Thursday, August 29, 2019

Holidays at the French Riviera? Here Are Our 5 Favorite Luxury Hotels.

The Côte d'Azur has been Europe’s number one destination for glamour and sunshine since before holidays began! Otherwise known as the French Riviera, the “azure coast” owes its name to the deep blues of the neighbouring Mediterranean Sea. Paving the way for artists of the past and the sun seekers of today, there’s much to be discovered on this sparkling stretch of coastline.

With the plethora of beaches that line the coast, from Saint-Tropez in the west stretching into the Italian Riviera in the east, there’s sure to be the ideal sunshine spot to suit any taste. Luxuriate on the beach club studded shores of either the public or private beaches in the coastal cities of Cannes and Nice. Or head to Saint Tropez’s famed Pampelonne Beach, made famous in the 1950s by Brigitte Bardot in And God Created Woman, for some sophisticated sea-side pampering. If you prefer more laidback hidden treasures, there are countless secluded coves in between where you can chase the day away.

Food & Drink
Ideal for foodies, the Côte d'Azur offers a diverse choice of local specialities and gourmet delights. Sample the Salade Niçoise in Nice, the Italian-inspired dishes in Menton and the Michelin star studded restaurants of Monaco and Cannes. In Marseille, you can enjoy the aniseed-based aperitif Pastis before tucking into the region’s signature Bouillabaisse fish stew, while Provençal rosés and vegetable Ratatouille can be enjoyed in most spots. The coastal blend of sun-drenched Mediterranean cuisine with the traditional herbs of southern France will be enough to set your mouth watering.

With the Côte d'Azur’s artistic history, wonderfully preserved century-old beauty meets modern day luxury. Surrounded by yachts and celebrities, there’s certainly an opportunity to live the high life – especially with some of the glamorous events on offer, including the Cannes Film festival and Monaco’s Formula One Grand Prix in May. Even simply wandering the cobbled streets of the coastal towns and exploring the countless galleries and museums along the way, you’ll be pulled into the timeless magic unique to the Riviera.

Many of the beach clubs stay open well into the evening, beginning with fancy wining and dining and turning to live music and DJs at night. The classic clubs belong to the likes of Monaco, Nice and Cannes, with the mot glitzy and glamorous venues residing in Saint Tropez. But various hidden gems can be found in between, offering summer fun for the young at heart along Mala Beach and the shores of Antibes and Juan les Pins.

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc

Where else to kick off a round-up of illustrious hostelries in the glitterati’s European summer hideout of choice than the institution whose pool area was immortalized via the lens of Slim Aarons back in the Jet Set heyday? Nestling on the southern tip of the Cap d’Antibes, this Gatsby-esque building—whose décor remains authentically Gallic without a hint of pastiche—has also kept its Hollywood-star credentials intact. Clientele these days get to lounge around a large heated seawater pool hewn from the rocks. Rooms start at €600 (around $665) per night.

Hôtel Lou Pinet

From the long-established to the gleamingly new: Hôtel LouPinet is a new opening stewarded by the founder of French prêt-à-porter brand Naf Naf Patrick Pariente, along with his daughters. Its 34 airy, super-relaxed rooms and suites—proper chunky keys in place of magnetic cards, naturellement—are housed in a trio of Mediterranean-style buildings, overlooking the largest swimming pool in Saint-Tropez. Each is characterized by interior designer Charles Zana’s penchant for Provence’s rich arts heritage. Rooms start at €600 (around $665) per night.

Cheval Blanc Saint-Tropez

This all-new hotel was purchased by Bernard Arnault’s LVMH Hotel Management in 2016. Nearly all of its 30 light-soaked rooms—calmly nautical, with their azure and ivory tones—offer pinch-me panoramas the yacht-studded Bay of Saint-Tropez. The Guerlain spa and Chef Arnaud Donckele’s gourmet restaurant Vague D’Or turn the glamour factor up to 12.
Rooms start at €600 (around $665) for a Classic Courtyard Room during low season.

Hotel Byblos

Brigitte Bardot—who once described Saint-Tropez as a “little nook of paradise”—served as muse for Lebanese hotelier Jean-Prosper Gay-Para to create the Byblos in St Tropez, whose floors have since also been stardust-sprinkled by the likes of Jack Nicholson and Beyoncé (it was where Mick and Bianca Jagger spent the night together, so to speak, post-nuptials). The 180 square meter, chromatically fearless, zig-zag-happy suite designed by Missoni Home in celebration of the hotel’s 50th anniversary (see below), which overlooks the pool, is as charming and therapeutic as any suite in the region. A night at the Missoni Suite starts at €4,500 (around $4,970).

Château Saint-Martin & Spa

If wooded serenity suits you better than coastal glitz, this newly reopened hotel, built on the ruins of a 12th century Templar fortress, offers views of the Mediterranean one way, the Southern Alps the other. Whether reclining by the pool, utilizing the tennis courts or being pampered at the Spa Saint-Martin by La Prairie, your mind will be captivated by the surrounding Provencal landscape that’s oiled the creative cogs of the likes of Picasso and Chagall. Rooms start at €330 (around $365) per night.

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