Luxury Hotels

Oh the beauty of the South of France and its exquisite luxury hotels…

Dom Pérignon and sashimi

Sometimes prior perception is that excellence, when it comes to luxury hotels, may be associated with such words as arrogant, haughty and/or old-fashioned. When referring to Oetker Collection’s Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Antibes, throw those assumptions away immediately, says the gal. This place is brilliant, not only for its setting, its product and its service, but it is truly up to date. Take the outdoor Champagne Lounge on top of the Eden-Roc, the hotel down by the water’s edge, which provides memorable sunset views. Sit here, on one of the comfy white sofas – they love white seating here at Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, even though it is so impractical. Choose your cocktail, or your Champagne label, and order one of the three sashimi platters as accompaniment: shown here is Dom Pérignon 2006, with the Ora King Salmon platter, and what you cannot see is the delightfully soft music turned by a deejay who was almost invisible.

Truffle omelette

I wanted to do luxury the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc way. Yes, there is gourmet dining, but I chose the more-relaxed Grill, where seafood is Gillardeau, china is Villeroy & Boch, and servers, sensibly in navy polos, white chinos and trainers, might present a ceviche that is imaginatively deconstructed, slices of fish on a plate. In the morning, there were already lessons in progress on at least one of the five clay tennis courts as I made my way, ready for its six a.m. opening, to the Technogym, in a quaint villa all to itself. You can breakfast à la carte on the terrace of the main building, philanthropically built in 1870 by Auguste de Villemessant, founder of Le Figaro, as a retreat for his writers. But, showered with Sisley products, so much easier to open than the Bamford also provided, I walked down the impressive 200-yard gravel processional from the main building, the Hôtel du Cap, back to the water’s-edge Eden-Roc. The breakfast buffet is gorgeous, with a chef on duty, and I had the specialty truffle omelette. Lavender-edged Dibbern china, wood and silver Peugeot mills, Curtelin jams and butters with the hotel’s crest illustrates how an overall picture of excellence is built up.

Flowers, everywhere

Back up at Hôtel du Cap, mature specialists were refreshing the flowers, which are absolutely gorgeous, everywhere. A staggering count of 465, which includes 12 gardeners for the 22-acre estate, look after this place, and all but 85, who are year-round, travel or relocate to another Oetker property during the annual winter closure. On the way back to Nice airport, my driver, who is part of the company’s wholly-owned transport division, recounted his last winter vacation when he drove from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. You can talk to anyone here (English levels are superb). I had a serious conversation at one point with a concierge, who treated me as a long-time regular even though this was my first stay. He agreed with a Financial Times article that the Macron effect means a sudden surge in interest in buying property in the area from 40-ish achievers, though all want a discount, which they usually get, coming in at around 7.5%.

Looking down from suite 33

I am so sorry I did not have more time to spend in this luxury hotel’s gorgeous central suite, number 33, up 30 original spiral stairs from the marbled lobby. As the photos shows, it looks down the 20 outside stone steps that lead to the walkway down to the blue Mediterranean. What you cannot see, so take my word for it, is that down there, by the water, you have to the left 32 cabanas that many of the 85% or so repeat guests, who stay up to nine weeks in one case, book immediately from year to year. Straight ahead is the main pool, and to the right is Eden-Roc, and a very impressive Eden Living boutique, where you can even buy any item in the hotel (I would pass on that white-upholstered furnishing, unless I could also buy the services of some of the really-lovely team here).