Insight Guides: Explore Nice & the French Riviera (Insight Explore Guides) (2015)
Hotels ranging from medieval castles to Belle Époque villas to conceptual modern design buildings are all part of the Riviera experience. Despite a reputation for expensive palaces with sumptuous suites and every imaginable amenity, there are also plenty of affordable places where you will still find a warm welcome, sometimes in lovely settings; just do not expect too much in the way of room service and be prepared to drag your suitcases up the stairs yourself. If you arrive without accommodation, many tourist offices have a last-minute reservation service. Book well ahead for Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix in late May, when hotels are full for miles around and prices can easily double or more. While most hotels in Nice and Cannes are open all year and cater to a congress and business clientele as well as the holiday trade, many hotels in smaller resorts close in winter. Prices indicated in this section are for the peak summer period but prices are often much lower out of season and you can find good internet deals (sometimes even in peak season, especially at the last minute).
Price for a double room for one night in high season, including tax but not breakfast:
€€€€ = over 300 euros
€€€ = 180-300 euros
€€ = 100-180 euros
€ = below 100 euros
Eccentric elegance inside the Hôtel Negresco
3 avenue des Fleurs; tel: 04 97 07 26 26; www.hi-hotel.net; €€€
A cult address for design buffs, where nine different room concepts encourage you to experiment with new ways of living; try a bath in the middle of the room, a pontoon, four-poster bath and operating table bed... There’s an organic snack bar and restaurant and DJs in the bar at weekends. The rooftop sundeck has a minuscule pool and is more suitable for taking a dip than doing lengths.
15 avenue Auber; tel: 04 93 88 30 69; €€
Overlooking an attractive garden square amid the Belle Époque and Art Deco buildings of the musicians’ quarter, this good-value 19th-century hotel has recently been renovated although it kept the creaky vintage panelled lift. Rooms are light and high-ceilinged and decorated in sunny Mediterranean colours.
The fabulous chandelier at the Negresco
Hôtel Beau Rivage
24 rue St-François-de-Paule; tel: 04 92 47 82 82; www.nicebeaurivage.com; €€€
Located near the Opéra, the hotel where Matisse stayed when he first came to Nice - as well as Nietzsche and Chekhov - is now a gorgeous exercise in sophisticated minimalism and decorated in natural wood and tones of grey by architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Beach pebbles are an underlying theme, from the pebble-shaped pouffes and cushions in Les Galets lounge bar to the pebble lampstands in the 118 rooms and the pebble-floor bathrooms. It also owns the chic Beau Rivage beach, with its huge, teak-decked restaurant.
23 boulevard Carnot; tel: 04 93 89 69 89; www.clair-hotel-nice.com; €
This charming two-star hotel a couple of minutes’ walk to the east of the port is arguably the best budget option in town. The 10 individually decorated studios, each opening onto the garden, have kitchenettes and free Wifi. Parking is available at extra cost.
25 boulevard Debouchage; tel: 04 92 47 79 79; www.ellington-nice.com; €€
This elegant town-centre hotel next to the Théâtre de l’Image et de la Photo was transformed in 2008 as a homage to jazz. Downstairs there is an atmospheric, 1950s speakeasy-style whisky bar, as well as black-and-white photos of jazz musicians in lifts and corridors. Bedrooms vary between black-and-white minimalism and a more traditional Provençal style.
Hôtel Le Grimaldi
15 rue Grimaldi; tel: 04 93 16 00 24; www.le-grimaldi.com; €€
Housed in two Belle Époque buildings, this lovely intimate hotel in the New Town with helpful staff and comfortable good-sized rooms decorated with colourful neo-Provençal fabrics; those on the upper floors have views over the city or Mont Boron.
37 promenade des Anglais; tel: 04 93 16 64 00; www.hotel-negresco-nice.com; €€€€
Crowned by its pink and green cupola, the Negresco is both Nice’s most celebrated hotel and one of its most eccentric, with its mix of elegance and kitsch. Original Old Master paintings and modern sculptures by Niki de St-Phalle mix with gold-plated basins and curiously tacky souvenir shops, and owner Jeanne Augier has personally selected the rooms’ antiques and other furnishings. There are two restaurants: the haute-cuisine Chantecler and the merry-go-round themed La Rotonde. There is a private beach in front of the hotel.
