News & Reviews Europe France Review: Bastide de Gordes, Provence, France

La Bastide de Gordes
Room type: Duc de Soubise Suite
Duration: 11th > 13th May, 2019

I know that we are all supposed to be angry all the time; it solves or causes global warming or something like that, yet Bastide de Gordes makes that so tough.  Just my luck I had to discover such a splendid place just before we all go extinct from a worldwide invasion of plastic bags and straws.  If only we had more time; if only I listened to the numerous people that recommended you earlier.  I like to believe I know it all – ask me anything and with enough time on Google I’ll give you the answer – but it turns out I just have good advise, which I sometimes listen to.

It’s not all stubborness.  I’m English, ergo preordained to only speak one language and be incredibly suspicious of anything that sounds too foreign.  La Bastide de Gordes, damn that’s not easy for my neanderthal brain to remember.  It’s no Startford-upon-Avon or Blackpool, that’s for sure.  That’s the excuse I’m going with.  That’s why I needed repeatedly reminding of this property to even take a look at it and even then, I only bothered as it was so close to Villa La Coste and we added it on as an afterthought.  There should have been no thought required in picking here.

If you want to know how to create the perfect guest experience, make sure it begins well, ends well, and the stuff in between is good too.  So in conclusion: make sure it’s all great.  Easy.  But definitely start well, as everything else flows smoothly thereafter.  At Bastide de Gordes, just as we pulled up outside, staff were immediately rushing toward the car to help us with the luggage, one of whom was the deputy GM.  If you ever need a sign of team work, cohesion and respect, it’s having someone with that much industry experience being prepared to do the smallest of tasks.  I was half-expecting the GM to be handing out free foot massages in the lobby.  That detail says more than I could of this wonderful property, as it immediately felt like we were dealing with people in love with the hotel as much as we were about to be.

From the outside there is nothing special about Bastide de Gordes; we could easily have driven past it.  It’s history is part of what makes it special, having originally been 5 different buildings, including a police station, but it’s the preservation and modernisation that impressed me the most.  And those views.  Damn, those sweet views.

Rather than waiting around the lobby for someone to grab some unnecessarily long sheet of sign-in forms, check in is done straight in the room, without any requirement to hand over a credit card.  There we got to see their beautiful room setup, within their beautiful room.  The mirrored TVs said it all: “welcome to your home”.  Whilst the real showstopper is the balcony, the small details are what most delighted us: in house designed toiletries; numerous accessories for women, such as make-up removal, and what has now started to feel normal, but should be celebrate: free minibar, free movies, including the latest films, such as Aquaman, but not even Bastide could turn it into a good film.

There were some technological flaws at work here.  I guess some were low priority; judging from the decor, their guests are of the age where they’re slightly more impressed by creepy paintings of old men and the occasional woman.  If this was Velvet Buzzsaw 2, these paintings would have come to life and softly spoken to you about the weather for 2 hours.  All the same, the AC was a struggle to get working, the electronic key sometimes didn’t play nice and the lack of plugs besides the bed and master switches for lights was a bit of a bother.  The biggest warning is to avoid this room if you’ve got a bad back, as the low ceilings did begin to appear a direct threat to my life when the guest bathroom walked into me.

Dinner was beautiful, breakfast even better and our confidence was so high we even went for Sunday brunch, normally the epitome of a luxury hotel con, where they serve you food destined for the 1970s whilst charging as if we live in the 2050s.  Not at Bastide, where it offered excellent value for money.  A buffet containing oysters, lobster, unlimited champagne, an outside grill for beer, shrimp, sea bass and much more, is my idea of a party.

They emphasis that you can ask for what you want and they’ll try and make it for you – an Indian couple ordered some Indian food.  If there’s still not enough choice here, they have another Italian restaurant in the village, or follow my lead and eat all the strawberry and lemon ice cream by the pool.

The outdoor pool isn’t too shabby either, with views over the Luberon valley.  In fact, everything here is impressive.  The kids club, with arcade machines and games consoles made me question whether it would be creepy for me to hang out there.  They have their own pool too, but I definitely draw the line hanging out there alone.  Luckily there’s an indoor pool, with sauna, hamman and experience shower.  There’s plenty of seating, within the gardens, on a terrace, by the bar, or in one of their restaurants.  Even though the property is open to anyone, you always feel you’re given priority as a guest.

A hotel can have great facilities, but it needs even better staff to go along with it to really make it stand out.  Bastide went to all the trouble to really understand our preferences; we didn’t book for dinner, but the receptionist already knew my food allergies and setup our table based on with room preferences.  The management team would always drop by to see how everyone is, with the GM coming by during breakfast to apologise for not having see us on day of arrival, as she was away.  There were never any mistakes.  It’s hard to put a value on how difficult it is to always be right, but having been married for 6 months I know what it’s like to regularly be wrong.

On departure there was a feedback form waiting for us.  They didn’t need it, they knew.  Deep down they knew.  That they need to get a jacuzzi, then I’ll give them 10/10.

The Good

  • The perfect place for a long weekend break, unless you’re coming from Sydney then 4 nights might be more appropriate.
  • We went down for breakfast at 9am, no one was there and we asked “are we the last or first here”.  We were the first.  That’s how relaxing this place is.

The Bad

  • The wife’s facial treatment was given a rather miserable 6/10

The Luxurious

  • The staff.  Every single one of them made us feel welcome and want to visit again, all with a clear pride to work here. There was never any expectation of a tip, in fact there was nowhere you could tip.

Conclusion

Book it. I would divorce my wife, just so I could marry her again here.

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Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan on 4th Dec '19

Dorsia Travel’s co-founder Tom Cahalan’s take on travel is reliably candid. Here’s his take on what’s good, bad, and luxurious.

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