By Larry Olmsted
Alice Tourbier and her husband, Jérôme, opened this 61-room spa- and winecentric hotel in 1999. Using reclaimed local materials, they created an intimate, village-like complex of contemporary buildings that blend seamlessly with the surrounding lush vineyards of Château Smith Haut Lafitte.
Tourbier’s parents have operated the Château Smith Haut Lafitte winery and estate for almost a quarter century, and her sister Mathilde founded global natural beauty line Caudalie Paris using grapes, seeds, and vines from the family vineyards. The family’s passions intersect on this acclaimed grand cru estate, where hotel guests can explore the winery and the spa features Caudalie Paris products, also offered as guestroom amenities. (Tourbier personally chose all the furnishings and antiques and decorated each room.) Guests are greeted with a glass of Haut Lafitte or a cup of herbal tea from the Caudalie collection.
It’s all about food and wine, from a merlot wrap at the spa to cooking classes at the hotel’s Michelin-starred La Grand’Vigne to sommelier-led winetastings and private vineyard tours. “My parents are happy to meet our guests,” declares Tourbier. “They open the door to their home, share a glass of wine, and do a personal tour.”
The hotel’s cellar houses bottles from the estate dating to 1878. Get the inside stomp on winemaking on Caudalie’s interactive tour, In the Winemaker’s Path, which lets guests play chef de culture (vineyard manager) or maître de chai (cellar master).
More Family-Run Hotels:
Hotel Hassler, Rome, Italy
Kristiania Lech, Lech, Austria
Baur au Lac, Zürich, Switzerland
Palazzo Avino, Ravello, Italy
Les Prés d’Eugénie, Eugénie-les-Bains, France
Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, May 2014.