To start off this post I must say this was the first and last holiday that I let Harry organise......Harry had a dream of breaking up his busy year by fishing in the South of France. He booked a beautiful Gite in the Lot near to Bordeaux and we planned to go away for my birthday. The Saturday before we were due to leave I went out for a birthday lunch with my mum and shopping in Chester. It was a fantastic day only marred slightly by Harry sounding less than happy on the phone wondering what time we would be home.....On arrival home Harry looked thoroughly ill leaving me and mum to wonder what had happened in the short space of time we had been out.
It turned out he had an email from the owner of the villa to say it had been flooded and we were no longer able to stay there. He did helpfully inform us he had a second property in Teste de Buch in Arcachon.... Not the fishing Harry had dreamed of but a holiday by the coast would fit just as well. The one catch was that it wasn’t available for the first two nights of our stay but the owner said he would pay for the extra nights in a hotel of our choosing! Great thought Harry and I …let’s stay somewhere really nice, but where? This was our first holiday to France together and neither of us really knew anything of the hotels in that area.
In comes Harry's fantastic Aunt Caroline who lives just outside of Bordeaux. She recommended Les Sources de Caudalie which some of you may be familiar with for the world-renowned Spa and beauty products which bear the name Caudalie. This hotel remains still to the day our favourite hotel in France and maybe our favourite of all the hotels we have been to. We were also in luck as they are dog friendly. We booked two nights with them which I have to say was an eyewatering price of 216 euros a night and this was for their standard room. We were expecting great things!!
So, after an eight-hour car journey we turned up a track to be greeted by the most glorious sunset over their vineyards - so far we were not disappointed. We were greeted with a glass of wine from their own grapes which also now turns out to be one of our favourites (Smith Haut Lafitte) and we were told they had booked at table at their casual restaurant La Table du Lavoir for us for dinner. They then showed us to our beautiful room where we freshened up after the long journey and gave Isla her dinner. They were fine with us leaving Isla in our room as she is house trained and doesn’t bark. They also provided a bed, dog bowls and some yummy treats for her as well as making sure the room was ground floor with double doors opening out onto lawns. They do recommend you keep your dog on a lead though when not in your room which is understandable.
Dinner was fantastic and we enjoyed the night with another bottle of wine sat outside with Isla looking across one of their many ponds. Breakfast is typical of any plush hotels with the standard continental and cooked options just spruced up a bit more for the clientele.
After our wonderful two days we paid the bill and set off to Teste de Buch hoping to start our villa holiday.....This was not to be! We spent four hours driving round trying to find the villa promised and as some of you may have guessed by now we had been conned!! Neither of the properties existed and we were left stranded with ten days until we were due to return home.
We did what anyone would do and piled back into the car and spent another four days at Caudalie drinking wine and eating the fantastic food and Harrys Aunt showed us just how fantastic that area of France is. Before booking the second time though I found a hotel group called SLH (Small Luxury Hotels) which Caudalie is a part of and spent a couple of minutes filling out a form which allowed us free room upgrades and complimentary breakfast....well worth it!!
The spa treatments must be tried, the outdoor swimming pool was incredibly chic and for those wanting to swim more privately there is an indoor pool which is toasty warm. As well as La Table du Lavoir they have a Michelin starred restaurant La Grand'Vigne which we have not had the opportunity of eating at in three years due to how far in advance it books up! To add to their restaurants, they have Rouge which serves tapas style food and also acts a delicatessen where you can buy yummy cold cuts and cheeses or just enjoy a drink on the veranda. To continue the drinking, they have the French Paradox bar which is open till late and the bar staff will happily concoct a special creation for how you feel that evening or you can choose from their extensive drinks list.
I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone regardless of whether you have dogs as it is just a fantastic boutique hotel that makes you feel like you are as far away as possible from the real world. It’s a blissful bubble of idyllic countryside, wonderful food and fantastic service. I would always give it a rating of 10 out of 10.
Isla says she would give it an 8 out of 10 as she loved the many walks, yummy French food she got to try and all the attention! The only thing she says let it down is that I didn’t let her on the bed in our room which she thought looked super comfy.
We finished the holiday at another fantastic hotel half way between Caudalie and the ferry to break the journey up. This will be the subject of the next blog.
We very much hope this information was useful and if you have any hints or tips please let me know!
Until next time,
Licks and Cuddles
Vicky and Fur Babies