Four Seasons Provence, French savoir faire at its very best
Nestled on the lavish domain of Terre Blanche, a unique reserve of nature, TheFour Seasons Provence is the undisputed leading resort of the entire South of France. Less than an hour from St Tropez, half an hour from Cannes and 45 minutes from Nice international airport, the Four Seasons Provence is the perfect retreat for savvy travellers seeking to relax, exercise their Golf skills, indulge with the very rich and savoury Provencal gastronomy and the best of French wine or simply entertain friends and family for a short break. The Four Seasons Provence is one of those rare resorts which provide the most relaxing stay for parents with children, having built a separate facility Four Seasons for Kids, where children are looked after by staff and can spend an entire day. A separate children’s pool is also available.
I seem to have chosen the best time of the year to visit the resort and that is early May, when nature is at its best, with blooming flowers and the most green plants all over the entire domain. I gave me immense pleasure to wake up early one morning and see the sun rise from the large terrace of my suite and breathe in the most crisp, fresh and flower scented air. As I felt rather cold to sit outside, I stepped into my lit jacuzzi. Upon stepping in, I realized I was waking up the most beautiful butterflies which nestled on the side of the Jacuzzi.
The swans on the lake in the middle of the domain and the careful gardening all throughout provided me with a feeling of meditation and thought to myself how blessed I was to be able to enjoy the very best of nature in such an amazing part of the world.
It is evident in every single detail of the resort that the owner, German born Dietmar Hopp, one of the founders of SAP, understood that it takes an experienced hotel operator such as Four Seasons to turn the resort into one of the best not only in France and Europe but worldwide. The level of service in all departments is exceptional, of the highest standard, only reached by the other Four Seasons Hotel in France, the palatial George V, which I consider among the top three city hotels worldwide. In other words, the Four Seasons Provence is the Palace of the Provence Cote D’Azur Alpes region. Service is not only attentive, intuitive and friendly but also very genuine ! Name recognition throughout the resort was just perfect, and felt so nice being greeted by every single staff of the resort at any time of the day.
The resort is an all-suite one, the smallest being 60 sqm and all have generously sized terraces. Literature on the hotel speaks about a Provencal type of architecture and interior design, with light, pale colours of beige, brown and pale reds. To me, the suite felt very warm and cosy and that is why, it felt like home, which is so rare to find in hotels. When going back to my suite, either from the main pool, restaurant and the Spa, riding on the electric carts, I felt, each time, like going home. And, this is the ultimate customer experience. Evening turndown is a real feast, with the maids lighting large, fresh, candles in the living room and terrace and making everything look so neat and clean. Bathrooms are huge, with a free standing bathtub and a very large walk in shower. I was pleased to discover Opale, a Monegasque natural cosmetics brand with separate ranges of body and face amenities, all of exceptional quality. I was particularly drawn to the hair mask and body lotion, which I used daily.
The infinity swimming pool provides the most stunning views of the surroundings and the sunbeds are the most comfortable I have seen in any hotel recently. The swimming pool is just near the main building of the resort, which houses the reception, concierge, shop and the two restaurants, both with lavish terraces, heated during more chilly evenings. Le Faventia is an haute cuisine restaurant serving French and Italian dishes, with a very well balanced menu. The Sunday brunch at Le Faventia is a real treat and I was told the buffet station on the terrace of the Le Faventia which opens as of June will include a Bio corner, with a wide selection of organic produce, including local organic honey, such as sunflower or lavender.
The SPA of the hotel is in a separate building and covers over 2.000 sqm. The highlight of Le SPA is a large indoor heated pool with a vitality pool which is open air, with an impressive décor and Apart from the regular treatments such as massages and facials, the resort recently introduced a Personalized Well Being programme, which includes a four night stay, with the medical consultation of a nutritionist, with a tailor made diet and daily exercise and treatments. Because of the wealth of natural products surrounding the resort, such as essential oils, fruits, fresh flowers, I was expecting more locally flavoured treatments, instead of the non organic imported products. The Spa is probably the only part of the resort which might be slightly improved, not only from the point of view of menu and variety of treatments but also from the point of view of products and ingredients. Service throughout the SPA, seemed to me, at times, slightly impersonal and robotic. Or maybe it was just one of the busiest days when I visited and had my treatment…. Soundproofing of treatment room doors is another issue I believe needs to be improved, as during the two treatments I had, I could hear quite well outside noise.
One of the major highlights of the resort is the Terre Blanche Golf Club, which includes the state of the art Albatros Golf Performance Centre and two golf courses, providing the utmost in privancy and exclusivity. The world famous David Leadbetter Golf Academy is directed by Alain Alberti, the coach of Raphael Jacquelin, France’s top pro European Tour player. The Golf Club is ideal for both experienced and highly trained professional players who wish to practice and improve their techniques but also for beginners. The Terre Blanche Golf Club is the only luxury resort integrated in France and among the largest and best equipped in Europe.
Concierge can easily arrange visits to nearby attractions such as Grasse, the capital of French perfumery production, where there is a unique Museum of the Perfumery. The Matisee, Marc Chagall and Renoir Museums are within an hour drive from the hotel. The very best of luxury shopping is within less than 30 minutes, in Cannes. St Paul de Vence hillside scenery, which has long attracted famous artists such as Matisee, is within 30 minutes from the hotel. The best way to see the surroundings is to rent a car and the costs are definitely less than the hotel cars.
All in all, the Four Seasons Provence is one of those rare hotels where guests would rather not be seen and to me, the way the guests behave and show respect towards the hotel has been most fulfilling. One would not hear loud mobile phone conversations or guests raising their voice at any time. This level of respect provides the most peaceful and relaxing environment. The time which passes by at the Four Seasons Provence is made of moments…moments which you might want to keep for your self or share with others, but definitely, moments you will always remember !
Special thanks to: Giulio, Aziz, Fred, Laure, Mauro, Alexandru, Fabrice and the entire team who have made my stay a memorable one !