What we love
If you're looking for a salubrious and intimate bolt hole on the French Riviera, Cap Estel comes highly recommended. The grounds are tranquil, the service is perfectly personal, and the views out to sea are wonderfully calming.
Setting the scene
Cap Estel is an exclusive gated mansion that skims the sea along the corniche between Monaco and Nice. The hotel is made up of the original mansion, built in 1899 (Le Cap), an Italian style pavilion on the hillside named 'La Corniche', and two buildings right by the sea,'Le Mer' and 'Le Parc'. The hotel style is subtle, chic and private - you'd barely even notice the sign from the main road, and once you're in, you can while away the hours or days with very little disruption.
The historic mansion, Le Cap, provides accommodation in deluxe double rooms as well as suites with one, two, three or four bedrooms - all of which have a supremely luxurious feel, with stylish designer furniture and alluring terraces with sea views. Le Mer offers three light and airy suites built into the eastern wall of the peninsula, overlooking the beach; La Corniche has peaceful suites opening onto the hillside and gardens, which also benefit from panoramic views of the sea; and Le Parc has two impressive suites that appear to hang suspended over the sea, with views out to rocks popular with divers.
It's gourmet all the way at Cap Estel, with the team at Le Table de Patrick Raingeard producing high quality seasonal dishes for both lunch and dinner. The cuisine on offer is classic and simple but inventive, using fresh local produce alongside herbs and spices from around the world.
Nice and Monaco are both around 10km away, meaning easy access to fantastic restaurants, shopping and nightlife; and there are numerous historic towns, castles and pretty coastal villages to explore. Having said all that, Cap Estel offers a lovely retreat, and you could easily spend a week or two just relaxing. In warmer weather, the saltwater infinity pool overlooking the sea is divine; and if it's too cool just head inside to the spa, which has an indoor pool, hammam and sauna. Take our word for it - the spa treatments are heavenly! Estel's seafront gardens are very romantic - as is the secluded little beach - and a private cinema and pool table provide more options.
There are no designated children's facilities, but Cap Estel has spacious suites (with extra beds free for under 12s) and offers a children's menu and a babysitting service. It's a good option for families seeking peace and quiet for quality time together.
Cap Estel is accessed via a tree-lined avenue 35 minutes' outside Nice. Alternatively you could arrive in Monaco and take a helicopter from there.
Prices on request