|Grand Hotel Du Cap-Ferrat on the Côte d’Azur now flies the Four Seasons flag.|
From the northern coast of Normandy to the French Riviera, France is abuzz with glamorous new hotel openings. An added enticement in 2015 is the attractive currency exchange rate, which means fashion-minded travelers are scooping up luxury bargains on jaunts to the Hexagon.
The talk of the Côte d’Azur is the arrival of Four Seasons on the peninsula of Cap-Ferrat, home to some of the world’s most exclusive real estate. Since the departure of the luxury hotel brand from the Provence region (Four Seasons ended its management contract with the Terre Blanche resort in 2012), there’s been much speculation about its next move. Would Four Seasons take the helm of another French hotel to complement the magnificent George V in Paris? Now fans of Four Seasons can find their slice of Riviera heaven at the Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, just a few miles east of Nice.
The Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat was part of the elite eight that were originally awarded the “palace hotel” distinction by Atout France in 2011. It’s a storied hotel, straight out of the Belle Époque. This is where Charlie Chaplin’s kids learned to swim and legendary instructor Pierre Gruneberg is still teaching the progeny of today’s A-list celebrities. Floating above the sparkling Mediterranean, the Olympic-size pool is an attraction in its own right, and day access is available to non-hotel residents. To get to the Club Dauphin, guests are whisked downhill by an air-conditioned funicular. (Talk about making an entrance.)
|Cures Marines is putting the Normandy seaside resort town of Trouville back on the map.|
Other knockout facilities here include the Michelin-starred restaurant Le Cap and the gorgeous spa styled by uber-designer Pierre-Yves Rochon. (The white spiral ramp at the entrance takes its inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim in New York.) In brief, Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat is the ultimate hedonist’s playground for international jetsetters.
As of May 8, the Four Seasons flag has been flying in this corner of the French Riviera under the leadership of General Manager François Regis Simon. Four Seasons has promised to enhance the operations of a luxury hotel that’s already known and trusted around the world. Expect stellar, personalized service and attention to detail. For VIP clients, advisors can reach out to Jean-Pierre Soutric ([email protected]; 011-334-9376-5050), director of marketing.
On the opposite shores of France, another legendary destination has been given a new lease of life on the Normandy coast. Accor Hotels has revived Trouville’s landmark casino as the Cures Marines. For 17 years, the building stood vacant on the beachfront until an ambitious, $45 million project brought it back from the brink. At the same time, the project has jumpstarted the local tourism economy.
Trouville and Deauville are twin seaside resort towns facing each other across the Touques River. Even though Trouville was the place to be in the 19th century, attracting all the Parisian beau monde, it was soon eclipsed by glamorous Deauville. This new hotel promises to put Trouville back on the map. For one thing, Jean-Philippe Nuel, arguably the top hotel designer in France today, decorated the interiors. After the InterContinental Marseille and the Molitor in Paris, Nuel turned his attention to the historic grandeur of the Cures Marines. First built in 1903, this classified monument also housed the bains de mer, or sea baths, one of the earliest thalassotherapy spas. Today the baths have been restored as part of a destination spa that sprawls over two floors and boasts 33 treatment rooms. Inside, the swimming pools are designed with stripes to evoke the classic 1920s beach huts. The signature treatment is an anti-aging program called the Elixir de Jouvence that combines personalized thalasso treatments, a detox program and a high-tech Filorga Skin Perfusion.
Nuel pays homage to Trouville’s history with quotations on the walls from famous authors, such as Flaubert and Marguerite Duras, who used to frequent France’s oldest seaside resort. This rich past is also showcased in recovered frescos and other historic details. The 103 guest rooms (including seven suites) are done up in shades of white and gray with blue accents to evoke the sea. Rooms come with Nespresso machines and Gemology bath products. The crème de la crème is the Reine des Plages (Queen of Beaches) suite, a duplex with sweeping sea views from an enormous bay window.
|The Terrace on the Place de la Comédie at Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa is a dining option in the summer.|
Another place to ogle Normandy’s prettiest beach is the restaurant, where large windows frame the views. Outside, a magnificent terrace — made of hardwood and landscaped with potted plants — overlooks the sea. Good news for food-minded travelers: the hotel’s gastronomic restaurant is run by Chef David Drans, who worked with Alain Ducasse for five years and aims to showcase local Normandy producers.
|YNDO Hotel, set in a 19th-century Bordelais mansion, sports a contemporary style with designer décor and objets d’art.|
Accor Hotels announced the April 2015 opening as “its most beautiful debut of 2015.” Hotels that are part of the MGallery collection are defined by unique, distinctive personalities, and the Cures Marines certainly fits the bill. For VIP bookings, reach out to Marc Scognamiglio ([email protected]; 011-336-1872-5075), director of sales.
|Grand Hotel DE Bordeaux & Spa’s decadent décor is by designer Jacques Garcia.|
Southwest in Aquitaine, there’s big buzz out of Bordeaux. The wine capital — awarded “Best European Destination 2015” by the European Best Destinations group — has a wealth of exciting new hotels and restaurants. Chief amongst these is La Grande Maison, the gastronomic hideaway from wine magnate Bernard Magrez. Here, sumptuous Napoleon III-style accommodations are paired with unforgettable cuisine by Chef Joël Robuchon. (Stay tuned for all the insider details in a future issue of Luxury Travel Advisor.) Robuchon isn’t the only food star to arrive on the Bordeaux scene. Gordon Ramsay has just taken the reins at Le Pressoir d’Argent, the gastronomic restaurant at the Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa. Commanding a prime position on the Place de la Comédie across from the world-famous opera house, the five-star hotel boasts a NUXE spa, decadent décor by designer Jacques Garcia, and a rooftop terrace overlooking the historic city center. This will be Ramsay’s second restaurant in France after Gordon Ramsay at the Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace in Versailles, which holds two Michelin stars.
Also new on the scene: YNDO Hotel arrived in fall 2014 as an intimate five-star refuge in a Bordelais mansion dating from the 19th century. Owner Agnès Guiot du Doignon’s passion for design is evident in the 12 guest rooms, individually decorated in a contemporary style with designer décor and objets d’art that she’s found on her global travels. Luxury travel advisors can reach out to the owner ([email protected]; 011-335-5623-8888) for VIP bookings.
Mark your calendars: The UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Bordeaux is gearing up for the opening of the Cité des civilisations du vin, a high-tech museum and exhibition center that will immerse visitors in the world of wine. Conceived by the agency XTU with a striking architectural design, this major attraction will debut in summer 2016.
Colombe McCarthy, director of the European division at Destinations & Adventures International in Beverly Hills, recently checked out the new additions to La Coquillade, a five-star Relais & Châteaux hotel located in the foothills of the Luberon in Provence. “The expansion was still under construction when I visited — it’s supposed to be completed by the end of May — but from what I saw, it will be a really good fit for clientele looking for Four Seasons-style service standards that had been lacking in this part of Provence. Though it doesn’t have as much of the local charm as the older part of the hotel, this new addition is luxury that’s immediately recognizable. The spa will be beautiful, measuring 1,500 square meters [16,145 square feet], and the new suites overlook the vineyards — very peaceful.”