France – sometimes dubbed ‘l’hexagone’ due to its six-sided shape – is home to what is arguably the most romantic city in the world, and the glitziest rivieras in Europe. The varying climates here will suit all types of traveller – from the cooler north to the sun-soaked south, balmy interior regions and snowy Alpine reaches. Our European neighbour is just a ferry hop, Eurostar ride, tunnel drive, or short flight away. And it provides internationally acclaimed gourmet foods, indigenous cheeses and fine wines – so much so, that French gastronomy has even been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status.
Tradition has a lot to do with the city of love, and there is no better place to get totally immersed in tradition than the 5-star Hotel Raphael. Operated by the same family for four generations, the hotel maintains the highest of time-honoured, traditional standards. Situated in the city’s business centre, close to the Arc de Triomphe, each room is as unique as the hotel itself. With its large collection of lovingly restored antiques and traditional décor and furnishings, it is the ideal place to base yourself, for a little Parisian amour.
Located on the Avenue Kleber, just a few hundred yards from the Arc de Triomphe and close to Montaigne with its chic designer boutiques, The Peninsula is central for those days out, wherever you’re headed. Traditional blends with contemporary in this opulent 200 room hotel. A-listers from stage and screen, and international sports stars are frequent visitors to enjoy the sumptuous rooms, and suites displaying expensive artworks and traditional dark woods with contemporary fittings. Bathrooms have marble floors and walls, deep luxurious bathtubs, and double sinks. Every convenience you can imagine is included in the rooms – and some. A 5-star hotel with a ‘Palace’ reputation.
Sitting in the centre of old historical Paris, on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, The Bristol was the first hotel to be labelled a ‘Palace’ (French terminology for a hotel a cut above five-star). Opened in 1925, and now one of the Oetker group hotels, its marble foyer, crystal chandeliers, 17th century tapestries, and Louis XV and XVI style furnishings, resonate affluence. The hotel has an award winning spa, a sixth floor swimming pool with panoramic views across Paris, and two Michelin starred restaurants. Just 14 miles from Orly Airport and 18.5 miles from Charles de Gaulle Airport, the hotel also offers charging points for electric vehicles, should you decide to hire a car during your stay.
Park Hyatt Vendôme
Centrally placed, and close to the Place Vendôme and Palais Garnier, many of the big Paris attractions can be reached in a pleasant 15 minute stroll from the hotel. When you wish to explore further afield, a number of Metro stations are just metres away. A magnet for many A-list celebrities, from tennis grand-slam winners to chart topping singers, the hotel offers the very best of five-star accommodation, dining and amenities. Rooms and suites are set off in pleasing contemporary styling with attractive, elegant adornments. The main restaurant has a one-star Michelin rating, while breakfast and brunch can be enjoyed in the glass ceilinged Les Orchidées, or the relaxing La Cheminée.
Le Roch Hotel & Spa
For those who prefer elegant, contemporary styling, with a refined, casual, homely ambience, the 37 room, five-star boutique Le Roch Hotel and Spa, will meet all your requirements. Situated in a quiet part of old Paris, between the Opera, Louvre, and Place Vendôme, the hotel offers a unique Parisian atmosphere, combined with the technological needs of modern living. Rooms and suites are a good size, with pleasing, modern styling by native Parisian, Sarah Lavoine. Along with its innovative restaurant, the hotel also boasts an excellent, well stocked bar, pool, spa facilities, and pleasant sun terrace to enjoy an early evening aperitif.
La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa
When you pay four figures a night for your accommodation, you expect nothing less than the very best of five-star everything. At La Reserve Paris Hotel and Spa, you get just that. Situated on the fashionable Avenue Gabriel, the hotel verges on the ambience of a private gentleman’s club. Built during the 1800s, and providing stunning views across the Paris skyline, the interior was completely redesigned by hotel designer Jacques Garcia. With its modern feel, yet traditional look, the décor and furnishings allude to the personal service which is so much a feature of the hotel.
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.
Villa Marie Saint Tropez
Saint Tropez is arguably the most famous spot on the French Riviera. Tourists flock here to catch a glimpse of its superyachts and wealthy sun-worshippers. But you can escape the throng in style, at this bohemian hotel. In places, it’s evocative of 1950s Hollywood but also graced with upscale rustic room decor in peaceful tones. Found among the pine littered, picture-perfect hillsides of Ramatuelle, Villa Marie is ideal for couples. There’s four-poster beds, open plan bathrooms, a heated pool on the terrace, a heavenly Pure Altitude Spa, and Dolce Vita, the villa’s veranda restaurant, with cuisine by Chef Cédric Luisin.
Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat – Four Seasons
As part of the Four Seasons group, you can expect high-end understated luxury as standard at Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat. Set on a peninsula enclave, by a small fishing village, this area has long been popular for famous faces seeking an escape from the limelight, in the lap of luxury. The award-winning spa’s hydrotherapy circuit is a great way to unwind and begin your holiday, before sampling Michelin-starred cuisine at the Chef’s Table in Salon des Collections. For 360 degree views, steam bath, hot tub and a ‘Great Gatsby’ feel, book the Suite Cocteau Penthouse, one of its 74 rooms. Families can take advantage of the kids’ club and there are indoor and outdoor pools for year-round swims.
