Review: Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel
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Choosing a post-lockdown holiday is no easy task. Where on this earth could be luxurious enough to help to undo the stress of this year? Enter one of the French Riviera’s most renowned hotels, the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel. Rebecca Cox checks in to check it out…
Were it not for the masks, diligently worn by all, within a few hours of arrival at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat it would be easy to forget that we are in the midst of a global pandemic. As with all Four Seasons hotels, there is a quiet elegance to everything, which extends to the implementation of new Covid-19 safety regulations, from individual kits in the rooms to cloth-covered hand sanitiser bottles placed discreetly around the hotel next to signature statement floral arrangements.
Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel Review
Nestled in its impressive clifftop position overlooking the turquoise Mediterranean sea, this exclusive hotel sits within 17 acres of beautifully well-tended-to grounds and gardens, with Villa Sospir and Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild nearby. For the ultimate in privacy for your family, opt for a pool suite in the modern addition to the hotel, built in a style not in keeping with the 1908 original building but not in contrast, either; a sleek eco-friendly curved building that perfectly complements the Grand Hotel. The suites are spacious and comfortable, and the pools are alarmed to keep your little ones safe at all times.
However, there is something irresistible about staying in amongst the historic glamour of the Grand Hotel itself. Perhaps it’s the vintage glass elevator, the winding staircase lined with pictures of its most famous former visitors (from Tina Turner to Winston Churchill) or the secret marble passageway leading from the hotel into the spa for ultimate discretion. More likely, it’s the sea views from almost all rooms, the white, bright linens in the hotel’s shared spaces, the views across the curved, perfectly-manicured lawns and the glorious marble bathtubs and a feeling that you’re part of the hotel’s illustrious history now, too. Treat yourself to the newly renovated Palace Sea View Suite to take in the glistening, yacht-filled waters straight from your bath. Rooms on the west side of the hotel overlook the charming lighthouse at the tip of the cap, with its comforting beacon brightening up evenings, which should be spent with a glass of Provence rosé in hand enjoying the view.
From its secluded position, you can choose to explore St-Jean Cap-Ferrat via the pretty coastal path that leads around the edge of the peninsula straight from the hotel, with multiple rocky pathways down to the ocean for a dip. Perhaps the more appealing choice, however, is to stay put and spend your days relaxing at the hotel’s Club Dauphin, one of the most luxurious beach clubs in Europe. Home to a 33-metre heated sea water infinity pool, there is no better spot to soak up the sun between swims than the lounge chairs spaced across the deck. No better place, that is, than the brand-new seaside cabanas, which provide complete comfort and privacy for two to four people, with private dressing room, fridge, safe and full waiter service. You can book the cabana for the day, your stay, or the entire season, depending on your dedication to relaxation. If you’re feeling brave, a set of steps lead to a little sea cove straight from the gates of the hotel, blasted from the rock to provide a (quite choppy) spot for sea bathing.
The famous Paloma Beach is further round the cap and the pretty harbour with a bustling row of bars and restaurants is a 20-minute walk from the hotel should you need a change of scenery. (Spoiler: you won’t.)
There is one rule when it comes to the food: go local. It’s impossible not to in the hands of Michelin starred chef Yoric Tièche, who sources many ingredients from the hotel’s gardens and heads up the team at flagship restaurant Le Cap, and also provides dishes for the excellent offering at the more casual La Véranda. For a casual supper alfresco, the fish bouillabaisse is a favourite of the region and the perfect dish to taste the best of what the south has to offer.
It would be remiss not to take a moment to pay homage to the pastries at the hotel. One could dedicate an entire feature to the pain au chocolat from the (abundant and fully operational) breakfast buffet, made with countless layers of the finest, buttery pastry each spread with chocolate hazelnut fondant and finished with a rich chocolate filling. Instead, let us dedicate a separate paragraph to it with the instruction to take a minimum of two, always.
THE FINAL WORD
Never has it been more appealing to escape to somewhere that feels at once familiar and remote. The legendary Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, truly one of the world’s great hotels, is fully functional and has lost none of its glamour, luxury or appeal at a time where travel can feel unnerving. A two-night stay is enough to feel completely relaxed and rejuvenated and forget about the current state of the world. (A two-year stay would be preferable.)
Rates at Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel start €358 (approx £323) per night for two persons sharing a Superior Pinewood Room (incl. taxes, excl. breakfast) | Cabanas at the Hotel begin from 270€ (approx £243) for a half day or 300€ (approx £270) for a full day | fourseasons.com/capferrat