No sea shimmers like the Mediterranean, and it is hard to imagine a more perfect place to experience its wonder than the French Riviera. This part of the South of France has lured great painters, drawn leading writers and captivated the hearts of travelers.
Somerset Maugham was perhaps a little harsh with his description of the Côte d’Azur as “a sunny place for shady people”—but he did perfectly capture the mix of serious wealth with natural beauty and a perfect climate. Who wouldn’t want to escape from the leaden skies of the north European spring and early summer? With some savoir faire, it’s easy to create a memorable Mediterranean experience on the Côte d’Azur.
Here are the best luxury hotels on the French Riviera:
Copyright: Yves Duronsoy
This grand hotel’s name, Les Roches Rouges, refers to the distinctive rocks that characterize the Esterel—a stretch of coast running from Cannes to St Raphaël. It’s here that you find this hotel right by the sea with outstanding Mediterranean views. Guests quickly become absorbed in a background of blue as the hotel’s design and ambience are all about maximizing the sense of light. Simple but elegant interiors echo the azure of sea and sky and the warm reds of the wild rocks. The hotel creates a mood of calm where guests feel the flavors and fragrances of Provence. And the seawater pool sets the skin tingling too.
With a prominent location at the heart of the Cannes waterfront and its own private Croisette beach, the Hôtel Martinez has offered its distinctive style of service since 1929. The hotel blends its Art Deco heritage with the latest contemporary styling by designer Pierre-Yves Rochon. Despite the grandeur and the scale of the exterior, the vibe is never too formal and is an ideal complement to the vibrancy and glamour of Cannes. The Hôtel Martinez quietly goes about the business of being a bit greener with its commitment to sustainability marked by its Green Globe certification.
Le Cap Estel sits on a peninsula northeast of Nice, at the water’s edge with views of the Mediterranean. With so many vantage points to take in the beauty of the Côte d’Azur, it’s easy to imagine staying in this private boutique hotel and resting under the swaying canopy of mature trees and palms. However, that would mean missing out on the many opportunities to explore the French Riviera. The Le Cap Estel’s team has expertise in shaping experiences to remember—the sort of things that go beyond the guidebook to dwell long in the memory.
For more than 100 years, travelers come back repeatedly to Saint Jean Cap-Ferrat to recapture their sense of wonder at this Four Seasons Hotel’s magical setting and atmosphere. From the soft, dappled light in the private gardens to the uninterrupted sea views from the pool restaurant Club Dauphin right at the edge of the Mediterranean, the Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat offers everything needed for a complete escape. A commitment to local and fresh ingredients drives a culinary offer designed to stimulate the senses and prompt the discovery of innovative new tastes.
With a history stretching back to 1870, this Antibes Oetker Collection hotel really knows how to look after those guests who crave peace and privacy. Whether you arrive by private yacht at the hotel’s own jetty or sweep in from Nice airport, there’s an immediate feeling of welcome and individual attention. Antibes presents the relaxed face of the Côte d’Azur. Its Old Town echoes the history and culture of the region while the superyacht marina highlights the enduring appeal of time spent on the water. The Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc’s setting also offers a variety of chic to cool restaurants and a new pool bar by the large heated seawater pool, hewn from the rocks—an iconic place to enjoy from sunrise to sunset.
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Nel-Olivia Waga is the Founder & Publisher of HER/etiquette. She is a Brand Consultant, an Author and Entrepreneur, most passionate about well-being, travel, nature and art. Her work can regularly be seen in her column on FORBES. Her consultancy YMPACT LAB, creates innovative marketing projects for luxury brands based on passion, purpose and sustainable impact.
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