The luxury Relais & Châteaux Le Saint James is located in Bouliac, a small village overlooking Bordeaux. The hotel, also named balcony of Bordeaux, was the first hotel designed by Jean Nouvel (2008 winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize). Inspired by the traditional tobacco-drying sheds of his home region, the renowned architect designed four adjacent buildings in tawny metal trellises.
The former restaurant, housed in an eighteenth century farmhouse, was transformed and enlarged with the new pavilion buildings in 1989. The architect designed the longère and pavilions to open out onto the natural surroundings. This generates the sensation of lunching, dining, sleeping and relaxing in the very heart of the vineyards. The stylish and discrete location was named Le Saint James, a nod to the well-known eponymous street in historic downtown Bordeaux.
The hotel features eighteen sunny rooms which all offer a panoramic view over the city of Bordeaux and the surrounding countryside. All of the 15 bedrooms and three suites have preserved the spirit of Jean Nouvel’s original design and have been finished with contemporary furniture created by famous designers such as Mies Van Der Rohe and Jean Prouvé. Great attention to detail is what makes Le Saint–James a remarkable hotel. All king size beds have a position at the correct height and direction to take in the outstanding views of Bordeaux, the vineyards and the River Garonne. All rooms have spacious bathrooms, satellite TV, mini bar, free wifi and air conditioning.
Each of the suites boasts a unique ambience. One has a private terrace, another one a real Harley Davidson as part of the décor. Each suite has a décor complemented by furnishings from famous designers and a unique atmosphere. A concept and experience that makes you feel you are living in the very midst of the vineyards.
Since many years the works of different artists have been presented at the Saint-James and the art gallery changes every three months. All the works are for sale and private viewings of the galleries are available. The gourmet restaurant “Le Saint-James” is home to top chef Nicolas Magie. His imaginative, delicious menus are inspired by daily market offerings and are continuously changing with the seasons. Huge bay windows offer panoramic views over the Merlot vines that produce the ‘Vin du Jardin’, which is available to try at the hotel only. For more information about the restaurant Le Saint-James please see our restaurant section.
The second restaurant a little walk away, Café de l’Espérance, offers a gourmet selection including grilled meat grilled over an open fire and irresistible pastries. The “Côté Cours” cookery school is situated in the contemporary conservatory overlooking the citrus gardens in front of the hotel.
With space for up to twelve people in each class, guests can choose to take part in a themed lesson or even visit the local market to buy the produce before getting started. Participants can sample their creations and share their experiences with one another. The complex also features an outside swimming pool, sauna, garden and lounge terrace. Hotel Le Saint-James is an icon in the Aquitaine region and an experience in itself.
Written by Sven & Frank