Chateau Eza

Eze, Cote d'Azur, France Book from

A former royal retreat with a prime bird's eye position above the French Riviera, between Nice and Monaco
You’d never guess what luxury lies hidden behind the stone walls at the summit of Eze, a tiny pedestrianised village 400m above the Med. We should have suspected, though, when a smiling valet relieved us of our car and bags, and sent us on our way through the winding streets. Stepping through the hotel’s tiny front door, we were ushered onto a private terrace to marvel at the dramatic views of the French Riviera: a jaw-dropping experience. Champagne cocktails materialised and we sat, sipped and stared. The following morning, lounging in our gilded bed, monogrammed fireplace to our right, we stared again, this time at the sun dancing on the waves beyond our window.

Four-hundred-year-old Chateau Eza was once Prince William of Sweden’s private winter residence, but now - luckily for us - it's a fabulous restaurant and retreat, filled with princely extravagances for couples in search of pure indulgence. The old wine cellar became a dining area with panoramic vistas, the library a cosseting guest room, the Prince’s bedroom a sprawling suite. Decadence continues beyond the hotel walls: down on the coast are beaches lined with beautiful people and marinas full of gleaming yachts, while up in the hills are old-world towns, gorgeous gardens and heady lavender fields.

Highs

  • The food - manager Robin insisted we try Eza's tasting menu for the full French-Mediterranean dining experience, and we're so glad we did!
  • The rooms and suites make you feel like royalty: grand mirrors, plum velvet, marble bathrooms, king- or queensize beds and lots of lovely little touches
  • The vistas along the coast are breathtaking, and most rooms have at least partial sea views and balconies
  • Despite sitting in a small pedestrianised village, the hotel has valet parking so it's easy to do day trips to Nice, Monaco, Grasse, and even Cannes or St Tropez
  • Eze is a magical village - explore at night for added romance, and don't miss the pretty Jardin Exotique (book through i-escape for free entry)

Lows

  • This level of luxury doesn’t come cheap, especially on the Côte d'Azur. But you are staying in a genuine palace
  • The village can get crowded with visitors and the walk to the beach below is a steep one, but there's a bus for the ascent back up
  • Standard Rooms lack balconies and sea views, and some of the other rooms' balconies are slightly overlooked
  • There's no pool
  • The restaurant is closed on Monday & Tuesday in winter

Best time to go

Chateau Eza is a good year-round destination, with terraces for lounging on in the summer and huge fireplaces to cosy up by in the winter. The Côte d’Azur is particularly lovely in September, May and June when it's warm and not quite so busy with visitors; it’s perhaps best to avoid July and August, when the summer hordes arrive by the coachload and temperatures often soar. The hotel closes at certain times of year.

Our top tips

Take time to really appreciate the Côte d’Azur’s spectacular landscape: walk along the coast, explore the forested hills, sit in medieval village squares, and discover the incredible yachts in the numerous harbours. The region has already inspired Bonnard, Picasso, Léger, Matisse, Renoir and Chagall, so bring your painting kit - who knows? You might become the next great master!

Great for...

Beach
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 13
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

Each of the 12 rooms and suites is unique, but all have been effortlessly integrated into the historic architecture of the Prince’s former pad, which sprawls across a couple of different buildings in a quiet corner of Eze. None are small, and the suites are palatial. Some have exposed stone walls, others original wooden panels reused as headboards; there’s the occasional stained-glass window and grand stone fireplace. Fresh flowers, gilded mirrors, regal oil paintings and velvet drapes come as standard.

In a place as spectacular as this, it’s a shame not to have a good view. For that reason we’d skip the Standard Rooms (looking onto the village or hillside) and book at the very least a Superior or Deluxe Room, both of which have hillside and partial sea views. Although none of these rooms have open seascapes, they do have enormous bathrooms of sleek marble with basins, hidden Japanese toilets (play with remote controls if you dare!) and gorgeous rainfall showers; Deluxe Rooms have bathtubs, too. Monogrammed bathrobes, slippers and L’Occitane toiletries ensure comfort. The Elegance Rooms were added since our visit, but their bathrooms look equally sumptuous.

