Le Provencal, the hotel where F Scott Fitzgerald found inspiration for Tender is the Night, and where Charlie Chaplin began a love affair, is to be rescued from its current state of disrepair and transformed into a selection of super luxurious properties.
The hotel which enjoyed its heyday in the 1930s and 1940s has sat as a blot on the landscape between the Riviera resort of Juan-les-Pins and the Cap d’Antibes for the past 30 years. While property in the area has appreciated in multiples of millions, Le Provencal has been the home for over 50 squatters and thousands of pigeons.
It was finally bought by the developer, Cyril Dennis, two years ago who plans to strip the interior and rebuild from the ground up to create some of the finest properties in the Cote d’Azur. ‘It’s a bit of a glib word, “prime”, but this really is it,’ says Mr Dennis, standing on the top floor of the building, looking out across the bay towards Cannes, and, on a good day, Corsica. ‘These are views to live for, not die for. And, because of planning restrictions now in place, this doesn’t exist anywhere else on the Riviera.’
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Le Provencal stands handily on the border between Juan-les-Pins and Cap d’Antibes. The former is a rather brash resort which, in bad light, can resemble something akin to Mallorca’s Magalluf. The latter, however, is so in demand, that a property was recently exchanged privately between two Russians for €200m.
Buyers of the apartments in Le Provencal, which range from €2m to €40m, will have access to more than just a few square metres of house and a beach view. ‘It’s much more of a lifestyle,’ says Mr Dennis who has bought the lease to some of the beach below the building on a 14 year lease. This will house a beach club and sushi restaurant, meanwhile a boutique hotel will operate from a neighbouring building, which is where the concierge and spa will be based.
Mr Dennis has also bought a chalet in Corchevel for the exclusive use of the owners. Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but below market value is assured. A 12-hole golf course is a ten minute drive and the tennis club is down the road. And if that wasn’t enough to keep everyone busy, there will also be a yacht and helicopter on hand should a trip to Club 55 in St Tropez or a bit of gambling in Monte Carlo be on the cards.
The apartments themselves are strong on design: Poggenpohl kitchens, taps that colour the water red and blue according to the temperature and intelligent pads which mean you can read emails in the shower.
Apartments with one to five bedrooms in Le Provencal are available through Savills. Tel: 020 7016 3740; www.provencal-residence.com