Every month, the PLUME VOYAGE Travel News team keeps you up to date with all the luxury resorts, charming hotels and the world of modern travel. After a series of trips to London, Dubai, Germany, Cap Ferret and Saint-Tropez… Let’s start the summer at the Folie Douce in Cannes, Buddha-Bar Beach in Greece and roam around Provence with a new pocket guide. Does that give you travel inspiration ?
Already a hot spot on the Cannes scene, the Majestic Barrière beach is the perfect place for the Folie Douce! This famous concept, which already graces the slopes of Val d’Isère, Méribel, Val Thorens, Alpe D’Huez and Mégève now establishes itself on the water’s edge for the first time from 3rd July to 31st August– we should have thought of that first! DJs, dancers and musicians animate the beach from 5pm-1am. From 5pm until 8:30pm, drink in lounge atmosphere on the pontoon with a cocktail or champagne; from 9pm until 11pm enjoy dinner while watching show: finally, it’s party time from 11 o’clock: dance until 1 in the morning…the perfect pick-me-up at a Côte d’Azur resort! A.F.-M.
In the South-West of the Peloponnese, this resort surrounds its low buildings with tree-lined roofs, its villa and its golf course, the Dunes Course, along a 1km beach. Responding to the demands of its founder, “ecologically correct” Captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos – well ahead of his time – Costa Navarino conserves its natural and cultural environment. Only 10% of the land is built on, while the water needed for the golf course originates from artificial pools that catch rainwater. The crown jewel of the resort is the 5-star Romanos Hotel, whose buildings are scattered amongst bay trees, olive groves and lavender…boasting 321 bedrooms and suites from 43m2 to 192m2. The majority of ground floor bedrooms benefit from a terrace extended by an infinity pool – total luxury! In the evening, we love to have a cocktail at Agora – a genuine reconstruction of a Greek village, with taverns, restaurants and boutiques. The choice of where to eat is vast: from the Italian Da Luigi to Greek cuisine, even fish restaurants, plus the golf beach restaurants. This summer welcomes in the arrival of chef Yiorgos Papaioannou who cooks fish and seafood mixed with regional herbs. A.F.-M.
As part of the “Bonjour City Maps Guide” collection, after Bonjour Paris, Bonjour New-York and Bonjour London, here is one for Provence. We lose these new rave guides by Marin Montagut. Passionate about art, encounters, second-hand gems and antiques, this insatiable globetrotter and former pupil at Saint Martins takes you on a journey around the world with his watercolour booklet, roaming through quirky, off-the-beaten-path places that he loves to unveil. This guide tells the meeting of an enamoured travel aesthete: Marin, a beautiful home attached to its origins: Occitane and Provence. Essentially, Occitane entrusted him with the job of reviving the beatiful charm of Provence through the telling of over 90 places. Bonjour Provence is a beautifully illustrated waterproof and sturdy map, scarcely larger than a passport, so it is almost handsfree. With this clever guide in your pocket, you can explore the region from Marseille to Aix-en-Provence via Arles, discovering both sophisticated and quirky spots, top-secret addresses and the local savoir-faire. A.F.-M.
The legendary Buddha-Bar imposes itself on the sublime private white-sand beach of the Santa Marina Hotel in Mykonos. Stay here to make the most of a fabulous view over the bay and enjoy cuisine by chef Eric Rousselières, who invents a fresh seafood based menu mixing tradition and modernity, which always bears the spirit of emblematic chef and founder of Buddha-Bar Raymond Visan. Having sipped the creations of head mixologist, Matthias Giroud – who concocts a host of signature and traditional cocktails -, embark upon one of the many sea adventures put on by the hotel. A.F.-M.
