Top 10 best luxury hotels on the French Riviera

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today: Top 10 best luxury hotels on the French Riviera

The mythical, legendary and fabulous French Riviera – nestled between the Alps, the Italian border and the Mediterranean Sea – is a top travel destination for many tourists. Enjoying a mild, sunny climate all year round, the French Riviera is famous all over the world for its seaside towns and villages like Cannes, Nice, Monaco and Saint-Tropez. Lively seaside resorts such as Juan-les-Pins, beautiful sandy or pebbled beaches, the wild landscapes of the Estérel, the picturesque islands of Lérins and Porquerolles, and century-old villages like Saint-Paul-de-Vence and Èze rank among the area’s top attractions. France’s Mediterranean coast is also teeming with stunning hotels; here’s my selection of the 10 best hotels on the French Riviera.

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10. CHEVAL BLANC ST TROPEZ

Century-old pine trees frame the sea views at Cheval Blanc St-Tropez, a haven of tranquility in this glamorous hot spot. Deep blues and stark whites create a calming effect in the 30 contemporary rooms with terraces overlooking the yacht-dotted bay. A vivid living art gallery is on display in the hotel’s public areas and rooms, enticing the mind of guests while bringing an hommage to the history of the Bohemian village. Laze the day away on the Maison’s beach, where the hotel staff – called Ambassadeurs – enhance seaside lounging with special attention. Stroll into town, get a lift in the bespoke Bentley, or let the Ambassadeurs create a custom escapade around the Côte d’Azur. Three-Michelin-starred chef Arnaud Donckele’s skills are on display nightly at La Vague d’Or restaurant, orchestrating a symphony of Provençal flavors.

  • Hotel website: Cheval Blanc St-Tropez
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast for two, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit).

CHEVAL BLANC ST TROPEZ


9. LE NEGRESCO HOTEL

For over a century, Le Negresco Hotel has been writing the legend of Nice and the Côte d’Azur. Staying at Le Negresco is like jumping into a joyous mixture of eras and styles. Contemporary artists, masterpieces, monumental sculptures – Le Negresco’s important collection of artwork and period furniture includes over 6,000 references. Works by Moretti, Dalí and sculptress Niki de Saint-Phalle are strikingly mixed in with the interiors’ rare antiques and historical paintings. Madamme Jeanne Augier (family-owner of the hotel from 1957 to 2019) was an art connoisseur who amassed a museum-worthy collection here. The most sumptuous suites have balconies overlooking the sparkling sea, but all showcase Madame Augier’s exquisite taste. The hotel is also home to Nice’s finest restaurant, the Michelin-starred Le Chantecler.

  • Hotel website: Le Negresco
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast for two, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Review: read my review of Le Negresco Hotel here.


8. LILY OF THE VALLEY

The Côte d’Azur shows its wild side at the Philippe Starck-designed Lily of the Valley. The stunning property is a short 20 minutes from Saint-Tropez and features breathtaking views of the sea. From its position atop a hill surrounded by protected nature reserves, guests are only a few steps away from the sandy Gigaro Beach. Lily of the Valley’s 44 guestrooms and suites blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings. At the heart of the hotel is an impressive wellness center complete with seven cabins, two steam rooms, a snow-shower, sauna, and a health-focused restaurant with vegan and vegetarian options. The expert-led “wellness village” offering everything from aerial yoga and Biologique Recherche therapies to tailored detox and weight-loss programs. Go hiking amidst pine-forested hills, swim in two spectacular pools, or grab a chilled rosé on the parasol-dotted beach below.

  • Hotel website: Lily of the Valley
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast for two, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit).

LILY OF THE VALLEY


7. HOTEL BELLES RIVES

Graciously poised above the sparkling shores of the French Riviera, Hotel Belles Rives is a legendary Art Deco mansion with sweeping sea views from rooms with impressive balconies. The former home of Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, the Belles Rives’ bold styling and blue striped awnings has a nostalgic ring reflecting the riotous glamour of that heady era. All 43 rooms feature French step-out balconies (book one with a direct sea view). Head to the Hotel Belles Rives’ private beach and pier for some sun bathing and a swim or try one of the many water sports available. Relax into your luxury break with an indulgent massage in one of the private Cabanas on the beach or take a Valmont beauty treatment at the Belles Rives Beauty. Then, dine at La Passagere, 1 Michelin Star on the waterfront terrace with its unsurpassed sea views – the epitome of Mediterranean chic.

  • Hotel website: Hotel Belles Rives
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast for two, early check-in, late check-out, complimentary sunbeds on the beach, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).

