Provence is a region of contrast – olive groves and vineyards near the Italian border, snow-capped Alpine peaks, rolling lavender fields close to the Rhône and the glamour of the Côte d’Azur. Ensure your time in the area is most magical, by booking into one of these properties.
Hôtel Crillon le Brave
Just outside Avignon lies this charming village-like hotel complex. Eight restored stone houses are connected by a series of alleyways and courtyards, including a vaulted terraced restaurant, bistro with pretty views of the Dentelles de Montmirail and Mont Ventoux and an outdoor heated pool with sundeck. Rooms feature Provençal features such as exposed beams, terracotta floors and antique furniture. The on-site Spa des Ecuries offers restorative treatments using dreamy Bamford products, from its converted stable home. It’s also pet-friendly and has a superb fine-dining restaurant La Madeleine.
La Villa Gallici – Relais & Châteaux
If you like your hotels lavish, this is the place to be. Close to Aix-en-Provence, La Villa Gallici is a flamboyant experience. The interiors are by British-based designer Yvette Taylor, in Provençal’s meets Italian style, with exteriors dating back to the 18th century. Some of the furniture looks like it wouldn’t be out of place in Louis XIV’s palace, yet there’s a cosiness to the place. Cypress trees bring welcome shade to the pool area, in a fragrant garden setting, also home to a decadent spa. Explore the wine cellar, housed in an elegant pavilion, and feast on fine food at the restaurant’s romantic terrace.
A hotspot for the beau monde since 1904, this 94 room seafront hotel is located between Monaco and Nice in the exclusive Cap-Ferrat area – playground of the rich and famous. With panoramic peninsula views, access to a private seasonal beach in high season, heated pool, sauna, hammam, fitness room, gourmet restaurant and grill, you can enjoy the ultimate in French coastal sophistication. Colour schemes of olive-green, amber and sienna brown reflect the Mediterranean landscapes, while colonial grandeur and informal elegance evoke a neo-Hellenistic villa feel, fused with its historic old Belle Epoque style.
Perched on a hillside, nestled among medieval buildings, lies this 400-year-old chateau in the south-eastern part of Provence. This is a dream for couples seeking authentic period features and intimacy. Expect stone walls, four-poster beds and fireplaces. It’s almost like holidaying in a fantasy Disney movie. There are just twelve rooms (half with epic sea views), all unique and in different parts of the building. Each turn and flight of stone steps feels like a mini adventure of discovery. In the restaurant and bar, you’ll be treated to Michelin-starred cuisine from chef Axel Wagner, created from local market ingredients – during the day meals can be taken alfresco.
Hôtel Le Pigonnet
Imagine starting your day with breakfast in rose gardens, shaded by chestnut trees, listening to the sounds of nature with a warm gentle breeze. This is morning at Hôtel Le Pigonnet. In the Aix-en-Provence area, the 45-room hotel is a converted 18th-century manor house with contemporary interior design. Its claim to fame is that it’s co-owned by Christophe Lambert, the French-American film star, best known for his role in Highlander. Chef Thierry Balligand produces elegant vegetarian and carnivorous menus, with pastry dishes being a particular speciality.
La Réserve de Beaulieu & Spa
Originally a seafood restaurant popular with the well-heeled, you can still enjoy the wonderful culinary fare at La Réserve de Beaulieu, but with the added benefit of a fantastic spa and hotel on site. Found between Monaco and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. This has the air of an aristocratic residence, with riviera glamour. Decorated in soft pastel tones, the hotel is furnished with delicate baroque antiques and objets d’art. Many rooms offer terraces with sea views. There are two chic beachfront restaurants to choose from, as well as a lounge style bar.
The perfect place for a countryside break, this hotel is known for being one of the most prestigious golf resorts in the world. Terre Blanche is set inland, in huge lush grounds with beautiful woodland on the doorstep. Wander the gardens’ paths and you’ll be greeted by the gentle floral and pine aromas of this nature haven. Facilities include indoor and outdoor pools, a 3200m² spa with a hot tub and a steam bath, two 18-hole golf courses, two tennis courts, a fitness centre and a kid’s club – ensuring the whole family is fully catered for. In high season you’ll have a choice of four restaurants and a wealth of activities, sights and tourist attractions to explore nearby.
La Bastide de Gordes
Another medieval jewel to make our list is this property in the Luberon. It’s filled with authentic character. Period lamps, wood panelling, ancestral portraits, chaise longues, roll-top baths, burnished stonework, and vintage floral textiles, make up some of the period features. The building’s 18th-century heritage is echoed not only in the decor but in staff’s period uniform styles. Dine at Peir, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, under ceilings hung with lavender, at the in-house Italian trattoria, or book the rooftop turret and eat under the stars at La Citadelle – the epitome of romance.