Rosie Paterson travelled to one of the Mediterranean's most famous hotels: the beautiful Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat.
The crown jewel of the French Riviera’s famed peninsula, the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat continues to dazzle decades after its 1950s heyday.
Previous guests – among them Elizabeth Taylor, Sir Winston Churchill and Aristotle Onassis, whose portraits line the walls – would undoubtedly still recognise the grand façade, framed by heavenly perfumed gardens and pine trees, the once Olympic-sized seawater swimming pool and dramatic, rocky coastline beyond.
There has been more change inside. Communal areas are a masterclass in modern Art Deco – think swathes of gleaming white marble and bespoke crystal chandeliers – and the guestrooms boast oversized bathtubs looking out over the Côte d’Azur as well as ludicrously comfortable beds.
Our favourite rooms were the 1950s-style Residence pool suites, each opening out onto a pool area. They’re housed in a separate building that was built in 2009, a terracotta-coloured, gently curved building that has a concealed tunnel to the hotel spa.
That hidden tunnel isn’t quite the most exotic means of conveyance at the hotel, however: that accolade belongs to the glass funicular which accesses the famous Club Dauphin. Built in 1939, this much-photographed infinity pool perched above the rocky coastline is a Riviera icon, and has private cabanas if you wish to make a day of it.
Food and drink
Michelin-starred chef Yoric Tièche has recently unveiled a new menu at the hotel restaurant Le Cap, inspired by the herbs and fruits growing in the gardens and the 1897 cookbook La Cuisinière Provençale.
If you’re down at Club Dauphin, club director Johann Burgos is always on hand to recommend a cooling cocktail or two. For lunch, we couldn’t get enough of the carnaroli risotto with greens, mint and lemon.
What to do
Make the most of the Grand-Hôtel’s private access to the smooth coastline path. Head down to the port of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and spend an afternoon at Paloma, a private beach and restaurant, or head to the bijou Bar-Restaurant du Port for supper.
For the ultimate road-trip experience and a slice of La Dolce Vita, reserve one of the hotel’s original model classic car (the 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider, perhaps?) and set off for one of the Four Seasons’s sister properties in Milan or Florence.
Beforehand, the concierge will prepare a personalised itinerary, highlighting points of interest along the way, and there’s a handy radio connection between you and a discreet assistance vehicle throughout.