Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc
The lowdown It’s only one of the most famous hotels in the world, with a guest book boasting names like Coco Chanel and F Scott Fitzgerald to Madonna and Kate Moss, and that’s because the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc does old world, luxe elegance like no one else. The hotel, a legendary imposing white palatial mansion nestling on the tip of the French Riviera’s Cap D’Antibes, has just undergone a teensy bit of a facelift too. They’ve reportedly spent 45 million euros updating this historical gem, installing mini bars (yay!) and flat screen TVs; and a few years back, the famously ‘cash only’ hotel even started accepting cards (I’ll let my oligarch know).
Arriving at the hotel is a bit like visiting New York for the first time – it’s been immortalised so many times in pictures and in print (Tender Is The Night was set here), everywhere you look feels thrillingly familiar. From the vast sweeping path through the hotel’s rose garden down to the sea (a dramatic setting for Chanel’s 2011 cruise show), to that crystal blue infinity pool forged into the cliffs (everyone from Lily Allen to Johnny Depp has been spotted dipping into it) to the five-star restaurant overlooking the Med (Leo’s a fan) there are iconic settings at every turn.
The rooms The 70 rooms in the main building are all kitted out in Duchess of Windsor grand French villa style – floral print cushions, antique mahogany writing desks, white shutters and La Prairie goodies in all of the marble bathrooms. If you find the 30-second saunter down to the infinity pool way too tiresome every morning, then you could opt for a junior suite in the Eden Roc part of the hotel which is directly perched on the Med - Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand both love the master suite here which has its own garden, Jacuzzi and views of VIPs mooring their yachts as they come ashore for a Bellini in the Piano Bar.
Out and about Of course the insanely glam showbiz towns of St Tropez and Cannes are moments away, but if you’re looking for somewhere a little less pap friendly then you could venture up into the Cap’s sister hotel, the Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa, a totally unique boutique hideaway right up in the hills of Vence, on the site of a 12th century castle. It’s high-end living at its most discreet – think Balmoral to the Cap’s Buckingham Palace. There are panoramic views across the Med, lush olive groves and food served up by a two-Michelin starred chef, as well as a La Prairie spa (try the caviar facial). And treat yourself to some Grand Cru in the fabulously medieval wine cellar. You might even run into regular visitors, Brad and Angie, down here.
Eating and drinking Be kind to yourself - remember to bring Spanx. Both hotels pride themselves on their haute cuisine: the Restaurant Eden Roc has its very own chocolate factory and the fish (try the wild sea bass) is legendary. The Chateau Saint-Martin is a destination gastronomic paradise - and if you’re lucky you’ll even get to meet Yannick Franques, the Michelin-starred chef who serves up fabulous creations like Mystery of the Egg (mystery solved by me in the name of duty – it’s parmesan cream and brioche), Roast Pigeon and Strawberry Mosaic. Oh, and did we mention he’s also drop dead gorgeous?
Perfect for... The Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa is one of those beautiful hidden holiday gems you want to tell everyone about but don’t dare in case the genteel paradise gets overrun – in fact I’ve said way too much already. And as for the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc? It’s not just a holiday - it’s the eighth wonder of the world. Meet an oligarch, get your boyfriend to roll three birthdays into one for a mini break or just save up and treat yourself to just one night here. It’s paradise on sea.
The details Rooms at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc (tel: 00 33 4 93 61 39 01; hotel-du-cap-eden-roc.com) start at 490 euros for a standard room. Rooms at the Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa (tel: 00 33 4 93 58 02 02; chateau-st-martin.com) start at 360 euros. British Airways (tel: 0844 493 0758; ba.com/nice) offers a seven-night fly drive to Nice from £279 pp including return flights from London Heathrow or London City and Avis Inclusive Car Hire.
By Emily Dean