Nice Garden Hôtel
11 rue du Congrès; tel: 04 93 87 35 62; www.nicegardenhotel.com; €€
A family-run hotel with nine tastefully decorated rooms, each overlooking the verdant Mediterranean garden - there are even orange trees. Children over the age of six are welcome and it’s only 10 minutes’ walk from the train station and the beach.
Hôtel du Petit Palais
17 avenue Emile Bieckert; tel: 04 93 62 19 11; www.petitpalaisnice.com; €€
Staying in the intimate ochre-coloured villa in Cimiez that once belonged to actor-playwright Sacha Guitry gives a taste of living in residential Nice. Staff are welcoming and rooms are attractively decorated, some with small terraces or balconies giving views over the rooftops to the Baie des Anges, and there is a small paved garden courtyard. It is near to the Chagall Museum but a bit of a trek to most of the city’s restaurants.
15 quai Raubà Capéù; tel: 04 92 17 39 00; €€€
Behind a period façade and built into the cliff face of Castle Hill, the attractive Hôtel Suisse has been stylishly modernised with a different colour scheme on each floor. Most rooms have a sea view and balcony. The gorgeous, airy ground-floor salon and breakfast room even contains a minuscule rock cave.
Romantic Château Eza
Hôtel Villa Les Cygnes
6 avenue Château de la Tour; tel: 04 97 03 23 35; www.villalescygnes.com; €€
Near the Musée des Beaux-Arts on the Baumettes hill, this 1920s three-storey villa now has six elegantly decorated rooms: the two on the ground floor open onto the garden while those on the second floor have balconies. There is free Wifi and air-conditioning.
Hôtel Villa Rivoli
10 rue de Rivoli; tel: 04 93 88 80 25: www.villa-rivoli.com; €
This ornate villa, built in 1890 to accommodate winter visitors to the Riviera, has been restored with lashings of charm and 24 tasteful bedrooms, plus staff who strive to make you feel at home. Downstairs, there is a lovely salon in gentle tones of grey and beige, with family portraits, comfortable sofas and bergère chairs around the fireplace, and a small garden. There is air conditioning but no lift.
27 promenade des Anglais; tel: 04 92 14 86 86; www.westminster-nice.com; €€€
This venerable pink stucco seafront hotel, which opened in 1880, has preserved its impressive ground-floor salons and the magnificent open staircase, hung with an interesting collection of historic oil paintings of old Nice. Bedrooms have gradually been redone floor by floor; some in traditional style, the most recent ones in more contemporary soft pearly blues with subtle lighting. There is a restaurant and bar.
11 rue Dalpozzo; tel: 04 93 88 59 35; www.hotelwindsornice.com; €€
From the outside it looks like any other 19th-century hotel, but within is a true one-off. Many of the rooms have been individually decorated by internationally renowned contemporary artists; simpler rooms have frescoes or posters. There is a new spa, an outdoor swimming pool and aviary in the lushly planted garden, a restaurant and changing art installations in the hallway.
Villa La Tour
4 rue de la Tour; tel: 04 93 80 08 15; www.villa-la-tour.com; €€
With just 17 rooms located in a former monastery, the Villa La Tour is for romantics who want to stay in the Old Town itself. Squashy decrepit sofas in the entrance and individually decorated rooms have a boho charm. The cheapest rooms overlook a small courtyard; pay slightly more for a view over the Vieux Nice rooftops. No lift.
33 boulevard Victor Hugo; tel: 04 93 88 39 60; www.villa-victoria.com; €€
An elegant 19th-century villa with a listed façade in the heart of the New Town. Rooms are rather functional, but are high-ceilinged and of a good size. Some have balconies, but the real treat here is the exotically planted garden, where you can relax in the shade of tall palms and orange trees.
La Bastide aux Camélias
23 route de l’Adret, Èze; tel: 04 93 41 13 68; www.bastideauxcamelias.com; €€
Gorgeous B&B in a renovated 16th-century farmhouse on the outskirts of the village, with amazing views over the coast. The four bedrooms have a romantic air and there’s a lovely garden and pool. Book an aromatherapy massage if you need to de-stress.
