At a Glance
The epitome of a French country escape, with lush gardens and an absolutely gorgeous vineyard setting, Les Sources is the type of place you won’t want to leave during the entirety of your stay.
- The serene spa that offers the renowned beauty company’s iconic wine treatments
- The many room options all set in different houses across the property
- The charming, casual restaurant with reclaimed wooden beams
- The spot-on French style of Alice Tourbier-Cathiard who re-envisions the interiors on a regular basis
A 30-minute drive from the city of Bordeaux, Les Sources de Caudalie is the domain of the Cathiard family, who have turned a serene plot of vineyard in the Graves region into a country estate that looks straight out of an art house French film. Small walkways meander through gardens, vegetable patches and past gurgling fountains, and wooden benches scattered throughout invite frequent rests to take in the beautiful panoramas.
The idyllic spa resort is framed by the vineyards of the family's Château Smith Haut-Lafitte, and centers around a stately manor building that fronts a serene lake (with two resident swans, bien-sûr). The 62 rooms are housed in freestanding clusters of buildings spread around the property. All are unique to their setting: there's the Pigeonnier, the former dovecote that houses just as single duplex suite; La Bastide des Grands Crus has wine-themes rooms; and the cute Fishermen's Village cottages, perched on stilts, front the rolling vineyards. It sounds like this might veer into the territory of kitsch, and in the hands of a lesser interior designer it may have, but Alice Tourbier-Cathiard has the stylish authority to pull it all off. In fact, all of the interiors – rooms and common spaces – showcase such an abundance of flair that you wish you could ask her to transform your bedroom back home.
No two rooms are alike, and all feature their own unique details — a wallpaper covered in a spray of colorful birds; birdcages transformed into light fixtures; antique furniture and vibrant fabrics. In 2014, twelve new suites were unveiled and these feature a more modern design scheme. The contemporary interiors lose some of the county-chic ambience of the other rooms, but these new suites are spacious, with sitting rooms, and are a comfortable choice for families. Some of them come with large terraces and all are in close proximity to the stunning new indoor pool, housed in a soaring wood-beamed construction with large picture windows, and the new Rouge bistro, a more casual dining option.
The property is not so large that being based in a room in one of the outlying houses is a draw-back, but if you want to be close to the spa, it's best to request rooms in the Bastide des Grans Crus or in the Comptoir des Indes. And who would not want to be close to the spa? Multi-level, hushed and beautifully designed, it is the true draw of this property. Twenty treatment rooms on three levels offer the full gamut of Caudalie's famous Vinothérapie, a grape/wine-based spa program developed by Alice's sister, Mathilde Thomas-Cathiard.
Wine lovers, meanwhile, will be thrilled by the proximity to the acclaimed Château Smith Haut-Lafitte, which holds the much-coveted Grand Cru classification and that can be visited by guests (and non-guests). Les Sources also offers fabulous wine tastings in a clubby room on the top floor of its manor house with 360-degree views of the vineyards, which, incidentally, are dotted with pieces of contemporary art, as the Cathiards are fervent collectors.
At the end of a day, there's the choice of three restaurants, ranging from the charming Rouge, a casual spot with a tapas-style sharing menu to the one-Michelin-starred gastronomic temple La Grande Vigne, though the favorite might be La Table du Lavoir, housed in a soaring dining room whose rustic wooden ceiling beams were reclaimed from the Lafite-Rothschild vineyard.
Who Should Stay
Thanks to its focus on wine, spa and serenity, Les Sources is best for a couple or friends traveling together. It's isolated in the countryside outside Bordeaux, so best-suited as an add-on towards the end of a trip, when you have exhausted your inner sightseer and just want a beautiful place to relax (though, of course, Bordeaux wine tours can be organized). There are three restaurants on the premises, so it best lends itself to a 2-3 night stay – though once you arrive, you may wish you had booked more nights in this special place.
Written by Simone Girner