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June 4, 2023updated Aug 09, 2023

The Best Luxury Hotels in the South of France

The ultimate region to see – and be seen – in Europe during the summer season.

By Bea Isaacson

Twinkling azure-blue waters, rolling hills of vineyard and lavender, postcard-pretty medieval villages, and the glitziest nightlife across the continent. The South of France, the land that inspired artists and writers, the sea that welcomes the globe’s shiniest stars, is as timeless as it is endlessly luxurious.

Mesmerizingly enchanting in its natural beauty, whether it’s the golden Cote d’Azur or the brilliant Gorges du Verdon, the South of France is also beloved for its utter saturation in culture: the region’s vivid history; its flourishing art scene; all of the fabulous shopping. The infinitely glamorous South of France has it all and is an indisputable presence on everyone’s summer itinerary.

Naturally, the hotel scene is excellent and leaves us happily spoilt for choice. A star-studded affair, the luxury hotels of the south of France range from charming 17th-century abodes to Art Deco palaces that inspired some of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most beloved works. Here is Elite Traveler’s collection of our favorite luxury hotels in the South of France for 2023.

[See also: The Best Greek Island Hotels for 2023]

Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat

Terrace at the Grand-Hotel du Cap Ferrat overlooking the South of France terrain
Wildly extravagant but never garish / ©Four Seasons

French Riviera luxury peaks at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, a wildly extravagant – but never garish – experience that is heightened by its Four Seasons management. Thankfully, the international luxury hotel chain allows itself to slink in the background, and the hotel retains the same old-school glamour it’s been celebrated for across the world for decades while also being serviced by some of the finest hospitality offerings across the world.

Part of the magic resides in its exclusivity; during peak summer season, it’s one of the most expensive hotels across the continent, and rooms book up quickly. Get there in time and book the Four Seasons Pool Suite, an experience akin to a sun-dappled James Bond set, with its private infinity pool and vistas across the Mediterranean Sea.

Otherwise, enjoy the Michelin-starred Le Cap restaurant, which presents a Provençal and Mediterranean menu and a list of 600 wines from France’s best vineyards. The spa facilities are particularly excellent, with some treatments taken outside in the balmy sea breeze.

[See also: The Best Luxury Hotels in Ireland]

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Hôtel Crillon le Brave

Bathroom of the Hotel Crillon de Brave in the South of France
Provencal charm meets French luxury at the Hôtel Crillon le Brave / ©Mr. Trippier

Moving away from the Riviera and right into the heart of Provence, Hôtel Crillon le Brave is for those seeking to experience the beauty of the Provencal country and the best of French hospitality. Tracing its lineage back to the 17th century, history buffs will delight in the village the hotel is located within, in which the architecture – including the hotel – retains its original features for an experience akin to stepping back into time.

Surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, the hotel includes enough lashings of modern luxury amenities – we particularly like its outdoor pool and its spa – without compromising its authentic Provencal traditions and the pleasurable pace of daily life. With only 34 rooms, it is a boutique hotel experience with the service and features of the more modern hotel scene on the coast.

[See also: In the City of Light, Le Bristol Paris Dazzles]

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc

Luxury hotel Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc exterior
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc has been immortalized within literary history /©Oetker Collection

First built in 1870, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc has the distinction of being one of the oldest major hotels across the French Riviera. Effortlessly fusing authentic 1920s stylings with timeless French glamour, there is something quite magical and undeniably enchanting about the Cap d’Antibes palace hotel.

Its place within literary history has been immortalized by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, in which the hotel serves as major inspiration. Nautical hues of white and blue are subtle within the hotel which feels more akin to a mini palace, whilst the gardens and outdoor terraces are a true aesthete’s delight.

This is true luxury through and through, from caviar facials courtesy of the La Prairie spa to the Michelin-starred Louroc restaurant. We recommend the Eden-Roc Suite, which featured on our Top Suites of 2023, for its rooftop terrace, but truthfully, any room at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is an experience of thrilling beauty and exceptional service.

Hôtel Martinez

Looming large upon the Promenade de la Croisette, the fabulously grand Hôtel Martinez is something of an establishment within Cannes, if not the wider Côte d’Azur. Recent renovations saw some sections of the interior completely rebuilt, but this should come as no alarm to long-time fans of the Art Deco palace: the glitzy Riviera aesthetic remains just as authentic.

