Two Contrasting Marriott Hotels In Bordeaux Docks Area 

by Sean Hillen

Though I’ve been to Roswell, I’ve never seen a spaceship – and certainly not one from my bedroom window.

Now I have thanks to the 4-star, Renaissance Bordeaux Hotel , for that was among one of the delightful views from my 7th floor junior suite.

Photo by Columbia Hillen

The 17-meter spaceship is a sculpture by British artist Suzanne Treister, part of Bordeaux’s public art, and it was clear to see from my vantage point. And not the only one. From the other side of the window, I could see over the iconic glass dome of La Cite du Vin, the city’s absorbing museum of wine.

Even from a distance, this 149-room property in the city’s old docks area presents an impressive architectural design – eight huge oblong-shaped pre-World War Two concrete silos stretching high into the sky, two of which comprise the hotel’s exterior facade.

Step inside and the view straight up through the aperture to the top of the hollow silos is downright dizzying. From there, a corridor leads to a colorful lobby – bright with exotic flower decor covering one wall and modern vibrant paintings, ‘bubble art’ on another. 

An assortment of seating featuring soft fountain-ink sofas and cane armchairs positioned among potted plants stand beside the open-plan ‘Gina Coffeeshop’ with gold-colored tables with dried plants in vases on them. 

Outside the floor-to-ceiling windows is an exotic garden with trees, bushes and a wood chip pathway and metal chairs and soft lacquered whicker backed armchairs with square wood tables for outdoor relaxation.

At the reception desk, friendly young people dressed casually, yet smartly, in black T-shirts offer a warm, easy-going welcome.

Our room, 722, featured modern decor, furnishings being a mix of wood and metal on a polished wood floor. An armchair and coffee table and a long leather-clad window seat with pillows which I stretched out on to gaze over Bordeaux’s old harbour complex created added comfort. 

Two aspects of Renaissance Bordeaux Hotel are particularly outstanding for the panoramic views they offer from the 9th floor. One is its indoor swimming pool with panoramic views and the other the roof-top ‘Gina Restaurant & Bar’ from whose open terrace we marvelled at a beautiful sunset while enjoying classic Italian dishes prepared by chef Fabien Courtois. 

My companion chose ‘la dolce vita’ – charcuterie with marinated vegetables, creamy burrata and pesto and while I eyed the trofie, a short thin, twisted pasta from Liguria, with carpaccio truffle and truffle cream. Meat and seafood comprised our mains along with grilled octopus with roasted vegetables, scalloped potatoes and bisque vinagrette. From a well-stocked wine cellar, we selected a biodynamic red wine, Aurore de Dauzac Margaux from the Médoc region with its strong oaky notes. Other dishes on the menu include cod, salmon and ravioli. Our evening experience was topped off with glasses of Italicus, a refreshing Torino-based liqueur dating from the 15th century made with bergamot, Sicilian lemons, rose petals and grapefruit.

Renaissance Bordeaux Hotel is well located in the city, within easy walking distance of the popular Halles du Bacalan food court, La Cite de Vin museum and the Bassins des Lumières located in the city’s former submarine base which hosts giant immersive digital exhibitions.

For a second, somewhat contrasting Marriott hotel, try the Moxy, a few steps away. Playful and trendy, twin palm trees stand outside in pots while inside is a tech-savvy ‘plug and meet’ gathering area with free speedy wifi and USB ports. 

The lobby area is awash with open desks and seating of all kinds including wooden chairs, soft armchairs and high stools, where guests, mainly young professionals, work on their computers. 

Shelves and other surfaces are covered with a potpourri of funky ornaments from model ships and toy figures to books and plants. Hanging from the ceiling is an American football and a swing with a skateboard as the seat. There’s also a table football game in the middle of the room and a vintage photo booth in the corner. A giant wall TV is tuned to a sports channel. Even the reception desk is innovative, acting as both check-in desk and a bar.

Our room, 518, featured a ceiling of bare pre-cast concrete blocks with clothes hangers being metal lattice attached to the wall. Reflecting minimalist decor, there was a wooden stool, a narrow wooden ledge, wide enough to put drinks or books on and a simple metal trestle for baggage.


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