Both the Junior Suites and the Suites have living rooms, standalone or Jacuzzi bathtubs, and outdoor space with heavenly panoramas over the Riviera. We were lucky enough to stay in a Junior Suite a few steps from reception, in the village. Stepping through a small unassuming wooden door, we were blown away. Spread over 2 levels, we were presented with a grey marble entrance hall, a sumptuous lounge, a dressing area, 2 grand bathrooms, and an enticing bedroom leading to a balcony with views over the Med. We were like kids in a candy shop - we didn’t know which room to explore first, and took great pleasure in dashing up and down the stairs to see them all. Our favourite thing (if we were forced to choose) was the sunken Jacuzzi in our upstairs bathroom, which looked out towards the sea.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

As you may expect from a chef who’s worked in many of the world’s top restaurants, Axel Wagner has developed a range of monthly changing menus encompassing impressive, artful twists on French and Mediterranean cuisine.

Having secured ourselves a table for lunch (advance booking is always required for lunch and dinner), the scene was set for our 4-course culinary extravaganza: a private dining terrace (on request), views to die for, and smiling waiters whose recommendations would steer us through the following hours. Every mouthful made us sigh, from the creamy crab topped with tangy Australian lemon caviar to the perfectly symmetrical white and green asparagus soup. Ingredients are predominantly local, with a few exceptions, but we’ll forgive any air miles required to get them to our plates. Grilled veal and fresh John Dory fillets melted in our mouths, with little more than a sprinkling of herbs and asparagus to accent the flavours. A crunchy praline bar, filled with lemon mousse and topped with spun sugar, called an end to our afternoon delight.

Breakfast, while perfectly tasty, was inevitably a little run-of-the-mill compared to our spectacular lunch. Served on the breakfast terrace or in your room, it consists of fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereals, fresh bread and mini pastries, and a few hot dishes (bacon, mini black pudding and scrambled eggs). If you’re after a slightly more decadent start to your day, order the ‘romantic breakfast’, which comes with caviar and champagne.

There are also numerous restaurants in the village to choose from, including 2-Michelin-starred La Chèvre d’Or. Seeking something a little less elaborate, we went for dinner at La Taverne, a charming cave-like restaurant serving simple but delicious Italian food. We enjoyed artichoke, asparagus and truffle ravioli and a four-seasons pizza. Small tapas plates are available back at the hotel, too.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Restaurant
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore Eze’s narrow cobbled streets, lined with craft shops, art galleries and boutiques
  • Visit impressive prickles at Jardin Exotique, a cactus garden next door to the hotel. It has the best panoramas in the village and there’s a ruined castle, too
  • Relax on the pretty beaches of Eze-sur-Mer ('Eze on Sea'). It's a 45-minute walk via the Chemin de Nietzsche, the namesake of the famous German philosopher, who often frequented the path while contemplating his theories. Save your feet and catch the bus back up
  • Drive 30 minutes to Nice. Wander its Old Town until you find the famous Cours Saleya square, where flower and antiques markets are held, then stroll the famous Promenade des Anglais
  • Monaco is also a 30-minute drive away: practise your poker face, marvel at the array of sports cars, explore the royal palace, and visit the impressive Musée Océanographique de Monaco
  • Visit Grasse, the world-renowned perfumery town (a 1-hour drive). Galimard and Fragonard offer guided tours demonstrating the traditional perfume-making process, and the town is surrounded by fragrant fields of jasmine, lavender and roses
  • Slightly further afield but still worth a visit are Cannes, Menton and St Tropez. They all benefit from 300 sunny days a year, so find a spot on the beach and enjoy the weather!
  • Back at Chateau Eza, make use of the concierge service and book a spoiling in-room massage. While you’re on the phone, you can also request a private limousine, a boat or even a helicopter to explore the coast in style

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Wine tasting

Kids

The hotel has a grown-up atmosphere and is more suited to couples seeking a romantic retreat. That said, it does accept kids of all ages.

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra beds are available on request in the Junior Suites and Suites, all rooms can hold a baby cot. A Superior Room can interconnect with a Suite; please request when booking.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request (free of charge).

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly: Lounge

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
8/
Service
7/
Value
8/
Overall

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Rates for Chateau Eza