From the moment that your dedicated concierge whisks you from the airport with a complimentary helicopter transfer, you know that luxury awaits in one of the French Riviera’s top suites. These hotel accommodations are larger than your average Monaco apartment. Famous designers have dreamt up sumptuous interiors that might include sweeping staircases, Doric columns or Hermès wallpaper. Panoramic sea-view terraces are standard, while some also offer rooftop Jacuzzis, fitness studios or home cinema rooms.
Whatever the design, you can expect to be treated like royalty with a 24-hour concierge to cater to your every whim. You can luxuriate in your Jacuzzi bath with specially commissioned toiletries or press a bedside switch to change the lighting mood. After a good night’s sleep on Egyptian-cotton pillows, you can enjoy your morning cuppa with a muslin teabag while a housekeeper repacks your luggage with silk paper.
Missoni Home Suite at Hôtel Byblos
20 Avenue Paul Signac, St Tropez (+33(0)4 9456 6800, www.byblos.com)
Ever since the billionaire Lebanese hotelier Jean-Prosper Gay-Para created the Byblos out of a hopeless infatuation with Brigitte Bardot, the glitterati have flocked to this St Tropez stalwart. 2019 sees talented chef Rocco Seminara taking the helm in the Byblos kitchens with the opening of two new restaurants: Cucina serving Italian fare and Byblos Beach in Ramatuelle. This five-star hotel recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with the creation of a new suite in collaboration with Missoni Home. It’s no surprise that the fashion house used its trademark zigzags throughout. A soft background of beige walls and wooden floors creates a blank canvas for Missoni’s colourful designs on the sofas, curtains and chairs. Overlooking the hotel’s central courtyard, the suite has several terraces. One small balcony overhangs the pool as if tempting you to climb over the railing and dive in.
Panoramic Suite at Château de la Chèvre d’Or
Rue du Barri, Èze (+33(0)4 9210 6666, www.chevredor.com)
Perched upon a hilltop in the medieval village of Èze, La Chèvre d’Or is one of the essential pit stops on any French Riviera tour. This boutique hotel dates back to the 1950s when Walt Disney advised owner Robert Wolf to transform the Chèvre d’Or restaurant into a hotel through purchasing adjacent village houses. The gardens descend the hillside with bougainvillea-strewn terraces dotted with sculptures and waterfalls. You cannot better the view from the infinity pool on the Panoramic Suite terrace. From the sunken Jacuzzi in the bathroom to the Italian oil paintings and Doric columns in the living room, this one-bedroom suite is the epitome of Riviera luxury.
The Carré d’Or Suite at Hôtel Métropole
4 Avenue de la Madone, 98007 Monaco (+377 9315 1515, www.metropole.com)
Down a herringbone-brick driveway dotted with jasmine and orchid trees, this Monte-Carlo hotel feels like a country house in the heart of the city. Hôtel Métropole is brimming with global talent from Karl Lagerfeld (who designed the pool area) and Didier Gomez (who designed the Givenchy spa) to the late Joël Robuchon (who dreamt up the hotel’s Michelin-starred cuisine). Its rooftop suite Carré d’Or recently acknowledged as the best suite of the Principality by World Travel Awards is adorned with period furniture and rich fabrics. Discreet luxury pervades through the living room, dressing room, bedroom and bathroom with its huge bath. The rooftop terrace features a 180° vista over the sea and casino gardens. A housekeeper is at your disposal not only to unpack your bags, but also to repack them with silk paper. And if all that’s not enough to make you swoon, the complimentary helicopter transfer from the airport will do it.
Zelda Suite at Hôtel Belles Rives
33 Boulevard Edouard Baudoin, Juan-les-Pins, Cap d’Antibes (+33(0)4 9361 0279, www.bellesrives.com)
The history of this boutique hotel is steeped in champagne and literature. F Scott Fitzgerald wrote his masterpiece, Tender is the Night, while staying here at the Villa Saint Louis before it was transformed into the Hôtel Belles Rives in 1929. There’s nowhere more evocative of the Riviera Golden Age than lunch beside the pontoon here listening to water lap against Port Gallice. The piano bar is the place for live Jazz over a summertime evening drink or a wintertime weekend tea. It’s apt that the new suite launched in 2017 should be named after Scott Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda. This sea-view suite is a contemporary take on the Art Déco past with all the usual trimmings from Hermès wallpaper to Nespresso machines and Penhaligon’s toiletries.
Terre Blanche Prestige Villa at Terre Blanche
3100 Route de Bagnols-en-Forêt, 83440 Tourrettes, France (+33(0)4 9439 9000, www.terre-blanche.com)
Encircled by medieval villages and forested hills, Terre Blanche is the ultimate Provençal hideout. Well-heeled guests arrive by helicopter to this countryside resort where golf is high on the agenda. After you’ve enjoyed the two championship golf courses and a David Leadbetter golf-training academy, you can chill out at the Carita spa. Accommodation is in private villas scattered through the extensive grounds. The Terre Blanche Prestige Villa is a three-bedroom suite. As well as a lounge, home cinema room, kitchen and dining room, there’s an infinity pool and large Jacuzzi overlooking trees and mountains.
