As soon as you set foot in the hotel, you think of the abundant creativity of René Lalique. Chandeliers engraved with vine leaves, furniture inlaid with carved glass, crystal panels... over a century after he founded his enterprise, the soul of this ‘poet of glass’ and master of Art Nouveau inspires new, made-to-measure creations for Lalique’s third new address. Opened in June 2018, this five-star hotel quickly joined the prestigious Relais & Châteaux collection.
In the bedrooms, you dive into the heart of the matter: the vineyard is your cocoon both night and day! From the windows, the vines unfold to infinity – while inside, delicate crystal grapes are everywhere, in the frosted oak of the furniture, on the soft bath towels and on the decorative bathroom taps.
It’s not every day that you stay in a building dating from the 13th century! As a guest, you can take every opportunity to admire the architecture, beautifully highlighted by the renovation. It’s a combination of styles: while the towers are medieval, the whole chateau was remodelled in the 17th century in a Hispano-Byzantine spirit that suits René Lalique, himself a lover of oriental decoration.
Armed with art books – particularly on René Lalique and his works – and books on the history of Sauternes and Bordeaux wines, you can sink into the library’s soft sofas for a reading break. Not without looking up from time to time to admire the elegant window frames filled with crystal panes.
The 17th-century chapel of the chateau can accommodate weddings, but it’s usually for a different kind of ceremony that hotel guests are invited here: an introduction to the sweet flavours of Sauternes wines. Between two cellars lined with barrels and facing an altar surmounted by stained glass windows emblazoned with Lalique’s emblematic motifs, the tastings match wines and appetisers.
With 350,000 bottles, the oldest of which dates back to 1895, the four cellars of the estate are a true monument to Bordeaux wines. In the vinotheque, where flasks and objects are exhibited as works of art, the bottles of Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey 1st Grand Cru Classé of Sauternes are the stars, alongside other wines from the Bordeaux vineyards.
Even before dinner, you feast your eyes here. Under the ceiling decorated with 120 leaves à la Champs-Élysées in lustrous gold crystal reminiscent of the amber hue of Sauternes, the tables are adorned with prestigious creations, Fürstenberg porcelain plates, Cristofle napkin rings or bottles with motifs of women and grapes as welcome plates, a nod to the Lalique heritage.
Grape musts, wine lees and herbal Sauternes infusions... chef Jérôme Schilling strives to innovate by creating dishes as unique in their flavours as in their production, inspired by local wines. Enjoy the seven-course tasting menu accompanied by grand cru of Sauternes (of course) – and experience some unusual flavours.
At breakfast, guests enjoy a final taste of the refined atmosphere of the place, between the crystal reflections and the soft colours of the vineyard. As always, the vine is omnipresent, even in the hues of the leafy armchairs and limestone soils.