Rue de la Pise, Èze Villlage; tel: 04 93 41 12 24; www.chateaueza.com; €€€€
Perched high over the Mediterranean, this luxurious 12-room hideaway in a medieval building in the ramparts of Èze has to be one of the most romantic hotels on the Riviera. Bedrooms have pretty toile de jouy print fabrics, many have exposed stone walls and stone fireplaces, and some have terraces; the suite even has an outdoor jacuzzi. There is a sleek bar and a gastronomic restaurant with spectacular views. No access to vehicles.
Grand Hôtel du Cap Ferrat
71 boulevard du Général de Gaulle, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat; tel: 04 93 76 50 50; €€€€
Occupying the tip of Cap Ferrat, this Riviera grande dame was brought up to date in 2009 in a style that is opulent yet tastefully restrained. Bedrooms in the main building feature bespoke furniture, vast beds and walk-in dressing rooms, while ground-floor suites in the wavelike modern annex each have a private infinity pool. There is also a new spa, although it is hard to beat the beauty of the original outdoor infinity pool, reached by a glass-sided funicular. Americans and Russians head the guest list, some of whom stay here for months. The 300 staff will cater to every need and even the tree tops over the restaurant terrace have been manicured like a lawn.
Hôtel Brise Marine
58 avenue Jean Mermoz, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat; tel: 04 93 76 04 36; www.hotel-brisemarine.com; €€
Expect fairly small but immaculate bedrooms in this authentic late 19th-century villa, which overlooks the Mediterranean. A steeply terraced garden, adorned with palm trees, fountains and flowerpots, leads down to the sea. No restaurant.
The pool and balconies at the revamped Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat
La Fiancée du Pirate
8 boulevard de la Corne d’Or, Villefranche-sur-Mer; tel: 04 93 76 67 40; www.fianceedupirate.com; €€
In a residential area above the bay, ‘the pirate’s girlfriend’ has a beach house feel. Some rooms have sea views, some open onto the garden and there are bungalows too. The pool means you don’t have to trek to the beach.
Hôtel La Régence - Chez Betty
2 avenue Maréchal Foch, Villefranche-sur-Mer; tel: 04 93 01 70 91; www.laregence-hotel.fr; €
On the main road that runs through Villefranche, above the old town, this café-hotel has 10 rooms which were redecorated in 2013 in modern Provençal style. There is free Wifi and the bus stop and train station are a stone’s throw away. A studio apartment is available nearby.
Hôtel Villa Cap Ferrat
49 avenue Denis Semeria, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat; tel: 04 93 76 24 24; www.hotel-villa-cap-ferrat.com; €€€
Formerly Hôtel Belle Aurore, this three-star hotel on Cap Ferrat reopened in 2014 after total renovation to turn it into modern, stylish accommodation. Seventeen rooms overlook the bay and the 20 metre pool, where the breakfast buffet is served.
3 quai Amiral Courbet, Villefranche-sur-Mer; tel: 04 93 76 27 62; www.welcomehotel.com; €€€
With the best location in Villefranche, right on the quayside next to the Cocteau Chapel, it is not surprising that this historic hotel has welcomed all sorts of illustrious guests over the past 200 years. The spacious airconditioned rooms nearly all have balconies overlooking the port, and the former restaurant has been replaced by a stylish yet relaxed wine bar. Closed mid-November-Christmas.
Breathtaking sea view at the Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat
23 avenue des Papalins; tel: +377 92 05 90 00; www.columbushotels.com; €€€
In Fontvieille, this was Monaco’s first boutique hotel and a favourite with racing drivers as it was once owned by David Coulthard. Accommodation is in stylish rooms, suites and an apartment. There’s a sleek restaurant serving Asian-Fusion cuisine and an outdoor pool.
1 avenue Président J.-F. Kennedy, La Condamine; tel: +377-93 30 86 48; €€€
A bargain 11-room hotel above a modern brasserie with fine views across the Port Hercule to the Palais Princier on the other side. Rooms are bright and stylish with a vaguely nautical theme; some have balconies. Staff are friendly.
Hôtel de Paris
Place du Casino, Monte-Carlo; tel: +377-92 16 30 00; www.hoteldeparismontecarlo.com; €€€€
As much a part of Monte-Carlo’s history as the Casino at the end of the square, the hotel that started it all in 1864 is still the grandest place to stay in Monaco, with chandelier-hung lobby, grand staircase and bedrooms and suites that remain firmly in the spirit of another age. It is home to the ever fashionable Bar Américain, the gourmet Louis XV restaurant and with direct access to the Thermes Marins spa and gym.
Le Méridien Beach Plaza
22 avenue Princesse Grace, Monte-Carlo; tel: +377-93 30 98 80; www.lemeridienmontecarlo.com; €€€€
Just east of Larvotto beach, the huge, modern Méridien Beach is very popular with the nouveaux riches from Russia and Eastern Europe. It boasts contemporary artworks in the lobby and a 24-hour restaurant, landscaped outdoor pool, indoor pool and private beach. Rooms in two towers offer 180° panoramas; many of the other rooms have balconies with sea views.
7 avenue de la Madone; tel: 04 93 57 55 55; www.hotelaiglon.net; €€
A 19th-century white stucco mansion converted into an atmospheric hotel with beautiful architectural details. The Belle Époque bar/salon is a delight; rooms are less elaborate, with a certain old-fashioned charm. Set in large gardens, there is an outdoor pool and a warm welcome for kids with a play area and ping pong.
10 rue Albert 1er; tel: 04 93 28 63 63; www.hotel-lemon.com; €
Eco-aware contemporary budget hotel in a Belle Epoque villa. Rooms are light and airy with ‘breatheasy’ paint; breakfast is made with local and organic produce. A breath of fresh air in staid Menton.
29 Porte de France; tel: 04 93 35 89 50; www.napoleon-menton.com; €€
This modern seafront hotel near the Val Rahmeh Botanical Gardens offers sleekly furnished rooms and suites decked out in a palette of warm colours. Bedrooms at the front have generous balconies overlooking the Garavan Bay; those at the rear have mountain views. There is a bar, garden and outdoor pool and gym.
Clean lines at the Royal Antibes
Hôtel Palm Garavan
3 avenue Porte de France; tel: 04 93 78 80 67; www.hotel-menton-garavan.com; €€
Opposite the beaches of Garavan Bay, this hotel has 19 contemporary-design rooms, some of which have balconies overlooking the sea and mountains; the others overlook the courtyard garden. There is free Wifi, one room with disabled access and parking available for a fee.
600 promenade du Soleil; tel: 04 92 10 92 10; www.rivahotel.com; €€
This three-star hotel on the seafront has been redecorated in contemporary style with a mix of bright colours and designer furniture. The selling points here are a spa with beauty treatments, an art gallery and a tea room.
route de Coursegoules; tel: 04 93 58 02 02; www.chateau-st-martin.com; €€€€
True luxury in the former castle of the Knights Templar, on the hills above Vence with views to the coast. Rooms are classic and the restaurant has an excellent reputation. The extensive grounds include tennis court and infinity pool. The award-winning spa uses upmarket La Prairie products.
79 avenue des Poilus; tel: 04 93 58 28 56; www.hotel-diana.fr; €€
This modern hotel on the edge of the Old Town has been tastefully redecorated after a change of ownership in 2007. Some of the pleasant rooms have a kitchenette and there’s a large roof terrace with deckchairs, jacuzzi and exercise machines.
La Maison du Frêne
1 place du Frêne; tel: 04 93 24 37 83; www.lamaisondufrene.com; €€
This imposing 18th-century house has been turned into a temple of contemporary art where bright colours reign supreme and copies of Warhol and Picasso adorn the walls. The four rooms are very stylishly decorated and it’s unlikely you’ll want to leave.
The lobby at the Royal Antibes
Mas de Vence
539 avenue Emile Hugues; tel: 04 93 58 06 16; http://masdevence.azurline.com; €€
This modern neo-Provençal mas (farmhouse) located a 10-minute (uphill) walk from the town centre has a distinctly 1980s aura but is well maintained with decent-sized rooms (and efficient air-con), a restaurant serving Provençal specialities and staff who will go out of their way to help or inform. There is a good-sized swimming pool and a garden of terraced olive trees.
16 avenue Louis Gallet, Juan-les-Pins; tel: 04 93 61 05 20; www.edenhoteljuan.com; €€
About 15-minutes’ walk from Antibes, this two-star hotel provides excellent budget accommodation. The family-run hotel is decorated in traditional Provençal style and breakfast is taken on the attractive, shaded terrace. Book a sea view if possible.
13 avenue de Max Maurey, Antibes; tel: 04 93 61 45 89; www.jabotte.com; €€
Adorable - and affordable - lodgings with bright decor just up the street from the Plage de Salis. The original artwork in the 10 rooms is the work of one of the owners. There is a gorgeous garden patio and it’s 15-minutes’ walk from the beach.
The Royal Antibes’ sleek café
12 avenue Docteur Dautheville, Juan-les-Pins; tel: 04 93 61 31 34; www.hotelmademoisellejuan.com; €€
Hip hotel a stone’s throw from the beach in Juan-les-Pins. Rooms are individually decorated in quirky style: think gold robots, dwarves and cushions with sleeping faces. Don’t miss the tea room and its mouth-watering cakes. Bike hire is available.
1 rue Fourmilière; tel: 04 92 90 59 05; www.modernhotel06.com; €
Beyond its Art Deco pediment, this simple budget hotel won’t win any prizes for style, but it is practical and well positioned in the pedestrianised part of the Old Town. Beds are comfortable and the spotless bathrooms have all been recently redone. There is air conditioning but no lift.
Hôtel Royal Antibes
16 boulevard Maréchal Leclerc, Antibes; tel: 04 83 61 91 91; www.hotelroyal-antibes.com; €€€
On the waterfront towards Cap d’Antibes, this modern luxury hotel, beach and spa opened its doors in 2011. The 63 rooms, suites and apartments offer the latest contemporary comforts and the New York-style Café Royal restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
5 rue François Einesy; tel: 04 92 99 72 00; www.3-14hotel.com; €€€
The most wittily over-the-top hotel in Cannes. The five floors of bedrooms are each themed after a different continent (America’s style is Neo-Geo, Europe is influenced by the Moulin Rouge, etc), while Heaven is the landscaped rooftop pool and spa, and Earth, the sultry Oriental-style ground-floor salons and fashionable Mediterranean restaurant. There is also the 3.14 Beach restaurant for summer lunches.
Hôtel 7 Art
23 rue du Maréchal Joffre; tel: 04 93 68 66 66; www.hotel-7art.com; €€
Bright and breezy budget boutique hotel which pays homage to the ‘7th art’ aka cinema. Rooms are small but include free Wi-Fi and it’s a short walk to the train station. If it’s full, they also have two apartments near the Palais des Festivals.
Hôtel Les Allées
6 rue Emile Négrin; tel: 04 93 39 53 90; www.hotel-des-allees.com; €€
Highly recommended budget hotel in the heart of the pedestrian area. The colourful, contemporary, individually decorated rooms have air-conditioning, free Wifi and safes; some have balconies overlooking the port. Children under the age of six can stay for free.
Luxury suite, Five Seas Hotel
120 rue d’Antibes; tel: 04 97 06 95 00; www.hotel-cannes-canberra.com; €€€
A smart, comfortable boutique hotel with 30 rooms and 5 suites. There is a pleasant outdoor pool and Le Café Blanc, a 1950s-style lounge bar and restaurant where snacks and tapas are available.
11 boulevard Carnot; tel: 04 97 06 26 00; www.cavendish-cannes.com; €€
A characterful boutique hotel in an attractive Belle Époque building on the big boulevard that leads towards La Croisette. The comfortable period town-house style was conceived by decorator Christophe Tollemer as a homage to the English lords who once frequented the coast, with some wonderful circular rooms in the corner turret.
Hôtel Château de la Tour
10 avenue Font-de-Veyre, La Bocca; tel: 04 93 90 52 52; www.hotelchateaudelatour.com; €€
Hidden on the hill above the Plage du Midi, this is a rare place where you can capture a taste of the aristocratic villa lifestyle; the original wing complete with crenellated turret was built for a countess in the 1880s. The traditional rooms are comfortable and the restaurant, which is open to non-residents, moves out into the exotically planted garden in summer, where there is also an outdoor pool.
Five Seas Hotel
1 rue Notre Dame; tel: 04 63 36 05 05; www.five-seas-hotel-cannes.com; €€€€
The latest addition to Cannes’ collection of luxury boutique hotels doesn’t disappoint. The 45 rooms and suites have achingly hip design; the presidential suite has a terrace jacuzzi. There is also a fashionable restaurant, a Carita spa, a rooftop pool and a yacht available for guests to book.
8 rue du Commandant André; tel: 04 93 39 24 82; www.hotel-leflorian.fr; €
On the hippest shopping street, this is one of the best budget options in town. There are 20 rooms and 15 apartments sleeping up to four people. With plenty of bars in the vicinity, it’s reassuring that there is double glazing and aircon.
Le Mistral Hôtel
13 rue des Belges; tel: 04 93 39 91 46; www.mistral-hotel.com; €
This is a stylish budget discovery in a simple blue-shuttered building just a couple of streets back from the Palais des Festivals. The 10 rooms, named after different winds (chinook, sirocco, etc), are comfortably decked out in warm colours and stripey wood; bigger ones can accommodate three people and have bathrooms with windows. No lift.
The rooftop pool at the Five Seas
5 rue Molière; tel: 04 93 38 16 16; www.hotel-moliere.com; €€
There is a relaxed mood at this small, well-located contemporary design hotel, set at the rear of a long, flowery garden between La Croisette and rue d’Antibes. The 24 rooms sport modern minimalist tones, most with good-sized balconies. Enjoy breakfast in the garden in summer.
4-6 rue Félix Faure; tel: 04 97 06 22 22; www.splendid-hotel-cannes.com; €€
A sparkling white Belle Époque edifice ideally situated in the heart of the action, near the port and almost opposite the Palais des Festivals. Rooms have been comfortably updated while retaining period flourishes. Breakfast is served on a large sunny terrace.
La Ferme d’Augustin
Plage de Tahiti, Ramatuelle; tel: 04 94 55 97 00; www.fermeaugustin.com; €€€€
Set in vineyards next to Tahiti Beach, this family-run hotel in a lovely old farmhouse is surrounded by luxuriant gardens. The bedrooms overlook the gardens and many have balconies and sea views. The guests-only restaurant uses produce from the hotel’s own kitchen garden. There’s a heated swimming pool and secure parking. Most guests are regulars, so reserve well ahead. Closed mid-October-March.
Plage de Pampelonne; www.riviera-villages.com; €€
Not strictly camping, but Tahitian-style huts which sleep up to six people and some chalets right on the beach. There are several restaurants, a spa and a whole host of activities so it’s a great place for families. The company also has two other parks in the area, Prairies de la Mer and Toison d’Or.
The gleaming-white Kube Hotel
Hôtel des Lices
10 avenue Augustin Grangeon; tel: 04 97 28 28; www.hoteldeslices.com; €€€€
Traditional three-star hotel with 40 comfortable, modern rooms, some of which overlook the garden and pool (the pool-side bar is a popular spot for cocktails). Next door is a pristine villa for rent which sleeps up to seven people in three rooms. No restaurant.
Hôtel Lou Cagnard
18 avenue Paul Roussell; tel: 04 94 97 04 24; www.hotel-lou-cagnard.com; €€
This old Provençal house is the best of the ‘budget’ accommodation in St-Tropez. Its 19 rooms are simply decorated and breakfast under the fig trees in the garden is a delight. There isn’t a restaurant or pool but there is free parking.
75 avenue du Général Leclerc; tel: 04 98 12 56 50; www.pastis-st-tropez.com; €€€€
This is more like a dream home than a hotel. The nine individually decorated rooms overlook a courtyard with a swimming pool; each boasts artworks from the owners’ Pop Art collection; one room has a copper bathtub. A special place.
Hôtel Les Palmiers
26 boulevard Vasserot; tel: 04 94 97 01 61; www.hotel-les-palmiers.com; €€
Proof that good-value no-frills accommodation exists in St-Tropez, Les Palmiers has a great location on place des Lices, although the hotel itself is set back in a garden with palms and orange trees, where you can eat breakfast or have an evening drink. Rooms are simple but clean, with Provençal fabrics and modern paintings.
Kube Hotel St-Tropez
Route de St-Tropez (D98), Gassin; tel: 04 94 97 20 00; www.kubehotel.com; €€€€
This offshoot of the trendy Paris Kube has kept the trademark glass-and-steel reception cube and ice bar where you drink vodka shots in sub-zero temperatures, but combines it all with more of a resorty feel. A gorgeous pool stretches out in front of the hotel between shady lawns where you can eat in summer. There’s also a smaller heated pool at the rear, outdoor cocktail bar, an indoor lounge bar and a rooftop Champagne bar where you can listen to the DJ or settle in a sofa on fake grass. Bedrooms are suave exercises in grey and white with plenty of witty touches.
1 avenue du Général Leclerc; tel: 04 98 12 91 12; www.hotel-mistralee.com; €€€€
This white 19th-century villa near the port used to belong to Alexandre ‘hairdresser to the stars’ de Paris, but is now a sophisticated small hotel, with a boudoir-style conservatory lounge, an outdoor pool in the walled garden and a restaurant where the chef will personally concoct your menu. Each of the 11 rooms has a different theme, ranging from colourful ‘chinoise’ to manly brown and white-striped Hemingway.
MASSIF DES MAURES
45 boulevard des Pêcheurs
Super-Lavandou, Le Lavandou; tel: 04 94 71 46 02; www.chambrehotes-draganja.com; €
One bedroom with its own private terrace in the hosts’ curved, modern villa about 15-minutes’ walk from the town centre; there is also an apartment available to rent. Hire a bike to explore the area or relax by the pool in the luxuriant garden. Due to its elevated position, there are uninterrupted views over the coast.
Hôtel Bailli de Suffren
Avenue des Américains, Le Rayol Canadel; tel: 04 98 04 47 00; www.lebaillidesuffren.com; €€€
Located on a secluded beach beneath the Domaine de Rayol Gardens, this curved 1960s building - all rooms have balconies or terraces and sea views - has been pleasantly refurbished in a modern, Provençal-chic style, with a heated pool, private beach, bar, gastronomic and poolside restaurants and boats for hire. Closed mid-October-mid-April.
quai Baptistin Pins, Le Lavandou; tel: 04 98 00 44 51; www.baptistin-hotel-lavandou.com; €€
A modern hotel with just 14 stylishly decorated rooms opposite the port and surrounded by pines and palm trees. The sea-view rooms all have balconies with seats. No restaurant.
Hôtel Notre Dame
15 avenue de la Libération, Collobrières; tel: 04 94 48 07 13; www.hotel-notre-dame.eu; €€
Charming, attractive hotel housed in an 18th-century coaching inn with 10 rooms decorated in a modern, Provençal style. The restaurant serves market-Inspired dishes and there is an outdoor pool.
Hôtel de la Plage
boulevard de la Plage, La Favière, Bormes-les-Mimosas; tel: 04 94 71 02 74; www.hotelbormes.com; €€
This family-oriented hotel in Bormes’ beach resort of La Favière has been run by the same family since it opened in 1939. Most of the 45 air-conditioned rooms have balconies or terraces, and there’s a restaurant serving dinner if desired. Pétanque and ping pong outside. Closed Oct-Easter.
Hôtel Restaurant Bellevue
14 place Gambetta, Bormes-les-Mimosas; tel: 04 94 71 15 15; www.bellevuebormes.com; €
This friendly village hotel/restaurant has attractively redecorated its 17 bedrooms and added air conditioning, yet kept its prices remarkably low. Some rooms give onto animated place Gambetta, but the best have a belle vue from its hilltop perch to the coast.
Le Verger Maelvi
route de Collobrières, Grimaud; tel: 04 94 55 57 80; www.hotel-grimaud.com; €€
On the edge of the village, this traditional Provençal house, which was completely renovated in 2011, is the perfect place to get away from it all. The 14 rooms have contemporary décor and there’s a lovely swimming pool. No restaurant.