A couple of weeks ago, my sweet sister came to visit me in Bordeaux!
She had been saving up for this trip since summer and totally spoiled me in ways my TAPIF salary would never allow.
The Grand Hotel of Bordeaux is almost like a landmark. It’s right across from the Grand Théâtre and in the “golden triangle” area of Bordeaux.
Kelly, my sister, decided she would treat us to a couple nights of luxury here in addition to taking me out to Le Pressoir d’Argent–Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant within the hotel (which I’ll make a follow up post on after!)
I thought I would give an honest review about the hotel and restaurant for any of you thinking of indulging in Bordeaux.
The Grand Hotel will always hold a special place in my heart. Last year, before my semester studying in Bordeaux, I spent my first night here. (Sometimes you can get really good deals through Hotels.com or HotWire–since it was my first time alone in a new country and the Grand Hotel is so central, my mom treated me to a night here when she found a room available for half price!)
The Grand Hotel has a timeless sort of luxury–a five star hotel with an air of elegance. However, I will say the hotel is not what it used to be even just comparing from a year ago to now.
Last year, I was in awe when I stayed here. I was greeted warmly and my bags were taken to my room. The room had music playing when I entered, and every magazine (Vogue, Time, you name it) was laid out on my coffee table. I also received a copy of the International New York Times in the morning, at no extra cost.
While check-in was pleasant with my sister, the extra little perks the hotel gave last year seem to have disappeared. Though, I should mention they upgraded us to a junior suite for no particular reason, other than stating that the hotel was fully booked that night!
When I asked about getting a copy of the International New York Times in the morning, the man working at the check-in nodded and said he would make it happen, but told me that normally this was not a complimentary service. Also, when we got to our room there wasn’t the sprawl of magazines and or same lighting and music playing as I had last year–again, these are very small things–but I feel like they really make a difference when staying at a nice hotel and I’m sad the Grand Hotel is getting rid of them!
While this hotel is beautiful, the rooms are quite small and rather dark–a junior suite here was not that big and a standard room is rather petite. Though, the junior suite did come with a small little “salon” and a very nice Nespresso machine. (I can’t remember if the standard rooms come with Nespresso machines, but I imagine that they do).
You’re given robes and slippers and with a Lush store a short walk away, who wouldn’t want to try out the bathtub?
Kelly and I tried a couple of drinks at “Le Victor Bar” which is on the ground floor of the hotel. The ambience of this bar is super cool–I almost felt like I was in an episode of Gossip Girl. But, I am no Blair Waldorf and the prices of cocktails here are pretty steep–around 20 euros a piece. Seeing as the location of this hotel is so great, you could easily find another bar close by with much more reasonable prices. Maybe my expectations are too high, but with expensive prices I expect top notch service. So, when I ordered a small plate and found a piece of hair in my dish, I asked for a new plate! The waiter got me one but was very unapologetic about it. (If this had happened at another five star hotel, I imagine the staff would try to make up for it but apologizing or offering the plate for free).
Still, in general the staff was great. Maid service went above and beyond (I came back to find my brush had totally been cleaned out–meaning they took out all of my old hairs left in it…ahhhh???? I’ve never had that happen before and I felt pretty bad the maids thought they needed to do this!) And smiles and “bonjours” everywhere.
I think if you can talk one of your relatives into staying here, great! The Grand Hotel is a very fun experience and the actual building is breathtaking both inside and out and I feel so lucky my sister treated me to a couple of nights here.
But if you’re like me and on a budget, maybe just try getting a drink at the bar if you’re dying for a luxurious moment. (Preferably during their summer season when they have the rooftop bar open) Bordeaux has so many amazing restaurants and bars to offer, so you’re better off staying at an Airbnb or cheaper hotel and taking advantage of the restaurant and bar scene that the city has to offer.