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Whether you’re after a boho-chic bolthole or a seaside grande dame, these are the most stylish South of France hotels to soak up the glamour this year
France has lifted its UK travel ban, allowing Brits to head back to our European neighbour for family ski holidays and stays at the best hotels in Paris for a city break this winter. But if you’re more about the glitz, glamour and sunshine of the south, you’ll want to check into the most stylish South of France hotels for a good dose of vitamin D with your next trip to the continent.
BEST SOUTH OF FRANCE HOTELS
Drenched in a timeless glamour that draws the likes of Beyoncé and Kate Moss to park up their yachts in its marinas, the South of France’s French Riviera or Cote d’Azur, is also a place of great natural beauty, with rugged countryside fragrant with local herbs and plants that flourish in the glittering Mediterranean sunshine. Its proximity to the UK makes it ideal for getting away for a long weekend, and the weather is mild enough even in January to make this as good an option for a winter break as it is for a longer summer holiday.
Our pick of chic South of France hotels each have their own character and charm for an unforgettable return to the country. Terre Blanche, for instance, is a sleek place to stay and ideal if you’re looking to reunite with friends or family over the coming months. Other French Riviera hotels are bijou, boutique and tailor-made for a couples’ break or much-needed pampering time with friends – or even in blissful solitude.
This being France, food is one of the main attractions of any trip and our favourite South of France hotels are all wonderful places to eat – some with Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Le Chantecler at Le Negresco. Most of these hotel restaurants focus, quite naturally, on Provençal and other Mediterranean cuisine based on the exquisite seafood and other produce that you’ll see displayed at markets around the region, including Nice’s Cours Saleya.
Check out our ultimate edit of the best South of France hotels for 2022.
Covid-19: Read the latest government guidance for visiting France.
One of the prestigious places in the Leading Hotels of the World portfolio, Lily of the Valley is a chic wellness sanctuary perched on a hilltop in the midst of nature reserves yet only 20 minutes from the sparkle of Saint-Tropez. Views from your Philippe Starck-designed room or suite (some of which come with their own pool) beckon you down to the golden sweep of the Plage de Gigaro, where the hotel has its own exclusive beach club.
Fitness fiends flock here for the extensive wellness centre, which includes a snow shower, an indoor pool and its own restaurant with nutritious plant-based fare, and which hosts everything from cleansing detox programmes to yoga retreats.
Refreshingly bling-free given its dazzling location overlooking the celebrity magnet of Pampelonne Bay, this boutique, slightly bohemian hideaway oozes romance in bedrooms blending farmhouse and boudoir chic – some with freestanding claw-foot baths and/or four-posters.
Dotted with statuary and a lagoon-style pool, Villa Marie nestles in a pine grove amid palm and lemon trees, cacti and lavender bushes, some of which provide the ingredients for its cosseting spa treatments. Much of the wine served in the candlelit restaurant with its sublime terrace comes from the hotel’s sister vineyard in Provence.
Set in heavenly isolation midway between Provence and the French Riviera yet only half an hour from the Mediterranean beaches, all-suite and villa resort Terre Blanche offers a serene escape yet something to keep just about everyone happy and entertained – a vast and elegant spa with luscious treatments by Provence with Valmont and KOS Paris, two championship par-72 golf courses, and a kids’ club and dedicated children’s pools.
The sumptuous cuisine on offer ranges from fine dining in Le Faventia with its Provençal view to salads, freshly grilled fish and pizzas beside the infinity pool and flower-draped fountain.
A grande dame hotel, this pink-domed icon at the head of Nice’s Promenade des Anglais is unique and thrilling. Hotel Negresco‘s eclectic mix of past clientele including Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Salvador Dalì is mirrored in its unexpected melding of rare antiques and historical paintings with striking modern art by the likes of sculptress Niki de Saint-Phalle.
