The best hotel on the French Riviera is the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel. Set in Belle Epoque splendour, in a building that dates back to the 1800’s, this ultra luxury hotel offers everything you would expect of the very best Four Seasons hotel, but with a sprinkle of French chic.
The Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat sits on the very tip of the Cap Ferrat Peninsula, in the prime position amidst gated luxury villas. The hotel is accessed by large pearly gates. Behind the gates lies immaculate, tropical grounds framed by the deep blue sea.
The main building is a majestic white palace and inside the foyer you are welcomed into a realm of white marble and pillars. Above you, ornate high ceilings showcase the most beautiful chandeliers; a mix of crystal and silver Belle Epoque style lanterns. Merino glass chandeliers decorate the adjoining bar and the walls throughout the hotel are decorated with stunning artwork.
Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat A Four Seasons Hotel
Check-in takes place on one of the plush white sofas in this magnificent foyer, which overlooks the sea across a cloud of soft treetops. This is not the kind of place where one has the stress of standing at a desk! Following check-in it is worth taking a tour of the hotel to ensure you don’t miss out on the wine cellar packed full of almost priceless bottles of vintage wines; the route to the beach club; or the tunnels that lead to the spa, adorned with photos of past visitors like: Roger Moore and Liza Minelli. Winston Churchill caught my eye (well-known for his penchant for champagne), it tickled me that he too had enjoyed a tipple on the terrace of this fabulous hotel.
Rooms are either in the main historic building with views out to sea or back inland towards the pine woods, or in a newer building that must have been modelled on the Thunderbirds house. The latter, more modern rooms, offer marvellous large balconies but lack the history.
In the main building the historic rooms have wooden floors and white walls with pelmet detailing and large marble bathrooms. Both rooms and suites have a similar crisp white finish with a touch of mint in the soft furnishings. They form the perfect backdrop to the immense views; the blue sky, the grounds and deep blue sea. Balconies in the main building are mainly Romeo and Juliette except for the large suites which offer a terrace. As day turns to night, the sea view rooms are perfectly positioned to absorb the sound of the live band which plays on the patio below. There is something very special about getting ready for a night out with the window swung open and jazz wafting in on the breeze.
Their more modern Thunderbirds building is a mix of crazy curves decked in wood, hidden beneath the pines. This is where you will find modern but equally stunning rooms with either a large balcony or their own private swimming pool. It is worth noting that these pools are not those little dip in and out plunge pools. The pools in these suites are large enough to swim in and each pool is set among rocky outcrops with an infinity view at the end, looking out to the horizon. Inside, these rooms have a white marble finish although the feel is definitely modern as opposed to historic.
Of course you don’t come here for the rooms. You come here for the grounds, the views, the ambiance and to immerse yourself in complete luxury. The gardens of Le Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat are a fragrant mix of pines, lush tropical bushes, cacti and apparently the climate is so mild that even bananas grow here. There are 15 gardeners keeping these gardens immaculate and there is hardly a leaf out of place. Over the main terrace where the chef serves up his delicious plates, fairytale-like trees form a natural shade to shelter diners from the hot sun. When you look out to sea, the pink flowers in the trees seem to contrast and then match the sky as the sun sets.
The most delicious dishes, created by Michelin-starred chef Didier Aniès, are served outside on the veranda in the summer. You sit underneath fairytale trees, overlooking the lawns and can enjoy delicious cuisine such as delicate Lasagne with Caviar from Aquitaine, Baby Leeks and Olive Oil and Slow-Cooked Sea Bass in a Zucchini Flower, Avocado, Burratina and Lemon Caviarde. This is also the venue for the delicious breakfast and, as you would expect from a Four Seasons hotel, the array was vast and of the highest quality.
Beyond the gardens is Club Dauphane, the beach club, accessed by crossing a tiny road and taking a cablecar down the cliff. For my son, this cable car is the absolute highlight, like a glass bubble that takes you down to the pool below (and back up and down and up and down if you are 6 and like pressing buttons!). The Beach Club has a super restaurant, plenty of loungers and a fabulous saltwater infinity pool which is great for your skin, but less so for your eyes (bring your goggles if you like to splash). Of course the staff here are as brilliant as everywhere else in the resort, offering complimentary iced lemon water and setting up loungers for you so that you can bask and absorb the views out to sea. Because Club Dauphane is on the very tip of the peninsula, the motorboats travelling between Nice and Monaco pass by incredibly closely which is great fun to watch.
I have had many facials but I have never had one take 5 years off my looks until now. The Grand Hotel Spa is the first hotel to offer Dr. Burgener’s incredible collagen firming treatment which is simply unbelievable in its results. Aimed at postponing the need for cosmetic surgery, her treatments stimulate the collagen in your face with light, sound (high pitched) and electricity. I have to admit that I was quite fearful of having a machine rolled over my face but the treatment is not at all uncomfortable. Post treatment expect your skin to positively glow.
The pearly white gates of Le Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat really do lead to a heavenly haven. It is like nowhere else in the world and a place to aspire to come to and to dream of returning. If your budget doesn’t stretch to affording a room in this slice of paradise, next time you are in the vicinity you must take a trip to the very end of the peninsula, enter through the front gates, wander up to the alfresco bar and sip a glass of something chilled and lovely to the tunes of the band as the sun goes down.
Other hotels I have also reviewed in this area include the iconic Hotel Hermitage Monte Carlo, the Le Mas De Chastelas near the beaches of Saint Tropez and the Monte Carlo Bay that comes at the top of my list of the best hotel swimming pools in europe. You can also read my reviews of other Four Seasons hotels and openings including those that I have visited personally which include the Four Seasons Hampshire and the Four Seasons London Park Lane.