Hôtel Martinez Cannes
Home of the iconic film festival, Cannes is another magnet for celebrities. Hyatt’s Green Globe-certified Riviera property has 409 room, ten of which are accessible. There’s an art deco theme to its swish design by Pierre-Yves Rochon, with colours echoing those found in the local coastal scenery. Culinary artistry comes from Michelin-starred Executive Chef Christian Sinicropi, in the hotel’s three upmarket eateries. The finest – La Palme d’Or, overlooks the Bay of Cannes and features crockery designed by Sinicropi and his wife. There’s also a spa, kids’ club, beach and plenty of meeting facilities (all buzzing with famous faces and press during the film festival)
Along at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and just a short walk from Baie des Fourmis beach, is Hotel Royal-Riviera. The 94 room hotel is perched atop a rocky cliff and is part palatial, part intimate villa. A meal at La Table du Royal overlooking the Mediterranean is a real highlight, or choose Jasmin Grill & Lounge for poolside dining, then enjoy a drink at the African-styled bar. The hotel also has a full-service spa, pool, childcare and access to watersports. With every room soundproofed and serene surroundings, this is a great option for those in need of peace and quiet.
Hotel Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port
Perched on the top of a hill providing stunning views of the Mediterranean and Old Port, the Sofitel is set in one of the most stunning spots in the whole of Marseille. Guests are also treated to first rate amenities that are sure to make them feel on top of the world. The Mediterranean facing rooms come complete with huge balconies where guests can unwind in style while taking advantage of the excellent room service and soaking up the scenery.
InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu
Set in one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, this 18th century hospital has been extensively renovated to create a luxurious five star hotel. The onsite bar and brasserie is one of the best in the whole of Marseille and is a popular haunt among local people who have a taste for the finer things in life. While the suites that boast Old Port views are impressive, those who want to splurge should select one of the 33 rooms that come complete with a private loggia gallery overlooking the Notre Dame de la Garde.
Le Petit Nice Passedat
Guests who choose to stay at this luxurious seaside establishment can be sure that they will receive plenty of pampering. The Le Petit Nice Passedat boasts a three Michelin starred restaurant and no visit is complete without taking the opportunity to dine in style on the terrace while gazing out at the ocean. Those who demand nothing but the best will also want to secure one of the two secluded villas that overlook the Mediterranean sea.
Hôtel C2 – Marseille
Set in a classic town house, this five star boutique hotel features plenty of artwork and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. There are just twelve rooms to choose from here, which are decorated in the minimalistic style and the stylish bar at Hôtel C2 also serves as a chic hangout for local people and visitors alike. The most peaceful rooms are those at the back that face the patio and garden and the garden also boasts an enchanting subterranean spa complete with a whirlpool bath, a hammam and an indoor swimming pool that is carved into the rock.
Les Bords De Mer
Delivering sensational panoramic sea views, the light and breezy Les Bords de Mer is perched directly on the coast and provides guests with plenty of pampering. Guests are treated to private beach access as well as an excellent restaurant where freshly caught seafood is highlighted to mouth-watering effect. This impressive establishment features just 19 rooms and each faces the ocean. Guests will either be provided with their own terrace or balcony to unwind on and this is the perfect place to linger over morning coffee and perhaps a few treats provided by room service before getting ready to explore this stunning seaside paradise.
Villa Gallici (Outside Marseille)
This elegant villa is sure to satisfy the wildest dreams of those who love to surround themselves with luxury. Every inch of this establishment has been created with luxury and style firmly in mind and there are plenty of places to unwind in style here. Taking a stroll through the perfectly manicured gardens while taking in the distant ocean views is the perfect way to unwind in style. Guests will also find a large swimming pool set in a beautiful courtyard and a dining experience that will delight even the most demanding gourmet.
Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée
This hotel is one of Nice’s best luxury vacation spots! Located in the heart of the French Riviera the hotel offers the very best that the Mediterranean has to offer. The hotel boasts amenities such as an onsite gym and business centre where guests can take care of important business while enjoying the splendid views of the Mediterranean sea. The restaurant serves dishes that are made using local ingredients and are prepared by the very best chefs, you can expect a five-star meal every time! After a long day, you can unwind and relax in the Turkish bath and sauna centre located in the hotel. With both, an outdoor pool and heated indoor pool on offer guests can enjoy swimming with the Bay of Angels as a backdrop.
Hotel le Negresco
The Hotel le Negresco has been an iconic destination on the French Riviera for more than a century. The hotel boasts some of the best rooms that Nice has to offer and features trendy and modern yet elegant decor. You will be able to unwind and relax completely in the tranquil surrounds of this hotel as you overlook the Mediterranean sea from your suite. The hotel le Negresco has been a favourite spot of many artists and other famous people since its opening more than 100 years ago, you can stay in the same rooms as these people and experience the Louis XIV style decor of the exceptional suites which reminds of a time gone by.
Hotel La Perouse
This hotel is a hidden jewel and can be found perched on a steep hill overlooking the bay of Angels and Nice. If you are looking for privacy and luxury the Hotel La Perouse is the destination for you. The building reminds of an old world manor house and welcomes guests with its warm tones and relaxed atmosphere. The hotel offers a wide range of amenities to its guest allowing you to forget about the world and relax. The outdoor heated swimming pool and relaxation area is a favourite of guests who want to soak up the warm Mediterranean sun. The on-site restaurant serves the very best French cuisine and comes highly recommended.
Palazzo Naiadi, The Dedica Anthology
The Palazzo Naiadi is located in the heart of Rome and features old world charm mixed with the best that the modern world has to offer. Guest are treated to a range of amenities that will make any stay at this hotel worth remembering. The thermal baths of Diocletian are located close to the hotel and guests can visit the ancient thermal baths that have been enjoyed since the time of the Roman Empire. The hotel offers a personalised concierge service to guests and has 238 luxurious rooms to choose from. The restaurant located in the hotel is famous for its excellent Italian food. Visiting the Palazzo Naiadi will allow you to experience the passion of Rome from a luxurious and serene base.