HOTEL BELLES RIVES


6. LA RESERVE RAMATUELLE HOTEL, SPA & VILLAS

You know you’ve arrived at La Réserve Ramatuelle, Hotel, Spa & Villas when you first glimpse the hotel’s stunning crescent-shaped roofline, nestled among fragrant lavender and pine trees. Located in the Côte d’Azur’s private La Réserve neighborhood near Saint-Tropez, this luxe creation by renowned architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte offers guests a discreet, personal environment. Enchanting views of the Mediterranean can be enjoyed from the terrace of any of the nine guest rooms, 19 suites, or 14 luxury private villas. The sumptuous spa offers 11 treatment rooms and focuses on personalized treatments and fitness programs that will help you age better and regenerate. At the restaurant, discover the flavors of the south of France in a delicious concept of healthy cooking. La Réserve Ramatuelle is highly impressive and offers an exceptional service and top design.

LA RESERVE RAMATUELLE HOTEL, SPA & VILLAS


5. THE MAYBOURNE RIVEIRA

With its modern appeal and mesmerizing views, The Maybourne Riviera is securing its spot as the French Riviera’s newest and most sought-after seaside retreat. The striking architecture of the hotel emerges from the rocky peninsula of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin as if forging its way into the glistening Mediterranean Sea. The luxurious property is perfectly positioned between Menton and Monte Carlo, with plunging views across warm terracotta rooftops, olive groves and citrus trees heavy with fruit, out to the azure horizon. Take a stroll around the property past fragrant citrus orchards and seasonal herb gardens. Savor sea-to-table cuisine handcrafted by world-renowned chefs Mauro Colagreco and Jean-Georges Vongerichten Or gaze out onto the water from your private balcony (standard in all 45 rooms and 24 suites) with a chilled rosé de Provence from one of the local vineyards.

  • Hotel website: The Maybourne Riviera
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast for two, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit).

THE MAYBOURNE RIVEIRA


4. CHATEAU DE LA MESSARDIERE

Château de la Messardière is a 19th-century castle hotel perched on a quiet hillside overlooking the stunning Bay of Pampelonne. Since 2019, the Château has undergone a glamorous transformation, with exclusive services and new facilities introduced throughout the estate. Just three minutes from village center, the Château is a peaceful sanctuary where guests can bask in a home-away-from-home atmosphere while pulsing to the Saint-Tropez beat from a distance. The famously warm climate can be enjoyed from the almost Olympic-size outdoor swimming pool and Open Sky, the poolside restaurant overlooking the beautiful Bay of Saint-Tropez, or at the private sand beach Tropézina, just a short stroll from the hotel. Those in need of some action can hop aboard the hotel’s twenty-four-hour shuttle, which transports guests to the buzzing resort town.

  • Hotel website: Château de la Messardière
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast for two, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).

CHATEAU DE LA MESSARDIERE


3. CAP ESTEL

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 from Monaco, 10 minutes from Beaulieu-sur-Mer and St-Jean-Cap Ferrat, and 30 minutes from Nice, the hotel is the ideal place from which to explore and enjoy the beauty of the famous French Riviera. 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 offers luxury, privacy and the utmost comfort in an atmosphere of charm and elegance, with 5-star service.

  • Hotel websiteCap Estel
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast for two, and $100 USD spa credit).

CAP ESTEL


2. HOTEL DU CAP-EDEN-ROC, AN OETKER COLLECTION HOTEL

Gracing the southern tip of the Cap d’Antibes, the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is the quintessential French Riviera playground, with a stretch of private shore, parkland, pool and pontoon. Built in 1869 as a private mansion and opened as a hotel in 1887, it’s a place to enjoy unrivaled panoramas from a luxurious collection of rooms, suites and villas, all discretely set among vast acres of pine trees and pristine coastline. Generations of families and celebrities from across the world come for the season, year after year, enjoying the hotel’s warm and generous hospitality and its terrific leisure facilities, which includes a fabulous infinity pool carved straight out of coastal cliff. Take in the surroundings and you will see the seaside cabanas where Greta Garbo luxuriated, the sparkling blue waters where Kirk Douglas water-skied, and the craggy rocks where Marc Chagall sketched.

HOTEL DU CAP-EDEN-ROC, AN OETKER COLLECTION HOTEL


1. GRAND-HÔTEL DU CAP-FERRAT, A FOUR SEASONS HOTEL

Located between Nice and Monaco, at the tip of the beautiful Cap-Ferrat Peninsula, Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel is a French Riviera icon. 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. This award-winning legend has hosted many heads of state, celebrities, and artists since 1908. Guests can settle into one of 49 guest rooms, 24 suites, or a super-de-luxe villa with views of the sea or lush pine forest. Open from April to October, the hotel’s famous beach club – Club Dauphin – features an Olympic-size heated seawater pool, cabanas, water-edge deck and a private cable car to reach this spectacular facility. The hotel has three excellent restaurants , including one Michelin-starred Le Cap, which serves contemporary French cuisine.

  • Hotel websiteGrand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and $100 USD resort credit).
  • Review: read my review of the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel, here.


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