The best hotel on the French Riviera is the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel located near the small town of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. Set in Belle Epoque splendor, in a building that dates back to the 1800s, this ultra-luxury hotel offers everything you would expect of the very best Four Seasons hotel, but with a sprinkle of French chic.
We most recently stayed at Four Seasons Hotel Cap-Ferrat, in April 2022. The weather can be somewhat hit and miss at this time of year, with temperatures of 23 degrees centigrade and wall-to-wall sunshine potentially followed by days of thunderclouds and winds. But perhaps surprisingly, even in the drizzle, Four Seasons Cap-Ferrat is magical and will leave you yearning for more.
The advantage of staying out of season is the price. You can pick up a room at around €710 Euro per night instead of the summer rates, starting at €2,500+ Euro per night. If you are prepared to gamble with the weather, this is the time to stay. If you book with our luxury travel concierge, we can add free loyalty-style benefits into your reservations, including free breakfast, room upgrades, and other perks, at the same rate as the fourseasons.com website. I reviewed the best way to get deals and special offers at Four Seasons Cap-Ferrat.
The Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat sits on the very tip of the Cap Ferrat peninsula, in the prime position amidst gorgeous gated luxury villas and staring out to sea. In the summer, the patch of Mediterranean sea in front of this Four Seasons becomes a motorway for luxury yachts, cruise liners, and helicopters, usually heading between Nice, its airport, and Monaco. I love this aspect of the hotel as this view means there’s never a dull moment when you laze on one of the loungers or the hotel’s newly created cabanas by the pool.
Transfers are easy here. You are just 30 minutes drive from Nice airport. Four Seasons will provide a trouble-free airport transfer (for around €250 Euro), or our luxury travel concierge can book you a luxury Mercedes transfer (for just under €100 Euro) if you prefer.
Style & Character
The hotel is accessed by large pearly gates. Your name must be on the list, or you won’t get in. Behind the gates lies immaculate, tropical grounds framed by the deep blue sea.
The main building is a majestic white palace. 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 lanterns. Merino glass chandeliers decorate the adjoining bar, and the walls throughout the hotel are decorated with stunning artwork.
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 and signatures 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.
The gardens of Four Seasons Cap-Ferrat are a fragrant mix of pines, lush tropical bushes, cacti, and apparently, the climate is so mild that even bananas grow here. 15 gardeners keep these gardens immaculate, and there is hardly a leaf out of place. During our most recent stay, beautiful white lilies had been planted to frame the main path from the veranda to the pool, and as the year progresses, new flowers replace the old so that there’s always a perfect display.
On the main terrace, where the chef serves up his delicious plates, fairytale-like trees with poofy cloud-like foliage 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 sunsets.
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 modeled on the Thunderbirds house. The latter, more modern rooms, offer marvelous 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 the deep blue sea. Balconies in the main building are mainly Romeo and Juliette except for the suites, which offer a terrace. As day turns to night, the sea view rooms are perfectly positioned to absorb the live band’s sound, 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 and glass lifts 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 instead of historic. We offer a more detailed review discussing which room is best at Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel separately.
Service & Facilities
Beyond the gardens is Club Dauphine, the beach club, accessed by crossing a tiny road and taking a Willy Wonka-style glass lift down the cliff. This cable car is the absolute highlight for my son. He could drive the glass box down the cliff to the pool below and back up! Paradise for a 6-year-old who likes pressing buttons!.
Club Dauphin pool and sunbathing area is ultra-sophisticated and is open from early April until around the 27th of November. Celebrated as one of the world’s most beautiful swimming pools, the Club Dauphin pool has been a signature symbol of the Hotel since 1939. Perched above the rocky Mediterranean coastline, this infinity pool is heated and filled with seawater, overlooking the sparkling sea.
Club Dauphin also has a super poolside restaurant, plenty of loungers, and private cabanas set into the hillside that you can rent. The fabulous saltwater infinity pool 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. As I mentioned above, because Club Dauphine is on the very tip of the peninsula, the motorboats traveling between Nice and Monaco pass by incredibly closely, which is great fun to watch.
Beyond Club Dauphine are rocks that lead down to the sea’s edge. A little private gate gives you access to this rocky outcrop and a waterfront path that takes you all around the peninsula’s edge. If you like a stroll, you can hike as far as you wish at the water’s edge, enjoying magnificent views along the way.
Back in the main building, well, actually under the main building, and reached by an impressive tunnel that feels like it should be featured in a Bond movie, you will find an amazing Spa. While I didn’t use the spa on this stay, I did last time, and the results were astounding. The Grand Hotel Spa is the first hotel to offer Dr. Burgener’s incredible collagen firming treatment, which offers unbelievable 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 uncomfortable, and post-treatment, your skin will positively glow.
Food & Drink
The most delicious dishes are created by Michelin-starred Chef Yoric Tièche, who reinvents Provençal and Mediterranean dishes using the freshest ingredients, some from the Hotel’s gardens. These exquisite dishes are accompanied by fine wines from the Grand Hotel’s list of 600 wines from France’s top vineyards.
In winter, you can enjoy your food inside the sophisticated Le Cap restaurant. In the summer, you are served underneath fairytale trees on the veranda and overlooking the lawns, gardens, and sea in the distance.
Le Veranda, Le Bar, and Club Dauphin by the pool offer more relaxed dining. I reviewed La Véranda at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, back in 2017.
Four Seasons Cap-Ferrat’s pearly white gates 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 to. Children are treated like kings and queens with delicious food and more glass lifts than in Charlie’s chocolate factory (we counted at least 4). For adults, this palace on the edge of the sea offers outstanding staff, beautiful grounds, an amazing beach club, and a dreamy terrace offering fine dining or simply a place to sip something chilled as the band plays jazz and the sun goes down.
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