Very good the restaurant and all the staff.
Make no mistake, this hotel is breathtaking. The beds are also comfortable and large for French standards. Air conditioning was stuck on one temperature, but it was acceptable. But, if you are used to upscale hotels with excellent service, you will quickly be disappointed in your experience here. I must admit, one young lady at the front desk was very nice, and the taller young lady at breakfast was very nice, but we found the rest to be uninformed, bothered by any questions and just not very nice. A few of the other items that bothered my wife and I were:
- The internet/wi-fi service here is unacceptable. Slow, cuts out and inconsistent. If you are businessperson who needs to be connected even while on vacation, you must avoid this hotel. They offer a second service with a booster, but even that doesn't work well.
- They have a shuttle into town but it runs way to infrequently to be accommodating or to fit any normal person's meal schedule. If you call at a non scheduled time they call you a cab. Guess what, a cab for the 5 minute ride is 20 euros. So, you are pretty much stranded there.
- If you rent bikes from them and take the "path through the vines" route into St. Emilion be warned that their map is pretty much unreadable, the directions impossible to follow and the through the vines part of it actually means back roads. They say it is a 20 minute ride, it is more like an hour trying to follow their directions. When we asked about it we were treated like we were stupid. If you rent bikes, take the main road into town and it will take 15 minutes, but the hotel staff will warn you not to, why I don't know.
- If you are a hotel this far removed from meals in town (see shuttle and bike issues) you need to have a reasonable restaurant. Yes the restaurant here is very high quality (so they say) but it is too expensive for being the only restaurant. They need a lower price and more comfortable option.
- No business center, so could not print my boarding passes. Asked the front desk and they acted like it was the most impossible request anyone had ever made. They never did accomplish it.
- Every time we were involved with anyone at the front desk, they keep getting distracted by other staff members, so nothing ever really got done.
Summary, don't get dazzled by the location. You will be so angry with everything by the end of your stay it will ruin your trip.
On the pricey side, but lots to offer. Had problem with rental car and concierge extremely helpful in communicating with and reaching Avis to address the problems. Could not have managed without her. Rooms large and well appointed. Breakfast buffet quite extensive. WiFi very slow. Had room service dinner - very limited menu and didn’t even have any chicken available.