Bordeaux is a city that you just can’t help but feel regal in from the moment you set foot among its grandiose buildings and squares. There’s not another hotel better fit for a king or queen in Bordeaux Centre than the Intercontinental Bordeaux Grand Hotel and it’s certainly the place to stay when visiting the Wine Capital of the World.
Formerly known as Le Grand Hotel de Bordeaux & Spa, it became an Intercontinental property in early 2016. Always a fan of the Intercontinental brand, I was thrilled to be invited to stay at the hotel during trips I made while preparing to move to Bordeaux just after Intercontinental took the hotel over. From the wine concierge, who can arrange tours and private tastings, to the 1000 square meter spa that sits on the top floor of the hotel it’s easy to see why this is the top hotel in the city.
1. Location, location, location
Bordeaux is a city where a mix of 18th century Neoclassical architecture meets Medieval. And the Place de la Comédie, where the Intercontinental Bordeaux sits in all its grandeur, is the very center of it all. You quite literally can not find a more central location to all of Bordeaux’s attractions.
The hotel is located in one of my favorite spots in Bordeaux and when I decided to move to the Wine Capital of the World, my apartment hunt fanned out in a rather small radius from the Grand Hotel in the neighborhood known as the Golden Triangle. It’s in the heart of the pedestrian area, a short walk from the gorgeous Place de la Bourse, tops the start of Rue Saint Catherine (the longest shopping street in Europe) like icing on a cake and has a tram stop right outside its doors to quickly whisk you to further afield attractions like La Cité du Vin.
2. The Urban Beach
Bordeaux is known by the nickname Sleeping Beauty because the porous limestone buildings were covered in a black crust from decades of weathering and pollution. The revitalization of the city saw the cleaning of them, returning the buildings to their honey colored glory.
While I love wandering the streets and gazing upon the lovely buildings, 347 of which are UNESCO listed buildings, I love taking in the city from above even more. With Intercontinental Bordeaux holding center court in the city, there’s hardly a better place take in a 360° view of Bordeaux.
You can climb to the top of the Pey-Berland Tower, Porte Cailhau and the bell tower of Basilique Saint-Michel. While they all have gorgeous panoramas to take in from the top of them, they don’t have a jacuzzi and you certainly can’t sip a champagne cocktail while taking in the view.
The rooftop is an urban beach available to spa goers and guests during the day and turns into the Night Beach from 7pm in the summertime.
3. Le Pressoir d’Argent Gordon Ramsay and Le Bordeaux Gordon Ramsay
I don’t go totally gaga over too many celebrities, but I’ve been a longtime fan of the foul-mouthed Gordon Ramsay. How excited was I when I learned his restaurant group would be taking over both restaurants at Intercontinental Bordeaux? Pretty much over the moon.
Tim and I have eaten at Gordon Ramsay restaurants around the world, including the now closed Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s in London, Gordon Ramsay Plane Food, Gordon Ramsay Steak in Las Vegas and Maze Grill in London. Now I can add his Michelin-starred Le Pressoir d’Argent and Brasserie Le Bordeaux Gordon Ramsay to our list.
Brasserie Le Bordeaux Gordon Ramsay takes the specialties of the south west of France and adds a British twist. I was thrilled to see probably Ramsay’s most well-known dish, beef wellington, on the menu and it was just as delicious as the previous times we’ve had it.
No matter whether you choose Brasserie Le Bordeaux Gordon Ramsay or splurge on a Michelin-starred meal at Le Pressoir d’Argent, you certainly won’t be disappointed with the Bordelais meets British fare.
4. The Spa
The Spa at Intercontinental is a gem. The design is inspired by Roman baths and has an indoor swimming pool, which is the only hotel pool in the city center. Believe me, when you’ve been touring all day in the summer heat that indoor pool can be heaven.
The spa also has steam rooms and a sauna. But not just any sauna – remember that incredible view I gushed about? The sauna has a picture window so you can take it in while you sweat out your impurities. We’ve seen our share of saunas and honestly never one with a view.
I couldn’t squeeze in a visit for a spa treatment when I stayed at Intercontinental Bordeaux during my apartment hunting trips because of my long to-do list, but I booked myself a 75-minute full body massage after I moved to Bordeaux. The massage was fantastic with just the perfect amount of pressure. It was just what I needed after lugging boxes and furniture on countless trips up the stairs while I moved in.
5. The Rooms
Intercontinental Bordeaux isn’t just grand from the outside. The rooms, each uniquely designed with their own colors and interior design, make you feel like what I imagine you’d feel like staying in the Palace of Versailles. Rich fabrics adorn the furniture, beds and walls. Yet, I still felt right at home.
The rooms are spacious too, which is also a find in a historic center of the European city. My executive room had a king size bed, a seating area and a desk which was perfect since I’ve always got work to do even when traveling. There’s a complimentary Nespresso and an assortment of Nespresso capsules along with tea. There’s also a variety of movies available for rent, which are available to watch as many times as you like in a 24 hour period.
The marble bathroom has heated floors and a separate shower and bath. I’m always a fan of rain showers. There’s also a separate toilet closet, which is very common (and practical!) in France.
Know Before You Go
My stay was provided by Intercontinental Bordeaux and I have been invited to press events at the hotel since moving to Bordeaux in order to bring you this story. However, Luxe Adventure Traveler maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and enthusiasm for travel are entirely our own.