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The exterior of Le Petit Nice in Marseille, France
Richard Haughton

Letter From the Editor: November 2017

By Hideaway Report Editor

November 1, 2017

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The word “Riviera” still has the power to summon all the glamour of travel. Which is odd in a way because nearly everyone knows that the Côte d'Azur, from Cannes to Monte Carlo, has been disastrously overbuilt. True, there are enclaves, like Cap Ferrat, that retain much of their 1950s allure, but in general the concrete was poured with much too free a hand.

Fortunately, there is another south of France, one less well known to foreign visitors but intimately familiar to the French themselves. This seductive and surprisingly unspoiled littoral runs from Marseille to Saint-Raphaël, along the coastline of the Var. In this issue, I describe a memorable journey that got off to an auspicious start at Le Petit Nice, a 16-room villa-hotel with a superlative three-star restaurant, set on a rocky outcrop overlooking an expanse of blue topaz Mediterranean, a 10-minute drive from the center of Marseille. My wanderings ended a week later on the beach at the admirable and newly fashionable Hôtel Les Roches Rouges in Saint-Raphaël. Along the way, I enjoyed predictably delicious seafood, as well as fine local wines from Cassis and Bandol.

The word “Riviera” still has the power to summon all the glamour of travel. Which is odd in a way because nearly everyone knows that the Côte d'Azur, from Cannes to Monte Carlo, has been disastrously overbuilt. True, there are enclaves, like Cap Ferrat, that retain much of their 1950s allure, but in general the concrete was poured with much too free a hand.

Fortunately, there is another south of France, one less well known to foreign visitors but intimately familiar to the French themselves. This seductive and surprisingly unspoiled littoral runs from Marseille to Saint-Raphaël, along the coastline of the Var. In this issue, I describe a memorable journey that got off to an auspicious start at Le Petit Nice, a 16-room villa-hotel with a superlative three-star restaurant, set on a rocky outcrop overlooking an expanse of blue topaz Mediterranean, a 10-minute drive from the center of Marseille. My wanderings ended a week later on the beach at the admirable and newly fashionable Hôtel Les Roches Rouges in Saint-Raphaël. Along the way, I enjoyed predictably delicious seafood, as well as fine local wines from Cassis and Bandol.

La Terrasse, a restaurant at Hôtel Les Roches Rouges in Saint-Raphaël, France hotellesrochesrouges.com

On this trip to France, I also headed inland to visit three new properties in Provence, all set on secluded estates in the sunbaked hilly landscapes of Les Alpilles and the Luberon. My stays were all enjoyable, but Villa La Coste in Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade proved truly spectacular.

The November issue contains a second story about a road trip, one through the glorious Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Although my hotel experiences were not uniformly pleasurable, I reacquainted myself with The Swag, a wonderful retreat set on 250 secluded acres, and was pleased to discover Old Edwards Inn and Spa, an elegant full-service property in the sleepy hamlet of Highlands, about 60 miles to the south. In addition to reveling in the scenery, I visited a number of superb artisanal producers and sampled fine cheeses, honeys, maple syrups, beers and wines.

The view from The Swag in Waynesville, North Carolina Jumping Rocks Photography
By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who they are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
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