Hotel Of The Week: Château Eza

You'll feel on top of the world at Château Eza on the French Riviera. The views are stunning
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The Independent Online

Guests at the Château Eza need a head for heights - the views from this small hotel in the tiny medieval hilltop hamlet of Eze are vertigo-inducing. Standing on the terrace of the rambling 400-year-old château, the Côte d'Azur shimmers below. Really more of a grand residence, the Château Eza forms part of the walls of the village, which teeters on the cliff-edge.

On arrival at the village entrance you are greeted by the hotel's "reception", a hut accommodating the receptionist, a desk - and a stabled donkey. The donkey is just for decoration; guests are required to walk the remaining 400 metres up the steep streets to the hotel proper.

By late morning the hordes descend for the obligatory photo-ops among its higgledy-piggledy streets. But by evening, the day-trippers have gone and you have the village to yourself.

The location

High above the sea, Eze is just off the highest of the three corniches of the French Riviera - the Moyenne Corniche - 18km west of Nice.

The comfort factor

Each of the its 10 rooms is decorated differently. The hotel received a makeover in 2003 and is a tasteful mélange of old and new. Our room wouldn't have looked out of place on the pages of a French interiors magazine - terracotta tiles, exposed bricks, a few well-chosen antiques and linen-upholstered chairs. All have cable TV, CD, DVDs and a safe. It was just a shame the water was lukewarm.

The bathroom

The white-tiled bathroom had a separate bath and shower, and there were abundant Zen Zone toiletries with a fig aroma.

The food and drink

With the Michelin-starred Château de la Chevre d'Or nearby, the Château Eza's restaurant has some stiff, if expensive, competition. Unfortunately, we didn't get an opportunity to sample the contemporary French cuisine, because the restaurant was full both nights. Our first breakfast bordered on the shambolic as the staff were more interested in serving a large group than us. There is a bar, but you really just want to be sipping your aperitif on one of the two terraces.

The people

A few weekending couples from the UK and some well-heeled Americans.

The area

The attraction is the village. Follow in the footsteps of Friedrich Nietzsche, a frequent visitor to Eze in the 1880s, down to Eze-Bord-sur-Mer. Further afield St Paul de Vence, Villefranche, Cap d'Antibes and Cannes are all a drive away.

The access

The hotel and village are a challenge for the disabled. Children and pets welcome.

The damage

Doubles from €150 (£107) per night room-only.

The address

Château Eza, rue de la Pise, Eze Village, France (00 33 4 93 41 12 24; /chateau).