24-Hour Room Service: Hotel Cap Estel Côte d'Azur

From an overcrowded and under-powered Fiat Cinquecento that was trying its futile best to race along the Basse Corniche, I glimpsed a perfect Côte d'Azur scene: a Grand Villa, a pied dans l'eau.

That was a decade ago. Ten years on, and after four hours searching the net, I tracked down the palace that had caught my eye - Hotel Cap Estel, with the wonderful address of Eze Bord-de-mer.

This particular address is approached via a vertiginous byway. You enter through fine wrought-iron gates and begin a hairpin bend descent to the grand 19th-century palazzo. It sits perched on a promontory between Nice and Monaco, oozing a sense of luxury that makes your toes curl and your wallet ache, while offering stunning views of the Mediterranean.

The location was first settled by a Russian emigre in the mid-19th century. Today, the comprehensively re-engineered Cap Estel celebrates the 21st-century - with more than a glance over its shoulder. The cool, neutral tones of the walls and soft furnishings are de rigueur among many new Riviera hotels, but the Cap Estel also has its feet in the past, as well as the Med; the contemporary sits perfectly beside bespoke reproduction antique furniture and grand Venetian mirrors.

The hotel also boasts a private cinema, billiard room and library housing The Complete Works of Winston Churchill - so far completely untouched. Service is impeccable and delivered with an air of discretion, presumably an unspoken demand of the A-list residents. The intense sense of privacy can, however, leave you feeling rather alone: to walk the tended gardens without a soul in sight, swim in the sea-water infinity pool in private, and dine, quite literally, à deux, in Loggia - the guest-only restaurant.

LOCATION

Hotel Cap Estel, 1312 Avenue Raymond Poincare, 06360 Eze Bord-de-mer, France (00 33 4 93 76 29 29; www.cap estel.com). In something more powerful than a Fiat 500, Nice is 20 minutes' drive away, Monaco 10 minutes.

Time to international airport: Nice-Côte d'Azur, is 35 minutes' drive away, or a 12-minute helicopter ride.

COMFORTABLE?

White Egyptian-cotton bed linen, the fluffiest of towelling bathrobes - plus slippers - and chic contemporary bathrooms. Record-timing room service delivers your chilled champagne to set the tone for the evening. This can be spent listening to the Mediterranean crashing on the rocks, or watching the lights of cruise ships anchored nearby.

Freebies: a platter of fresh exotic fruit on arrival; those slippers; sweet Molson toiletries; and bedtime chocolates.

Keeping in touch: flat-screen television, DVD player, radio, free internet access and direct-dial telephones.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Well, it's not cheap - but it shouldn't be. High-season rates range from €550 (£393) to €750 (£535), while the most expensive suite costs €12,000 (£8,570). Breakfast is an expansive affair, well worth the €23 (£16) per person.

I'm not paying that: The Hi-Hotel at 3 avenue des Fleurs (00 33 4 97 07 26 26; www.hi-hotel.net) in Nice occupies a 1930s former one-star hotel, now converted into a boutique hotel with pool on the roof. Doubles cost €215 (£153.50), including organic breakfast.

Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss