Top 10: most exclusive hotels in France

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (July 17, 2017): Top 10 best luxury hotels & resorts in France.

France is one of the world’s most seductive and hauntingly beautiful nations. Much of the country’s beauty comes from the diversity of its landscape, from sun-drenched beaches to rough Alpine peaks, and its remarkable cultural heritage, which is highlighted by spectacular cathedrals and palaces. And then, there’s the gastronomy, the haute couture scene, the lovely language, and the famous French joy de vivre, all of it captivating us. The magnificent country also has a string of ultraluxe hotels that matches its cultural and natural heritage, and today, I present you my 10 preferred luxury hotels in La Douce France.

There is more info (with reviews and Youtube clips) below the slide show.  Think I missed one? Leave a comment or take my poll below!

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10. HOTEL DE LA CITE CARCASSONNE – MGALLERY BY SOFITEL

The walled city of Carcassonne stands high on a hill above the River Aude, overlooking the valley of Laurageais and the lush Minervois vineyards. It is Europe’s largest fortified citadel, each stone a mute witness to its romantic past. Standing between two historic landmarks, the Roman Chateau Comtal and the Gothic Basilica of Saint-Nazaire, the Hotel de la Cite is set in its own glorious gardens. Each of its 60 rooms and suites is individually furnished and decorated in traditional style – matched by modern comfort, and all rooms feature the most up to date facilities including air conditioning, sound-proofing, direct dial telephone and television. The redecoration of the hotel has been coordinated by the celebrated designers Gerard Gallet and Jean-Michel Ley.

HOTEL DE LA CITE CARCASSONNE – MGALLERY BY SOFITEL

9. LE CHALET ZANNIER, MEGEVE

Nestled in a beautiful part of the French Alps, Le Chalet Zannier is a delightful mountain retreat offering a truly luxurious experience. The welcome is personal and the accommodation sumptuous – everything you need for an unforgettable time away. Established over a vast area, the site has three alpine-style chalets, the decoration of which expresses the very essence and sophistication of the project when it was created as an “exceptional place” to stay. All different, each one of the 12 bedrooms evokes style, beauty and taste. The wellness centre with its indoor swimming pool, sauna, hammam and two treatment rooms is the perfect place to relax after an enjoyable day on the slopes.

LE CHALET ZANNIER, MEGEVE

8. HOTEL DU PALAIS, BIARRITZ

It is a well-known fact that the villa that houses the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, overlooking the Bay of Biscay, was built by Napoleon III for his stunning wife, Eugénie. Few travelers realize, however, that the Spanish-born beauty had been to Biarritz before, and that it was she who convinced her husband to visit the resort town in the first place. Today, the scarlet-and-cream-colored seaside hotel – part of the collection of Leading Hotels of the World – still channels its grand heritage. Rooms are lavish and high ceilings create a breezy, destination-appropriate vibe. Equally sumptuous is La Rotunda restaurant, where the beau monde comes for special occasion meals. The extensive wellness facility, complete with a Guerlain spa and lounging areas with sea views, is the kind of enclave that Eugénie surely would have loved.

  • Hotel website: Hotel Du Palais
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and $100 USD spa credit).
HOTEL DU PALAIS, BIARRITZ

7. GRAND HOTEL DU CAP FERRAT, A FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, FRENCH RIVIERA

The Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel is located between Nice and Monaco, at the tip of the beautiful Cap-Ferrat Peninsula. The property faces the Mediterranean and is surrounded by a private 17 acre estate of pine trees and gardens with flowers of a thousand colors. There are 74 rooms and suites entirely renovated and redecorated by Pierre-Yves Rochon. The hotel Spa features six luxury treatment rooms, a fitness center, an in-door pool, sauna, steam rooms and a spa garden. The Residence, contemporary addition to the hotel, offers a sea and garden front wing with eight pool suites and sixteen deluxe rooms – all with private terraces.  The beach club is open from April to October, and features an Olympic-size heated sea-water pool, cabanas, water-edge deck and a private cable car to reach this spectacular facility.

GRAND HOTEL DU CAP FERRAT, A FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, FRENCH RIVIERA

6. THE PENINSULA PARIS

In August 2014, Hong Kong-grade luxury moved into the City of Light (albeit two years behind schedule). It is the first European property of The Peninsula Hotels brand, which is widely acclaimed as one of the most exclusive hotel brands in the world. The Peninsula Paris is located in a late 19th century classic Haussmanian building,  which first opened as one of Paris’s most luxurious “grands hotels” in 1908. Steeped in history, the property has been meticulously restored and discreetly modernised with the ultimate in 21st century convenience. The Peninsula houses 200 luxurious rooms, including 34 suites. Six years in the making, some of France’s finest artisans were hand-picked to undertake this stunning restoration.

