The French French Riviera is one of the most famous resort destinations in the world. It’s warm climate and location on the Mediterranean has made towns like St. Tropez and Monte Carlo European hotspots for more than 100 years.
But if you’re looking to kick up your feet in style then make your way to the Cap d’Antibes, where luxury villas and world class hotels dot the area. In fact, it’s where I discovered one of the loveliest small hotels in the south of France.
A privately gated Mediterranean villa resort, the “Hotel Imperial Garoupe” is perfect for those who want a quiet getaway and five-star service. Just a five minute drive from the town of Antibes, it’s close to everything you’ll want to do on the Riviera. It’s a very unique and beautiful location, in between Cannes and Nice. It’s not too overbuilt and there is a beautiful beach just down the street called the Garoupe Beach, which is one of the most exclusive areas in the south of France. Originally built as a private home, the Hotel now offers 30 rooms and 4 suites
Surrounded by private villas, the hotel’s grounds are walled and gated, creating a quiet oasis here on the Riviera. The hotel is a large expanse of property, plenty of room to walk around, and there is a guarantee for the future that there is no more land available. What has been built will remain untouched. The gardens are gorgeous and they have a lovely pool that can be heated from April through October for extended sun bathing and water frolic.
Inside, the rooms and suites are individually designed with French antiques, are air conditioned, offer designer linens and twice daily maid service. Bathrooms are decorated in pink marble from Portugal, with all the luxury amenities you’d expect from a five star hotel. Floral and pastel shades where chosen for the rooms in ochre, pink and green. Varnished furniture and traditional fittings, with carefully chosen fabrics and thick wool carpets add a note of refinement.
French doors open to a balcony or patio, all with beautiful views of the gardens and pool. The patio is the perfect place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. With an extensive in-room dining menu and personalized service available 24 hours a day, you don’t have to go out for a meal. Afternoon tea, light meals and evening cocktails are served in the lounge, where you can get your favorite cocktail served exactly the way you like it. The five-star service includes the poolside, for those who enjoy spending their summers close to the water!
Should you wish to dine outside your room, you won’t have to leave the hotel to find a good eatery. Dining is an experience at the hotel’s signature restaurant, L’Anse, which brought contributed to their recent inclusion in Relais Chateau, the French hotel guide. The restaurant is fabulous and the chef is great. He is considered at the level of Mofisa, the highest award a chef can earn in France. The name “L’Anse” symbolizes two meanings: First it is a sea cove, and so for Frenchmen, the name conjures up visions of the sea and a salty ocean breeze. Second, an “anse” is also the handle of a basket: a basket filled with fresh fruit, vegetables and other fine things gleaned at a real Provincial farmers’ market.
The two meanings sum up the cuisine perfectly, because the chef enjoys blending the “Great Blue Sea” with the “back country”. He stuffs the local catch of squid with fresh vegetables and serves it up with fennel fritters. He blends roast lobster and zucchini râpée with Nice olives. He flavors John Dory fish with cracked aniseed and surrounds it with roast figs…you get the idea. Mouth watering yet?
The L’Anse restaurant is open for lunch or dinner and is well known, not only for the food, but for its incredible ambiance. What I love is the windows. They open totally to the outside so you can sit inside or out on the terrace and take advantage of the fantastic weather. I think the terrace at “L’Anse” is one of the prettiest places to dine on the Riviera!
You know what I’m impressed with here at the hotel is the staff. It’s very important to the quality of the hotel and a key factor when it comes to rankings. To have a dedicated staff makes the stay memorable. The staff does not consider the hotel to be a hotel, it is a “home away from home.” It’s a villa with a large number of rooms and a family of staff that have been there for years. So come and say yes to all the French Riviera has to offer: And, for a five-star hotel experience, don’t miss the Hotel Imperial Garoupe…a very special find on the Cote d’Azure!