by John O'Ceallaigh and Luxury Travel Editor, The Telegraph, March 16, 2018
A modern five-storey, five-bedroom villa set on one of the most picturesque and conveniently located stretches of the Cote d’Azur, Villa Med lays on the periphery of Nice and Monaco, yet off the tourist circuit. Vast, multifaceted and finished throughout in pristine whites, it offers spectacular ocean views, a sun-soaked rooftop pool and recreational areas throughout.
Clean-living types might choose it for the gym, sauna, steam room and surrounding tangle of hikes and coastal walks, but with a powerful integrated Sonos sound system and such reliable good weather - the area receives 300 days of sunshine a year - the property also makes a wonderful setting for a special anniversary, family get-together or party.
Embedded in the foothills that fringe the French Riviera, the property is a steep, strenuous 10-minute walk from Eze sur Mer station. From there, it’s about 15 minutes by train to Nice and 10 to Monaco, but frequent visitors to the fabled stretch of coastline will find the property also provides easy access to less obvious attractions.
In addition to visiting the major cities, a week-long stay would provide ample time to explore the palatial Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild at Cap Ferrat, a belle epoque marvel abundant with tapestries and antique furniture, as well as the quaint mountaintop, medieval village of Eze, accessed either by hiking the Nietzsche Path or driving a tight, dizzying roadway that clings precipitously to cliff edges.
We also found time to venture across the border by train to the Italian city of Ventimiglia and frequently considered venturing down to the pebble beach at Eze Sur Mer on the many sunny days of our visit - but the allure of our own private pool proved more attractive.
What to expect
Laden with luggage and groceries after disembarking at Eze sur Mer station, our ascent to the elevated property by foot proved an ungainly, sweaty start to our stay - infirm guests would do well to hire a car for the duration of their visit or to arrange taxis for trips from the train station.
Once in situ, however, that incline is indisputably worth it. With every bedroom and every level of the property providing a view of the ocean, Villa M’s remarkable panorama is rarely out of sight.
Their floor-to-ceiling windows opening on to an expansive terrace, the combined top-floor living room, dining room and kitchen serve as a natural hub for sundowners and long, lazy dinners fuelled by local rosés and flushed pink and peach by blazing Mediterranean sunsets.
It’s easy, too, to while away time sunbathing on the roof terrace, reading by the rooftop pool and simply gazing at the superyachts and Monaco-bound helicopters that regularly traverse this stretch of sea.
With the pool and loungers such prominent components of the offering, the property lends itself to informality and dining tends to be casual.
We declined the catering service - breakfast can be arranged, and a chef allocated to the villa for 12 hours each day - and instead prepared casual meals in the well-equipped kitchen or enjoyed drinks and snacks in the rooftop pool house, with its own kitchenette, while keeping an eye on the kids as they played in the water. That easy, relaxed rhythm was repeated day after day; we felt fully at home and comfortable.
The setting. The views are exceptional and provide a spectacular backdrop for any special-occasion gathering.
Not so keen
Gleaming white throughout and largely devoid of decorative details, the villa’s aesthetic can feel sterile and clinical. Those white interiors also rapidly become sullied, and parties with young children, in particular, will notice finger marks, footprints and spillage stains accumulating everywhere.
As part of the villa’s offering, an unobtrusive cleaner spends five hours a day ensuring the home remains immaculate - we initially thought that duration excessive, but with a full, multi-generational house in residence we soon realised it was necessary.
On the fourth floor and enjoying some of the best views in the house, the master bedroom measures over 60sq m and features an expansive walk-in wardrobe, generous terrace with loungers and spacious bathroom with standalone tub set beside an immense mosaic of lilies in full bloom.
It is far and away the best room in the house, although a so-called VIP bedroom on the same floor also features its own walk-in wardrobe and is similarly generous in proportions.
On the third floor, three extra bedrooms feature queen-sized beds and adequate storage space but feel significantly more plain. All rooms feature televisions.
Although the house is configured to comfortably house a maximum of 10 adults, two additional children can be accommodated in a living area on the third floor. If required, a simple maid’s room is also available for a staff member.
Who it’s good for
Extremely deep, the 12-metre pool may be a concern to parents of young children, as are the potentially slippy and vertigo-inducing glass staircases and lift connecting the building’s lower levels. If those issues don’t concern you, the house is otherwise an attractive base for family getaways; always closely attended, the kids in our group spent hours in the pool each day, and were distracted by films on the family room’s 60-inch TV come evening.
Groups of friends should have an equally enjoyable time, while the villa would make an attractive alternative to those otherwise considering splurging on an expensive hotel suite during events such as the Monaco Yacht Show and Cannes Film Festival .
There are no special provisions for weddings, but small groups of up to 20 people could potentially gather on the rooftop for a celebration.
The property is about 40 minutes from Nice Airport by train or by car; BA and Easyjet offer frequent services from the UK.
Price and how to book: Villa Med is available to book through The Villa Collective (+44 20 3950 1588). Weekly rental costs €11,000 (£9,800) per week from October to April; €20,000 per week in May, June and September (excluding during the Monaco Grand Prix, when special rates apply); and €27,000 per week in July and August.
This article was written by John O'Ceallaigh and Luxury Travel Editor from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].