Captivated by the Cote d’azur
OH, the heat, the perfect heat. Not too hot, not too hard, not too humid. Twenty-nine degrees, the sun browning you like toast, gentle puffs of breeze coming in from the Mediterranean Sea.
My toes are, in fact, in the Med as I lie on a sun lounger at the water’s edge. I’m halfway through a fat novel, a cooler of chilled water is hanging from my parasol and when I get too warm I only have one step to walk to the water. Or, if I’m feeling energetic, I might trot the few steps up to the swimming pool, heated to a balmy 26C, and look out over the ocean and its yachts. I will consider ordering a Bellini on the way. Or maybe a nice bottle of chilled Provencal white wine.
Here, at the Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel on the French Riviera, life doesn’t get much better. If you are hungry, Le Cap beach restaurant is behind you, serving a long, classical menu of buffalo mozzarella shipped from Naples twice a week, spaghetti alle vongole with clams from one trusted fisherman and barely seared tuna from the same boat. If you can’t be bothered to move, a tanned young man in white will deliver your order to the beach.
The hotel’s other restaurant is the Michelin-starred Pecheurs, up on a chic, spacious terrace over- looking the sunset. Chef Philippe Jego’s food has moments of the sublime — asparagus tempura with soft-boiled quail’s eggs and summer truffles — and the wine list is an exceptional ode to local drops. During my stay, star chef Luis Salvajoli is visiting from the exclusive Ponta dos Ganchos Resort in Brazil, and guests are marvelling their way through much of his menu, too.
My guestroom has a long terrace, where I have croissants and coffee in the morning, overlooking the Med and the boats that have appeared overnight. Windows are floor-to-ceiling, the furnishings cool and modern, and the bed wonderfully comfortable. The bathroom is as big as the bedroom, dominated by a double sink made from a single piece of granite, a vigorous Jacuzzi bath, and a gigantic rainwater shower. It’s a shame I spend so little time inside but I have reserved a spot on the private beach, and the sky is again a bril- liant blue. Today, my morning highlight is a massage in a tranquil white tent by the pool. Nathalie, the masseuse, came to the Cote d’Azur from Brisbane 15 years ago and has never left. I am not at all surprised. A. Z. B. Knight was a guest of Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel.
The Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel on the French Riviera