Château de Mercuès
What We Love
- A magical 13th-century château stay in stunning south-west France with a wine-tasting tourHanging out in a prestigious wine estate with serious cellars and a 32-hectare vineyard
- Gorging on the impressive views over the undulating hills and sparkling water of the Lot Valley
- Sampling the decadent local produce from the robust red wine to black truffles
What To Know
- Onsite Le Duèze Restaurant was given one star in the 2017 Michelin Guide
- The wine list features Georges Vigouroux varieties as well as a selection of other Occitania and French wines
- Views from the chateau are of the lush Lot Valley and Cahors Vineyards
Sealing the deal for wine-lovers and gourmands who like the idea of lording it up in a 13th-century castle with fairy-tale turrets and towers, Château de Mercuès is a boutique-style château overlooking the Lot Valley. Expect traditional luxury with a fuss-free feel as you enjoy the welcoming outdoor pool, tennis court and stunning woodlands with running trails and walking paths.
Acquired by winegrower-cum-hotelier Georges Vigouroux in 1983, this grandiose hideout – the one-time summer residence of the Counts and Bishops of Cahors – is a perennial crowd-pleaser. Most buzzed-about are the regional Quercy specialities (duck, lamb, black truffle and more) that complement exquisite regional wines – most of which are grown in the château’s 32-hectare vineyard and stored in the underground winery and ageing cellar.
Spend your days cruising on the River Lot, touring the Château de Mercuès winery, lingering at the cafés along Cahors’ Boulevard Gambetta, and drinking rather a lot of Malbec wine – referred to here as Auxerrois or Cot Noir for its deep and dark colour. By night, relish gourmet delights before crashing out in your wondrously chic accommodation. Château de Mercuès effortlessly bagged a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
How to Get There
This was certainly the biggest hotel room I have ever stayed in--you might want to use your cell phone to call from the bathroom to the bedroom. Comfortable bed, fantastic views, nice art deco furniture. I even had a private terrace! A few criticisms: the wifi was wonky, the showerhead was noisy and stingy, the bathroom window shutters were warped (which compromised privacy), and exterior wooden bits needed repainting. I could hear the neighbor's TV. Breakfast was not as good as expected (limited cereal selection in sealed plastic packets, scrambled eggs too salty, no cheese).
This is a wonderful Relais & Chateaux hotel, a bit difficult to find (more about that later) but worth the effort.
The building itself dates back to the 13th century, so it has many interesting nooks and crannies. Located at the top of a hill above the town of Mercues, the scenery is spectacular. We spent two days here, taking our leisure in the outdoor area overlooking the river and valley below. There is also an internal courtyard where one can enjoy an aperitif before dinner.
Our room was on the third floor overlooking the internal courtyard and chapel. It was very spacious, with plenty of closet space and shelves for our clothing. The room has two bathrooms, an unusual but workable arrangement. One bathroom contained a toilet and spacious shower with both a rain forest shower head and hand-held shower head (the only drawback of the shower being a lack of a shelf in the shower for soap and shampoo, etc). The other bathroom contained a double sink and large tub. The sink area had lots of room for toiletries.
The service in this hotel was exemplary. All the staff were friendly and efficient. One day, we decided to sit on the outdoor patio overlooking the river and valley to have a light lunch. The restaurant did not serve warm lunches outside, so they prepared a plate of meats and cheese, with accompanying baguette, for our lunch.
Guests arriving by car must be forewarned that it may be difficult to find this wonderful hotel. It is not the hotel’s fault that our GPS took us up a dirt road that ended abruptly. We then abandoned this modern technology and looked for signs. We found a sign directing us up the hill to the Chateau, but then about one or two hundred meters up that road, we came across another sign pointing to the right. That brought us again to the dirt road. We finally called the hotel, which told us to ignore the right-pointing sign and just continue straight ahead, which we did an then came to hotel at the top of the hill. It was a welcome sight indeed! And worth the hassle!
We visited last week for the third time. We had a very pleasant stay once again at the Château. The staff are really friendly and helpful and nothing is too much bother. We particularly liked once again sitting outside having drinks on the terrace and we were most impressed by their room service which we tried out for the first time. We ordered two platters of smoked salmon and bread and not only were they very good, they came within ten minutes. I have done a separate report for the restaurant as we think it is very over-priced, rather stuffy and extremely small portions.
The hotel we can’t fault. It is in the most amazing situation and beautiful with far reaching views. We always have a room overlooking the Lot Valley on the side of the Château.
The hotel has a great location on the top of the hill overlooking the Lot river with superb views. Our room was well furnished and had a wonderful view. The hotel in general was fine but probably in need of a general upgrade. The restaurant was very good for both dinner and breakfast. The winery was excellent with a very good tasting experience - and some good wines. The hotel service could learn from the wine tasting experience and improve the friendliness and general attitude.
You can't beat the feeling of entering a hilltop, turreted stone chateau going back 500 years..or the back-side view hundreds of feet below including a lovely river and vineyards. The well-meaning staff, however, seemed untrained..delivering unexpectedly slap-dash service. Example: eating in the rear of two (gourmet) dining rooms..with only three tables occupied, we waited 35 minutes for the two wait-staff to provide menus and bread. The front desk, inexplicably, included two non-French concierges..one unable to recommend a cafe for dinner in nearby Cahors..the other mis-programming our rental car GPS to take us to the famous grottoes of Lascaux in Montignac. And, oh yes, our large, attractive, empire-style room had huge windows opening to that stunning valley/river view..but NO ventilation at all. No fan. No A/C. We were advised to open the windows at night after turning out the lights so as not to attract insects..because there were no screens on those windows ! Huh ? Imagine booking this chateau in July or August !!
We were told that the new owner is focusing on replanting a malbec vineyard on the property..and building a world-class wine cellar in the chateau..and it shows. Priority One has cost a fine tuning of the guest services.