Magnificently situated at the entrance to the Port, Hôtel de Toiras is a truly historic building dating back to the 17th century, having belonged to the Gabaret family, merchants and sailors of the island. With contemporary furniture, old walls, wood and precious materials, nothing has been left to chance in giving the impression of a journey through past centuries. A member of the Relais & Châteaux brand since 2010, this five-star hotel offers twenty suites and bedrooms, decked out in shimmering materials by Pierre Frey, Canovas, Brunschwig and Ralph Lauren. Honour is due firstly to the 55m2 Marshal Toiras Suite, with its living room furnished with a Louis XIV cabinet and bathroom, exalted by its lion-footed bathtub. As for the Duke of Buckingham, a suite of the same size, this favours colours, exotic wood and marble in the bathroom. In the Madame de Sévigné suite (60m2) blue reigns supreme and the desk encourages, as it should, its guest to write letters! Top spot at the hotel de Toiras: the aromatic garden inspired by Moroccan patios, where one can daydream in the shade of palm trees. And, the Table d’Olivia welcomes guests 5 nights a week. An alternative: for a lighter supper, take a seat in the lounge, which serves dishes according to the different seasons.
Without a doubt, Saint-Tropez never ceases to reinvent itself! This season its Opéra, which opened last year, is now at its best! This vast building imposes itself on the quay, benefiting from the coming and going yachts, decked out in dazzling white: furniture adapts to the walls and large mirrors are dotted around the bar and certain walls. The décor dreamed up by Philippe Shangti, a photographic artist, favours work by this artist, under the theme of the seven deadly sins. This enormous and explosive shots bring a dark twist to the place. The best bit about Opéra? It would have to be both the high-powered restaurant and the artistic setting: singers, musicians…who perform non-stop. A special mention goes to the pretty singer who interprets a variety of classics everyday. And night animals get themselves back here for midnight, to get the party started with dancers who perform on 3 podium tables. And you absolutely must taste the sophisticated cuisine: salon, King Crab and caviar, which comes from chez Petrossian! There are also plenty of Thai dishes on the menu: grilled Thai herb chicken, “beef salad with herbs and seafood: thick sea bass fillets, crusty gambas, Loup Sauvage…a little corner offers the chance to buy one of these branded products: phone cases, plates…
Located in Taghazout, a short drive from Agadir, the Hyatt Place is the latest jewel in the eponymous group’s crown and the first on African soil. Situated in the Atlas foothills, dominating the Atlantic coast, the hotel offers an array of activities from surfing to tennis and even hang-gliding, hiking, mountain biking and, above all, golf: a superb 18-hole course designed by architect Kyle Philips next to the hotel. 152 vast, contemporary and chic bedrooms and suites each boast their own balcony with a delightful view over the Atlantic coastline. We love the immense swimming pool in the gardens, the fitness centre and lastly the spa. It is decked out in the colours of labels Nectarome and Cinq Mondes. Two restaurants, including our favourite the Gallery Café, completes what this place has to offer, a haven for sport fanatics.
Perfectly situated 15km from Nice airport, at the heart of 14 hectares, where 300 olive groves reign supreme, the Château Saint-Martin & Spa – a member of the Oetker collection – offers an exceptional glimpse over Vence town and the Mediterranean in the distance. This five-star hotel comprises of 39 Junior Suites and 6 private villas, its elegant décor punctuated with traditional furniture and rose marble bathrooms. And there are lots of new additions to welcome in the summer: chef Jean-Luc Lefrançois joins the Château Saint-Martin, directing the kitchens of both restaurants, his menu favouring seasonal and regional products. The gastro-restaurant, “Le Saint-Martin”, offers a spectacular view from its superb terrace. At the Oliveraie, eat lunch on the grass and enjoy golden oven-cooked pizzas or herb grilled meat and fish. Another new addition: the spa, which opened in April, which brandishes the colours of prestigious French house “Sisley”. It boasts five treatments rooms including a double, and a Gloriette where you can have a massage out in the open. Finally, a special note must go to the superb swimming pool, which is hidden amongst perfectly arranged wild flowers.
At the beginnings of this hotel, the first on the island, there was one man: Remy de Haenen. Pilot and adventurer, he decided during the 1950s to build a house on the rocky headland of the Bay of St Jean. A real character, Remy was the first mayor of the island. Enticing all his Hollywood friends, the island quickly became the place to be. Here, one would bump into Greta Garbo or Howard Hughes. Taken over by the Matthews family who built a bar and a restaurant…the Eden Rock began to take on its current look. Today, while the Matthews still own the place, Oetker Collection – the extremely prestigious selection of hotels – is in charge of management. The hotel offers 34 bedrooms, suites and villas, each with their own style, located on the rocks, along the beach or nestled in the luscious gardens…and the best bit? In the Legacy Suite series, we loved the Howard Hughes loft, which benefits from a 360 degree view over the Bay of St Jean, and the Garbo suite, which transports guests back to 50s Hollywood glamour. As for the 1500m2 Villa Rockstar, which takes its name from its underground recording studio, this is the ultimate luxury. And at the two restaurants: the Sand bar and One the Rocks, we find Eric Desbordes, ex chef of 114 Faubourg under the direction of Eric Fréchon. An extensive menu by Jean-Georges Vongerichten appeals to the expectations of the most demanding resorts! A.F.-M.