THE PENINSULA PARIS


5. CHATEAU SAINT-MARTIN & SPA, FRENCH RIVIERA

Chateau Saint Martin & Spa – member of the prestigious Oetker Collection – sits on 13 hectares (approximately 32 acres) of a rugged hillside and overlooks the medieval village of St.-Paul-de-Vence.  The blue Mediterranean can be seen in the distance, so if you’re looking for a romantic and private place to stay along the Riviera look no further. The property dates back to 1115, when the Knights Templar were granted the land by the Count of Provence.  Chateau Saint Martin  was built in 1936, but part of the Templar castle—a battered wall and the remnants of a drawbridge—stands as a potent reminder of this parcel’s rich history. All the guestrooms have exquisitely refined interiors, with the owner’s personal attention to detail and there are fabulous views over the sweep of the Côte d’Azur from Nice to Cannes.

  • Hotel websiteChateau Saint-Martin & Spa
  • Other accolades: Chateau Saint Martin & Spa features in my top 10 list of the world’s best castle hotels.
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and $100 USD spa credit).
CHATEAU SAINT-MARTIN & SPA, COTE D’AZUR

4. INTERCONTINENTAL BORDEAUX LE GRAND HOTEL

InterContinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hotel is a favorite hideaway in this extraordinary city and occupies an enviable position: it lies directly opposite the Opera National de Bordeaux. Having undergone a complete restoration in 2015 – without losing its original beauty and character – the hotel now offers a Michelin star gourmet restaurant ‘Le Pressoir d’Argent’ by Gordon Ramsay that serves fresh seafood and fine local wines, as well as a casual brasserie Le Bordeaux Gordon Ramsay, which draws upon the best local ingredients with big cuts of meat. Each of the 148 rooms and suites is equipped with a flat-screen TV, marble bathroom, and complimentary Internet. Newly opened is a sublime, lavishly decorated spa, inspired by Roman baths.

INTERCONTINENTAL BORDEAUX LE GRAND HOTEL

3. SHANGRI-LA HOTEL PARIS

Built in 1896 as the private home of Prince Roland Bonaparte, the hotel achieves a balance between Asian Shangri-La hospitality and French art de vivre. Most of the 101 rooms enjoy mesmerizing views of the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine. The old-world elegance of the room, lovingly adorned with the fine work of craftsmen, is mirrored in the city that lies just below. Weary eyes and feet can refresh in the hotel’s pool, the largest indoor option in Paris. Don’t forget a culinary voyage at L’Abeille, the hotel’s French gastronomic restaurant (2 stars in the Michelin Guide).

SHANGRI-LA HOTEL PARIS

2. AMAN LE MELEZIN, COURCHEVEL

The only alpine property of Aman Resorts, the world’s most exclusive hotel brand, Le Melezin has taken the minimalist Aman-Asian style and added some alpine warmth. Standing four storeys high under a distinctive black slate roof it provides an aprés-ski home set in a mesmeric wonderland of groomed slopes – both nursery and couloirs – framed by snow caressed conifer forests under a piercingly blue midday sky. Ideally situated on the Bellecôte ski slope, the hotel is a lively home of glowing warmth, a stroll from the epicentre of one of Europe’s most fashionable and exclusive resorts, Courchevel 1850, with access to some of the most exceptional skiing in Europe … directly from the front door.

AMAN LE MELEZIN, COURCHEVEL

1. CAP ESTEL, FRENCH RIVIERA

Situated on its own two-hectare peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean Sea and surrounded on three sides by water, Cap Estel enjoys magnificent panoramic views. Only 10 minutes away from Monaco, 10 minutes from Beaulieu-sur-Mer and St-Jean-Cap Ferrat, and 30 minutes from Nice, it is the ideal place from which to explore and enjoy the beauty of the Côte d’Azur. A boutique hotel in its own gated estate, set amid lush greenery and beautiful trees, Cap Estel is secluded and discrete, a quiet oasis where you can escape the crowds and enjoy complete rest and  privacy.  No wonder that International celebrities have been coming here for over 50 years to unwind. With only 28 rooms spread over four separate locations, Cap Estel brings you luxury and the utmost comfort in an atmosphere of charm and elegance, with 5-star service.

  • Hotel website: Cap Estel
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast for 2, $100 USD spa credit, early check-in and late check-out).
CAP ESTEL, FRENCH RIVIERA

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