French Riviera's lavish hilltop hideaway
Once a fortified Roman structure and a 12th-century Templar Knight commandery, Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa is now the epitome of classic French elegance along the Côte d'Azur. Surrounded by the dreamy Mediterranean, the rugged Baou des Blancs mountains, southern Alps and picturesque gardens, Chateau Saint-Martin encapsulates the Provencal landscape that’s inspired artists such as Picasso and Chagall.
Whether lounging by the infinity pool, playing tennis on one of the two clay courts or indulging in a treatment at the 4,300-square-foot Spa Saint-Martin Sisley, you will enjoy the spoils that come with life on the French Riviera in the most peaceful of environments.
Our Inspector’s Highlights
• The gardens, designed by landscape artist Jean Mus, feature typical Provencal vegetation, including centuries-old olive trees, which the hotel harvests to produce its own olive oil.
• Led by head chef Jean-Luc Lefrançois, Le Saint-Martin (open April through October) delivers a stellar view of the sea. L'Oliveraie is the summer restaurant (mid-May to September) found beneath a cover of olive trees, with a menu created using the area’s seasonal ingredients.
• With more than 20,000 bottles of wines in two cellars, sample a tasting of the area’s wine with head sommelier Géraud Tournier. Rosé was born in Provence, but the area also produces unique reds and whites.
What to Know
• You’ll need to arrange car service or have your own mode of transport to make the 20-minute trek from Nice Côte d'Azur Airport. There is a private helipad on property.
• Perched on a hilltop, you can see the Mediterranean, but it takes about a 30-minute drive to actually dip your toes into the water. However, there is a reserved stretch of private beach on Cap d’Antibes, which is attended by hotel staff.
• Sitting on more than 30 secluded acres, the luxury hotel is a far cry from the glitz of Monaco and action of Nice. This is where you come not to be seen.
• Classic Louis XV- and XVI-style furnishings are found throughout the French Riviera hotel and its 52 junior suites and six villas.
• No two suites are the same, but all have a panoramic view of the sea. Most of the suites have terraces, and some feature the building’s original architecture.
• For the ultimate in privacy, book one of the recently built gated and guarded one-, two- or three-bedroom villas located above the main hotel grounds. The latter two options include a kitchen, where a private chef can prepare meals.
• Walled, hilltop medieval towns such as Vence, Biot, Saint-Paul de Vence and Mougins are a peek into Provence’s past. Beyond the their history, art lovers will appreciate stopping by Mougins Museum of Classical Art, Fondation Maeght and Fondation Émile Hugues.
• The legendary costal cities of the French Riviera shouldn’t be missed for their history, culture, shopping and beauty. Nice, Cannes, Monaco, Saint-Raphael and Saint-Tropez are possible day trips from Chateau Saint-Martin.
• An outdoor enthusiast’s dream, the Côte d'Azur has a wealth of sporting activities such as yachting, golf, horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking, which can all be organized through the hotel’s concierge staff.