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.


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.


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.


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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Manchester City's Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
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

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own