Penthouse Suite at the Martinez
73 Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes (+33(0)4 9390 1234, www.hyatt.com)
Everyone loves the Art Déco glamour of this grande dame in Cannes. Facilities abound from Michelin-starred cuisine to a private beach and spa. The hotel’s largest suite has four bedrooms and a whopping 1000 m2 of space. This Penthouse Suite is taken over by Chopard every May to parade its bejeweled beauties during the Cannes Festival. The main attraction is the expansive terrace gazing down upon La Croisette from the top floor. Even so, my favourite bedrooms at the Martinez are the newly refurbished Prestige Sea View Suites where you’ll find interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon’s light and airy touch. Decorated with white-lacquered furniture and white coral, these coastal-themed rooms come in sky-and-sea blues or sandy shades.
Shanti Suite at Pan Deï Palais
52 Rue Gambetta, St Tropez (+33(0)4 9417 7171, www.pandei.com)
Romance prevails at this notable townhouse in central St Tropez. The history of Pan Deï Palais reads like a fairytale. The celebrated 19th-century General Jean-François Allard went to war in India and fell in love with Princess Pan Deï (who settled in St Tropez to avoid the funeral tradition of immolation when Allard was killed in battle). This boutique hotel is awash with sculpted wood panelling, hand-painted wall murals and Indian artifacts. The pretty garden houses a pool surrounded by thatched pool beds, palm tress and Birds of Paradise. From the Sanskrit word for serenity, the Shanti Suite is aptly named. This tranquil one-bedroom suite offers plentiful natural light, luxurious Asian furnishings and views over the rooftops of St Tropez.
Villa Rose-Pierre at Four Seasons Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat
71 Boulevard du Général de Gaulle, Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat (+33(0)4 9376 5050, www.fourseasons.com)
This landmark palace has hosted more celebrities than Jay Leno and Graham Norton put together. At the tip of the Cap-Ferrat peninsula, this Four Seasons hotel is hidden amongst 17 acres of pine trees and landscaped gardens. From the Michelin-starred cuisine and the landscaped gardens to the funicular that takes you down to the infinity seawater pool, the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat seeks to impress at every turn. Hidden amongst the pine trees, the pink-façaded Villa Rose-Pierre comes complete with a 24-hour personal butler, as well as its own pool, tennis court, pétanque, fitness studio and TV room.
Princess Grace and Prince Rainier Suites at Hôtel de Paris
Place du Casino, MC 98000, Monaco (+377 9806 3000, www.montecarlosbm.com)
Hôtel de Paris is a magnet for the silver screen: not one, but two Bond movies have been filmed here. A recent facelift has taken this Belle-Époque palace to an unprecedented level of luxury. This fabled hotel has his-and-hers twin suites featuring royal artifacts from Princess Grace’s collages to Prince Rainier’s sculptures. The prettier of the two is the light-infused Princess Grace Suite where luxury knows no bounds. One of the world’s largest suites, this 983 m2 space is spread over two floors connected by a sweeping staircase. Designed by Richard Martinet, the Prince Rainier Suite is more masculine than its sister suite with a starker and darker palate. Like its twin suite, it comes complete with two bedrooms, separate sitting rooms, dining room and terrace with its own infinity pool. The best feature is the outdoor terrace that stretches over two levels: a pool on the top level, with a lower level that gazes down upon the famous casino and that has its own flagpole. After shopping for diamonds in the colonnaded courtyard, you can indulge in Alain Ducasse’s three-Michelin-star cuisine accompanied by wines from the world’s largest wine cellar.
Eden-Roc Suite at Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc
167 Boulevard JF Kennedy, Antibes (+33(0)4 9361 3901, www.oetkercollection.com)
Writers and artists lived out the Golden Age of the French Riviera frequenting this fabled white palace on the Cap d’Antibes peninsula. This is the place to indulge in La Prairie spa treatments, seaside dining accompanied by a live pianist and chocolates made by the hotel’s own chocolatier. The Eden-Roc suite has the décor of a country mansion complete with gilded mirrors, antique furniture and spotless white sofas. You could spend all day on the huge teak terrace reclining under the pergola or lounging in the rooftop Jacuzzi with its views across the Mediterranean Sea towards the Lérins Islands.
Louise Simpson is a travel writer and author based in London and Monaco. Since studying French literature at Cambridge University, Louise has written for numerous periodicals including The Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times, The Independent and The Spectator in the UK and has authored guides for Frommer’s and Zagat in the US.