115 Rue Georges-Bonnac
Tel: 33 5 56 90 16 16
Located just outside the historic city center in a largely commercial district, the 68-room Burdigala caters more to business types than vacationers and is uninspiring despite its four-star rating. That said, the rooms are tastefully done with mass-produced furnishings that nonetheless manage to reproduce a vaguely antique air. The "tradition" rooms are decorated in cheery Provençal shades of blue and yellow set off by burgundy carpeting, while "luxury" rooms are done in more formal and somber dark woods and parquet floors, with marble-topped double sinks in the bathrooms. For something less standard, book the "Le Corbusier" or "Art Déco" suite; each is furnished in a manner befitting its namesake.
79 Cours du XXX Juillet
Tel: 33 5 56 52 16 80
Old-fashioned (but refurbished in 2006), the three-star, 100-room Normandie is a great bargain in a prime location on Bordeaux's main street of wine tasting. Balconies of upper-floor "Grand Confort" rooms afford sensational views of the city and the Garonne River—but for that pleasure, you pay twice as much, and the rooms still suffer from the bland, modular decor shared by lower-level accommodations. At least the boring interiors are usually offset a bit by floor-to-ceiling windows framed by heavy drapes.
2 Rue de Condé
Tel: 33 5 56 52 60 44
The Hôtel Majestic is an inexpensive, friendly B&B in a white-shuttered, balconied 18th-century townhouse. The 49 rooms are furnished in a modern take on French Provincial style, and not much changes as you go up in room category (and price), except for the size. The standard rooms are extremely cramped, so it's worth it to bump up to the supérieure or privilège levels. The location is excellent, close to the Grand Théâtre, in a happening part of town just off the riverside Quai Louis-XVIII and Quai de la Douane.
3 Place Camille Hostein
Tel: 33 5 57 97 06 00
A five-mile trip from the city center, across the River Garonne in the hilltop village of Bouliac, this 18-room faux-industrial palace of eccentric minimalism was designed by France's premier architect, Jean Nouvel. Although the place is calm and starkly elegant, its pretentious take on art and kitsch can be wearing (Room 9 has a Harley-Davidson parked in it). But the views, the inventive lighting, and the striking navy swimming pool make up for a lot. The very formal Michelin-starred restaurant serves outstanding food—at outstanding prices. The hotel also has a cheaper postmodern brasserie called Le Bistroy, as well as a café, La Rôtisserie, for light meals.
2-5 Place de la Comedie
Tel: 33 5 5730 4444
Following a lavish renovation of this city center grande dame, Bordeaux finally has the luxury hotel it so sorely lacked. Opposite the magnificent eighteenth-century Grand Théatre, the 150-room Regent Grand perfectly mirrors the aristocratic elegance of this lovely city, thanks to the exquisite interiors of designer Jacques Garcia. Black-lacquer wrought-iron lamps with pleated silk shades soften the reception area, which is furnished with striped-velvet barrel chairs and potted palms, and rooms are done in pretty nineteenth-century damasks and wallpapers, with reproduction Napoleon-something furniture. The signature restaurant, Le Pressoir d'Argent, is a stunner with a rocaille decor (seashells set into elaborate plaster moldings) and a sublime seafood menu. There's also a lively wine bar, a brasserie that offers great people-watching from the sidewalk terrace, and a full-service spa scheduled to open this summer.
Chemin de Smith Haut-Lafitte
Tel: 33 5 57 83 83 83
Tel: 888 465 8383
Set among vineyards a 20-minute drive from Bordeaux, this luxurious spa specializes in wine-flavored treatments it calls Vinothérapie. You don't just drink the wine; you can bathe in it: merlot wraps, sauvignon massages, and cabernet body scrubs are among the treatments offered. The hotel itself has two restaurants and 49 rooms and suites installed in five buildings scattered around the grounds, including a few in the former boathouse, and a suite called L'île aux Oiseaux perched on stilts over a pond. The decor of each guest room is unique, although—no surprise—one of the buildings has a wine theme running throughout.
Closed the first two weeks of January.