La Cour Carrée Review – brilliantly chic boutique hotel in Bordeaux
Last week we had the pleasure of a short city break, staying in a boutique hotel in Bordeaux. For only the third time in over seventeen years of parenthood, this one was without any kids.
The Grown Ups.
I know, right? Ridiculously exciting and worryingly abnormal, all at the same time.
(NB don’t fret, we didn’t just abandon them – a grown up moved in for a few days to make sure the house was still standing when we got home)
We headed off at an ungodly hour of the morning to catch a train to Bordeaux. No, we didn’t fly – I’m married to a non-flyer, so that doesn’t happen. And no, that’s not stressful, it’s unbelievably easy and train strikes notwithstanding it’s stress free and a doddle to do.
We Brits do have a tendency to play it safe when we go venturing – we’re fond of retaining as much of our comfort zone as possible, and sticking to International Chains that we know. I do get it – the first time we had a European holiday with the kids we used an Ibis Styles for the stopover in Bourges to break up the 12hr drive from Cherbourg.
I’m also ashamed to admit that the first time we visited Bordeaux with the kids, we visited MacDonald’s for dinner.
I know, I know.
I promise I do know better now – it makes me hang my head in despair when I think of it.
But that’s what travel’s about, right? Broadening your horizons, stepping out of your comfort zone and experiencing the new.
So this time there were no big hotel chains (or fast food joints) for us. Oh no.
We had a couple of nights booked at a fabulously chic-looking boutique hotel in the city centre – ‘La Cour Carrée‘ – and we just hoped it was as good as it looked…
We took the tram from Bordeaux St Jean train station right through to the Quinconces stop (it runs right alongside the riverfront, and it’s a pretty nice introduction if you’ve not been to Bordeaux before), and then following our map we had about a 7 or 8 minute walk to the hotel. It was tucked down a rather narrow back street, and on first approach we weren’t sure we’d picked the right hotel after all.
But first impressions are deceptive, we all know this. And La Cour Carrée is no exception…
La Cour Carrée is a chic boutique hotel in Bordeaux
A few steps further on, and it suddenly looked sharply chic and contemporary – sitting beautifully within the old stones of Bordeaux.
As you step in the doors, the reception desk is immediately on your right – and the welcome was unfailingly warm and smiling, whoever was on duty throughout our stay. Check in was quick and easy, and we were given Room 5 – right at the back of the very deep property, on the ground floor.
To be honest, by this point we were so tired we just needed a place to lay our tired heads – if it was clean, it would do.
And it was clean – but it was also welcoming, bright, airy and oh-so-stylish. The minimalist design was a perfect juxtaposition to the old building with the exposed stone, and we loved the combination of the two.
The room wasn’t enormous, but was more than enough for our short stay.
This photo was taken from the door, and shows the whole room – a built-in wardrobe is directly at my left elbow, and to the left of the mirror on the far side is the bathroom door (bath with shower over, plus loo and sink). The double doors don’t open onto a terrace – there is just enough room for that pot plant, and the wall of the building rises on the third side of the triangle to the right. But it’s not overlooked, and it allowed so much light and air in that we loved those doors, throwing them open as soon as we were in the room, and only closing them when we left for the day!
Breakfast was served until 10.30, so there was no need for an unwillingly early start, and there were plentiful supplies of the usual – croissant, preserves, toast, ham & cheese and yoghurts. Coffee was made fresh (and was excellent, of course…) when we arrived, with individual cafetiéres at the table.
And location is excellent too – Bordeaux is connected by trams, and as I already said you’re just a few minutes walk from your nearest tramstop at Quinconces. But most of the time we just walked – you’re also only a 10 minute walk from the very heart of Bordeaux – you’ll be at the steps of the glorious Opera House, right at the top of Rue Sainte-Cathérine in under ten minutes, including a dawdle to admire a shop window or pretty building or car being used as a vineyard…
We’re totally converted to Boutique Hotel stays for short breaks – every experience is unique, there’s a personal level of service and local knowledge which is second to none… and why on earth would you travel to find something you can find anywhere else? And if you happen to be looking for a boutique hotel in Bordeaux, I strongly recommend you check La Cour Carrée first.
A Classic room at La Cour Carrée is currently half price at €150 per night – standard fee in September is €165 per night.