Having opened on 15th June, the Domaine du Ferret, a truly unique resort on the Peninsula designed by Serge Blanco combines a four-star hotel-residency, a marine therapy space and a Cinq Mondes spa. Situated in Claoey in the midst of 9 hectares, this is one of the places to check out this summer! Decked out in pine, the bedrooms are decorated in the refined ferret capien style. Our advice: opt for a Privilege suite with a private terrace. The top spot? The ‘Cabanon du Pinasse’ Brasserie, headed up by Pascal Nibaudeau, former starred chef of the Pressoir d’Argent at the Grand Hôtel in Bordeaux. His signature? ‘A blend of land and sea’. The menu is more or less than same as the Pinasse Café, which he has managed for the past year. Here, you can taste his speciality dishes: blue lobster, sweetbread and béarnaise with pressed sap, milk-soaked haddock with foie gras and truffle, goat’s cheese with cucumber coulis, dill and smoked eel… the daily set menu (two starters, two mains and two desserts) changes each day in order to satisfy guests’ curiosity. A.F.-M.
A member of the elegant Sibuet hotel collection, this 5-star establishment is the antithesis of the usual Tropezien bling! Suffice to say that we particularly relish the chance to make the most of a calm haven of this 3-hectare pine forest planted with lavender, rosemary and bay trees…the different 45 bedrooms and suites are housed in the principle Italian-style building, offering a superb view of the Pampelonne beach. The Jocelyne Sibuet décor compliments the pretty provincial furnishings, sourced from the area and terracotta. In the series of little salons on the ground floor, we love the sophisticated colours that adorn the walls: coral, taupe and lime green…and the shells framing doors and mirrors, which remind us of the nearby seaside! Our favourite bedrooms: the Cap Camarat, a superb suite from which, even in the shower, guests can drink in a view of the Mediterranean! And Number 14, whose terrace opens up directly over the forest. Time at Villa Marie is split between lounging by the poolside, whose natural rocks give it the look of a natural pool, several meals at the Dolce Vita restaurant, which can be enjoyed either in the conservatory or on the magnificent terrace. The menu comprises of fresh products honouring local cuisine: steak tartare with Menton lemon, provincial Saint Pierre “tian” vegetables cooked in their skin…and at lunchtime, nothing beats a pan bagnat à la Villa Marie – a triumph! A lovely Pure Altitude spa completes what this extraordinary place has to offer. But there is nothing stopping you from partying on one of the beaches way below or from slipping off to do some shopping in Saint Tropez! A.F.-M.
Head 100km south of Munich to Balvière. It is there, in one of the most beautiful Alpine valleys at 1000m high that Schloss Elmau, a 5-star hotel and member of Leading Hotels of the World, has established its two resorts in the same area. The first, the “Château” has often been counted amongst the best hotels on the planet, while the Schloss Elmau Tetreat Luxury is brand-new. With 123 bedrooms and suites in total and 9 restaurants including Michelin-starred Luce d’Oro, an Italian and Thai…and 5 spas. A special note goes to the Badehaus Spa, stretching 3000m over four floors. This comprises of two heated indoor pools, a 15 degree cold bath, saunas and hammams, 15 treatment rooms and three relaxation rooms, whose bay windows – which can be fully opened – overlook the mountains. Schloss Elmau offers various distractions, while its strong point remains the some 200 concerts, lectures and film screenings given every year in a room with the most magnificent acoustics. Take note: for 93€/day and per person, gain access to the various restaurants and activities: breakfast, supper in one of the numerous restaurants, concert halls, entrance to the different spas, particpate in classes and try Pilates, tai Chi chuan and yoga, partake in mountain hikes with a guide, winter transfers to the ski pistes…finally, don’t forget it was here that the latest G7 summit was held at the start of June…
Perfectly located between Sloane Square and Knightsbridge, Belgraves embodies the quintessence of British chic blended with an American coolness. 85 bedrooms and suites make this boutique hotel a faultless design. The décor is absolutely immaculate: enormous mirrors open up the entrance to certain suites with glass consoles and large oak wooden slats…In the bathrooms, a special mention goes to the enormous bay windows (on the upper floors without vis-à-vis), which illuminates the bathtub. We especially like the bedrooms and suites that boast bow windows all in a 21st century style equipped with a sofa and desk. But at Belgraves, even the simplest rooms are equally splendid, brimming with decorative treasures such as the fine chain that separates the bathroom and lets in natural light. We also love the mezzanine library bar above the lobby with its purple velvet sofas, its herringbone floor and shelves bursting with books and knick knacks…the best bit? The terrace, paved with stones, hidden away from the bar on the glass roof and its retractable walls that open completely…and, the restaurant overlooking Pont Street is a must, particularly for its American breakfast. A.F.-M.