Boasting a private beach, two-Michelin-star restaurant La Palme d’Or and brilliant vistas across the Bay of Cannes and the Mediterranean Sea, maritime chic meets South of France opulence for a hotel experience that is almost impossible to tear oneself away from.

The rooms, which number 410 in total, are exquisitely designed to encapsulate the spirit of the Riviera, with a pastel color palette and windows that maximize the outside views. We like the new Penthouse Apartments located on the seventh floor, which have been dedicated to Isabelle Huppert and general delegate of the Cannes Film Festival Thierry Frémaux, and feature brilliant vistas across the Bay of Cannes.

[See also: Anantara Palazzo Naiadi: Redefining Dolce Vita in Rome]

Hotel Byblos

Hotel Byblos exterior
It doesn’t get more Mediterranean glam than the Hotel Byblos /©Alexandre Chaplier

Mad infatuation, big money and Bridgette Bardot: Hotel Byblos is immersed in its own mythology of its birth, a tale that could only happen within the French Riviera. When Lebanese billionaire Jean-Prosper Gay-Para built the hotel out of love for the iconic 1960s model, he was creating a legend of the region and an indisputable bastion of the South of France luxury hotel scene.

Today, the Hotel Byblos is the crown jewel of St. Tropez, one of the most enticing spots within the Cote d’Azur. Infinitely glamorous and effortlessly enticing, the hilltop village feel of the hotel renders it an immersive experience for its guests, in which its Greek stylings are gorgeously matched with French chicness for a delightful and luxurious vacation getaway.

Hotel owner Antoine Chevanne runs the show here; Byblos has been within his family since Gay-Para sold it to Chevanne’s great-grandfather in 1970. Despite its gild, Byblos is unique for its familial warmth; Chevanne’s mother designed the rooms, and the recently launched spa was envisioned by Chevanne’s own wellness journey. Romance, family and unapologetic glitz, with an iconic nightclub to boot – it doesn’t get more Mediterranean glam than this.

[See also: The Best Luxury Resorts in the Turkish Riviera]

The Maybourne Riviera

Maybourne Riviera Panoramic suite
The Panoramic Suite at the Maybourne Riviera /©Maybourne

Minimalist slick and total chic, the Maybourne Riviera is a dazzling transformation of the palace-esque traditions of Cote d’Azur hotels to something very modern and wholly unapologetic. With floor-to-ceiling glass featured across the hotel and designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, wraparound terraces and a fabulous collection of modern art, this is a luxury hotel in the South of France for the 21st-century aesthetic.

Built upon a rock, the hotel capitalizes on its brilliant position and maximizes the views on offer for exceptional vistas across France, Italy and Monaco; located beside the border, it’s a mere 20 minutes from the latter. Despite its modern feel, the timeless sea breeze of the azure blue waters remains, a gentle reminder of the Riviera that the hotel leans into with its restaurants, which highlight the best of the regional cuisine.

The Panoramic Suite is recommended for those seeking the best vistas within the South of France, from sunrise to sunset and everything in between; the stars glitter even brighter in this part of the world, and are best enjoyed with the suite’s complimentary chilled champagne upon arrival.

[See also: Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons Continues to Dazzle]

Cheval Blanc St. Tropez

Cheval Blanc St. Tropez in South of France
A true exercise in French chicness / ©F. Nannini

Back to St. Tropez, where Cheval Blanc puts on an absolute show for its beloved guests. Under the flagship of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, one might expect something big and flashy. Instead, it’s an absolute delight to experience the hotel’s bonafide sophistication, a true exercise in French chicness that feels more akin to a holiday home to Paris’s high society than an international hotel.

The intimate atmosphere is courtesy of its mere 30 rooms and heightened by its private beach, a rarity within St. Tropez. Its restaurant, La Vague d’Or, boasts three Michelin stars, and its spa is courtesy of Guerlain, with services extending onto the beach. We like its one-bedroom Sea Suite, optimal for those seeking total privacy in one of the finest spots within the town; look forward to two gorgeous terraces with views over the Bay of St. Tropez.

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