The most privileged and pristine enclave on the Cote d'Azur, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is a seaside village perched on a peninsula that juts into the cobalt blue waters of the Mediterranean. The low-key resort community on the French Riviera has always attracted the rich and famous - from Winston Churchill and Picasso and more recently to Bono, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and Paul Allen who's megayacht Octopus is routinely spotted here. Drawn no doubt by the luminous sunlight, the wildly beautiful forest landscape and the dazzling deep-blue views of the sea.
Yet unlike much of the south coast, it has remained remarkably unspoilt and oozes old-style Riviera glamour. A stroll along its coastal footpaths reveal tantalizing glimpses of grand villas and gardens, the majority of which are hidden behind high walls with ubiquitous signs about being protected by video surveillance. In a setting so tranquil with the away-from-it-all feel, it's hard to believe that this place is only 25 minutes from Monaco and 30 minutes from Nice.
Perched in the peninsula of Cap-Ferrat, with plunging views of the Provencal hills and the Baie des Fournis, the five-star 94-room Hotel Royal Riviera provides the intimacy of a private villa with the luxury and glamour of a palace. The hotel has all the necessary amenities of a full resort: outdoor heated pool, fitness and wellness center, extensive gardens, sun filled terraces and flawless service. The Hotel Royal Riviera is one of the few hotels in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat offering a private sandy beach. It's worth paying extra for a room with a balcony overlooking the garden, pool and sea. For a special occasion, the huge corner rooms have some of the best sea views on the Mediterranean where you can fall asleep to the lapping of waves.
La Table du Royal, Hotel Royal Riviera
For formal, very assured French and Mediterranean cooking La Table du Royal is the place to go. Overlooking the Baie des Fournis this beautiful restaurant serves excellent fish and seafood and has a large terrace with perfect little tables set with crisp white linen tablecloths and amazing views of the sea. The service was right on point and the food was fantastic.
Set high on hill, with dizzying sea views on both sides, this mini palace is a museum in itself (the building and furnishings) and has an enormous art collection - Sevres and Vincennes porcelain, Flemish and Beauvais tapestries, 18th century paintings and furniture and anything else that caught the eye of the former owner, the Baroness Ephrussi de Rothschild. Even better than the interior are the villa grounds which feature an extensive set of seven gardens designed in different styles: French Traditional, Florentine, Spanish, Exotic, Lapidary, Japanese and Provencal - all impeccably maintained.
Take in the gorgeous views of and from the peninsula by following one of the coastal footpaths. The stretch from the little port of St-Jean Cap Ferrat around the southern tip of the Cap is the wildest and most remote.