A Meeting of Fine Crystal and Fine Wine

Crystalmaker Lalique turns a 400-year-old château and winery into a hotel where the French ‘art de vivre’ thrives.
Text by Laine McDonnell 
Photo Courtesy of Lalique

In the southwest corner of Bordeaux, France, is the Sauternes region, renowned for its golden-coloured wines. Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey has stood stately atop a hill in this region for 400 years, enveloped every autumn by the fog that causes beneficial botrytis fungus to grow on its grapes and give its Premier Grand Cru wine a distinct sweetness and hints of apricot and citrus.

The microclimate created by the Garonne River and Ciron tributary causes a cool fog to descend in the early evenings and stay through the mornings.

“The fogs appear and make the region feel like you’ve arrived in a mystical place — it really is what drew me to this property, along with the historical feel to the place,” says Silvio Denz, CEO of the French crystal company Lalique. In 2018, he transformed the Château into a hotel, bedecked with Lalique crystal.

Denz, like Lalique itself, has long had an appreciation of beautiful things in many forms. He is an art collector, a wine connoisseur, and an entrepreneur in the business of luxury goods. Since the 19th century, Lalique has crafted all kinds of objets d’art based on the aesthetic of its founder, artist René Lalique. It also delves into architectural projects, including the Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey hotel.

The hotel is “a fusion between the gold of Sauternes and the crystal of Lalique,” says Denz. It is “a place where French savoir-faire and savoir-vivre are showcased to their fullest.” He wants guests to experience the “art de vivre à la française” (French way of life) to its fullest. “In France, there still is a tradition for wine and gastronomy, aesthetics in architecture and landscapes. This is what guests can experience at Lafaurie-Peyraguey.”

 

The colours of the land

Lady Tina Green and Pietro Mingarelli worked as a team to transform the Château’s interior. Lady Green is married to billionaire retail businessman Sir Philip Green, who was knighted in 2006 for his service to retail. She teamed up with Mingarelli to found Green & Mingarelli Design, which does interior design for yachts, aircraft, and other spaces.

For the Château, their design inspiration came from the surrounding landscape.

“We were visually attracted and inspired by the vineyards, the colour of the earth, the grapes and their changing colours, which went from a beautiful gold to a deep red,” says Lady Green. “We divided the fabrics into shades of greens and deep reds to depict the colour of the leaves and grapes of the vineyards.

This laid the path to the red and green theme throughout the hotel.” 

The lounge features natural ebony wood, but with green lacquer on the legs of the chairs and coffee tables. Wine-coloured silk pillows embroidered with golden grape designs add a rich contrast to the dark-green velvet chairs upon which they rest.

In the library, Lady Green and Mingarelli gave the walls a deep red patina for a warm, inviting feeling. The wood in the library is also natural ebony, but this time with a red lacquer.

The bedrooms feature a bleached oak made pale “to match the soft tone of the earth of the vineyards, giving a very relaxing feeling,” says Lady Green. The same oak is used for the bar, but the bar was “stained in a colour which was a melange of the earth and surrounding trees of the area.” This darkened oak brings out the colour of Lalique’s golden crystal inlays, which line the outside of the bar.

 

The microclimate created by the Garonne River and Ciron tributary causes a cool fog to descend in the early evenings and stay through the mornings.

“The fogs appear and make the region feel like you’ve arrived in a mystical place — it really is what drew me to this property, along with the historical feel to the place,” says Silvio Denz, CEO of the French crystal company Lalique. In 2018, he transformed the Château into a hotel, bedecked with Lalique crystal.

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