Hotel openings are multiplying in Dubai! So it should come as no surprise that last December the prestigious Four Seasons brand celebrated the opening of this superb five-star resort with its 288 bedrooms, including 49 suites. Four Seasons plays the tourism card here, as well as the business card. The hotel boasts 2 tennis courts, a running track alongside the beach, two outdoor swimming pools rub shoulders with the (private) beach, one of which is reserved solely for children, which offers tranquillity just the other side! But this doesn’t mean that children are not welcome! They can enjoy activities organised just for them. Located in Jumeirah, the hotel is just ten minutes from the Burj Khalifa tower. Here you can drink in the spectacular skyline, dominated by the tower, from the Mercury bar on the sixth floor: the perfect spot for a nightcap. In the bedrooms, guests can relish the generous volume and enormous bathrooms, which have a TV integrated into the mirror! Marble is present throughout, particularly in the lobby, but the result is the opposite of garish: the light-wood that matches this marble brings a very elegant style to the ensemble! A superb spa boasts a beautiful indoor swimming pool and an immaculate and varied catering service makes this spot a place where you can feel good!
Opened in 1946 in Baux de Provence by a young assistant to the Commission of Tourism, who was none other than Georges Pompidou, this prestigious house celebrates its 70th spring. In no time, the hotel – installed in a former 16th century farmhouse, has become a must-visit, having picked up its first star in 1948, its second in 1951 and a third in 1954! Here, you might have bumped into Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Sacha Guitry, Gérard Philipe, Christian Dior, Winston Churchill, General de Gaulle, the Queen Mother in 1956… Isabelle Adjani, Daniel Day Lewis, Brad Pitt, Vanessa Paradis, Johnny Depp…such a treat! Today, this five-star hotel and member of the Relais&Châteaux boasts bedrooms that look nothing alike. Some have been renovated in a contemporary style with mosaics and wax finishes…others have maintained their former rustic authenticity with enormous wooden furnishings and typically provincial bathrooms. And, for a beautiful finish, a 500m2 spa has been added with 6 treatment rooms bathed in natural light, overlooking a patio, all branded by Valmont and Une Olive en Provence.
Magnificently located in the heart of the Catalonian metropolis, close to the Plaça Catalunya, the Passeig de Gràcia and just a stone’s throw from the Pedrera, the Gallery Hotel – which opened in 1991 – has practically completed its total transformation: the final two floors will be finished by February 2016. But, make no mistake that there will be no renovations during the summer months! This four-star hotel has also been bestowed distinction as a superior four-star establishment. It comprises of 110 bedrooms ranging from 16m2 to 5 suites at 45m2. Our favourites are the deluxe rooms, which are divided into two separate areas: contemporary style bedroom and living room covering 37m2. A sports complex and sauna are also available at the hotel. And what makes this place special? The Top, which opened in July 2013. This rooftop space, with a swimming pool, sunny terrace and second restaurant offers a sublime view over the city. The hotel restaurant “El Café del Gallery” boasts a varied menu and an intimate terrace next to the Jardins del Palau Robert. Take note: The Gallery Space, a café-bar that looks onto the street, has its own menu: breakfast, tapas and an express menu.