A glamorous, secluded Côte d’Azur retreat
49 Rooms / 24 Suites / 1 Villa
Midway between Nice and Monte Carlo, hidden away near the tip of the lush peninsula of Cap Ferrat, this newly branded Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel features an opulent mix of Old World grandeur and sleek, pristine modernity that distinguishes it from other seaside palaces on the Riviera. Surrounded by 17 acres of manicured flower-lined gardens and parasol pines, this elegant hotel built in 1908 (with a cupola designed by Gustave Eiffel) still evokes a timeless tranquility that attracts VIP guests seeking a discreet, restful retreat without the buzzy atmosphere of an in-town resort. In high season, there are three top-notch restaurants to choose from, plus a spectacular Olympic-size, infinity seawater pool, tennis courts, a large spa with an indoor pool and a state-of-the art fitness center.
While the stately white-on-white marble lobby is decked out with Murano chandeliers and Lalique crystal, the attentive, friendly staff, the host of extra services and the tranquil spacious grounds all contribute to the unpretentious and relaxed spirit of the Côte d'Azur hotel. Over the years, artists, film stars and writers from Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Elizabeth Taylor, David Niven and Charlie Chaplin have spent time sipping cocktails at the bar or swanning around at the poolside Club Dauphin, taking in the gorgeous landscape. Today, high-profile guests from government bigwigs to music and sports stars continue to flock here en famille, undisturbed.
Renovated in 2009, the luxury hotel’s spacious guest rooms were designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, whose stylish refurbishment combines classic pure lines with the palest earth tones and subtle splashes of jade and turquoise. Interiors are jazzed up with reproductions of modern artwork, from Matisse to Chagall, by local residents. If you can, splurge on the luminous Rooftop Suite, which has a sweeping panoramic view of the sea and a large furnished terrace. For an extended stay, the sumptuous four-bedroom Villa Rose Pierre, tucked away under the pines overlooking the sea, offers everything from private tennis courts and a gym to a rooftop terrace with sofa seating.
The lovely gastronomic garden-level restaurant, Le Cap, is lined with Cocteau-inspired frescoes and headed by acclaimed chef Didier Aniès, who happens to excel in refined Mediterranean specialties. Try his subtle signature dish — a delicate caviar-and-leek lasagna, and don’t miss the feather-light strawberry soufflé for dessert. For informal alfresco dining, The Veranda, on the vast sea-facing garden terraces, keeps an all-day menu of local specialties from grilled fish to pastas and salads. Take the funicular to the 1930s-style Club Dauphin, a poolside restaurant on the water’s edge with a stunning choice of Provençal buffet dishes and an unbeatable Sunday brunch featuring a jazz band.
Families with kids in tow should take full advantage of the Club Dauphin’s veteran expert instructor, Pierre Gruneberg, who, for the past 60 years, has initiated the children of his celebrity clientele (from Charlie Chaplin to Paul McCartney) to the joys of swimming using his legendary ABC method (Aquatic Breathing Control) with plastic salad bowls. There’s also a summer Kid’s Club with a wide range of activities. A lovely spa features luxe body and facial treatments, as well as a terraced spa garden with views of the Mediterranean. The French Riviera hotel’s glass funicular takes you to the seaside pool where you can while away the day in the sun.