I'm a little surprised at all the excellent reviews, as most of the guests seemed less than impressed, and comments from friends in the area (including a couple who had celebrated a wedding there) hinted at poor service.
It's a beautiful place, the setting is wonderful, and the rooms are, to be fair, excellent. Service, unfortunately, is friendly but ineffectual. We were very happy about the hotel on arrival, then disappointed to learn that, contrary to statements in the Relais et Chateaux guide, they do not offer a children's programme. Just a minor setback. But the etra bed (in reality, not much more than a camp bed) we had for our 5 year-old was so flimsy and creaked so loudly that all 3 of us slept badly for the whole week, despite the otherwise peaceful setting. Toiletries were not replenished even once in the 6 nights we stayed. One day, we had only two bath towels, instead of the 3 we usually had, (or 4 which most hotels in this category lay out). I had previously seen a complaint on this site about the foam pillows, which I originally thought was a bit of nitpicking, but they are really uncomfortable, huge, horrid, pillows stuffed with hard little lumps of shredded foam!
We were severely jet-lagged and slept in late every morning, which meant we did not show up for breakfast for the first 3 days. We were, however, charged (and at a rate far higher than advertised) for it. To their credit, the charges were removed when we complained. In any case, breakfast was not great - items in the buffet took ages to be replenished, our table was twice set with dirty cups, and the food was just not that great. The food at dinner was better, and desserts were excellent, but quantities were very small (which was not the case when we ordered a snack by the pontoon), and small problems such as missing cutlery and delays in wine service (all of which took a long time to sort out) put a damper on an on an otherwise pleasant evening.
The lack of knowledge displayed by the staff was disappointing. They lend guests boots for a walk around the lake, so we asked about the walk, how long it took and where to find the path. Answers ranged from "2 and 1/2 hours" to "it can't be completed due to construction on the other side". We decided to see how far we got, and are glad we did, as we spent a very nice half hour walking all the way around the lake with our son, who stopped every other minute to collect pine cones, acorns, leaves, and other bric-a-brac until his arms could no longer hold them, with no sign of construction whatsoever...
It's really a stunning place, the pictures do it justice, but a little training and a little investment could go such a long way!
One very positive point: all the children and many of the adults loved the ducks!!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- On the Basque Coast, close to the Biarritz Beaches, the Château is tucked awayin the heart of lush greenery near the calm waters of the largest private lakes in France. The Hôtel gives its guests a unique, warm reception and offers elegant cuisine with original flavours. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chateau De Brindos Hotel Anglet