This is also reflected in the rooms and suites representing different periods of art, from the Louis XIII era onwards. La Rotonde is a chic brasserie well suited to those booked into one of the colour-drenched family suites, while the Michelin-starred Le Chantecler showcases the extraordinary talents of chef Virginie Basselot.
Refined, understated and very French, Le Gray d’Albion is where A-listers come to recharge their batteries while also making the most of this ritzy, fast-paced resort town known around the world for its international film festival. The hotel’s private beach pontoon invites you to enjoy wakeboarding, waterskiing and family rides on the Flying Fish, accompanied by views of the Lérin islands.
There’s also a tennis club on the doorstep, a kids’ club and access to the spa at the sister hotel Le Majestic. Dining ranges from cinematically sophisticated in Paradiso Nicole & Pierre to laidback on the pontoon or in beachside Mademoiselle Gray.
Classic chic abounds at this Riviera icon with its stirring views stretching from Nice to Monaco, Michelin-starred Provençal cuisine and lively pool club. Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat’s rooms, suites and the 13-person villa (perfect for multigenerational holidays or other get-togethers with family or friends) are decorated in soothing whites and neutrals and infused with the intense light of the Med.
The most desirable of the suites are those with private infinity pools sheltered by rocks to form what feels like your own private sea cove. There’s a spa, private yoga classes and a running programme for those who want to make the most of this idyllic slice of coast, as well as the likes of cooking and mixology classes, and tailored kids’ activities.
With its gently sloping terraced walls for sunbathing, year-round heated infinity pool and hidden courtyards shaded by cypress trees, this intimate 22-room hotel within the exclusive Relais & Châteaux group retains something of its 1920s’ vibe.
Secluded and romantic despite its location just 15 minutes from Cannes’ bustling Croisette promenade, Tiara Yaktsa stands out for its Arabic-style decor including silks, mashrabiya-latticed windows and plush curtains. The boudoir-like treatment room is a place for personalised massages, or you can avail yourself of the spa at the sister Tiara Miramar Beach Hotel & Spa, just a few minutes away.
Luminous and light-flooded, this Modernist-inspired hotel in a 1950s-built motel stands out for its rock-hewn seawater infinity pool, its sea-swimming via a ladder from the jetty and its paddleboard and kayak hire for jaunts over to the Ile d’or, a private island with a castle believed to have inspired one of the Tintin locations.
Cycling and hiking in the surrounding national park are also on offer at Beaumier Les Roches Rouges. Inside it’s all just as breathtaking, with vintage designer furniture in rooms that include family suites, a fabulous spa offering Snö and Igrane treatments plus yoga sessions, and two restaurants – one Michelin-starred.
A haven of foodie loveliness in the gourmet hotspot of Mougins with its Michelin-starred restaurants, just inland of Cannes, Les Rosées is a charming and somewhat quirky little hotel offering candlelit dinners based on inventive set menus, indulgent breakfasts of organic, Fair Trade products and local wines (some home-made) served in the shade of olive trees.
In a region where sleek designer decor holds sway, Les Rosées bucks the trend with tapestries, antiques, original wooden beams and rustic stone walls that echo Mougins’ medieval roots. One of the TV-free rooms has a working fireplace for a super-cosy feel, or there’s a restored Romany caravan for the ultimate escape, with a Jacuzzi slipper bath and a private terrace.
On its very own peninsula and surrounded on three sides by water, this sublime hotel in a gleaming white and baby-pink mansion is a seaside address par excellence. The secluded position and gated estate in which the Hotel Cap Estel stands have made it an obvious hideaway for celebs for more than half a century – yet it’s also only 10 minutes from Monaco and 30 minutes from Nice if you feel like venturing out.
Most delightful among the accommodation are the three La Mer rooms set into the eastern rockface of the peninsula, overlooking the hotel’s private beach and furnished to resemble ocean-liners’ cabins, with water’s-edge balconies. The spa has beach access, plus an outdoor saltwater pool with Jacuzzi, indoor pool and sea-facing sauna.
Best South of France hotels for 2022 – Red magazine
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