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France: La Vague de Saint Paul, Nice

Lucy King
04 December 2016

Set in a peaceful oasis of pine trees, this dreamy hotel – with its romantic restaurant and aquamarine pool – showcases the French Riviera at its very best, says Lucy King

THE LOWDOWN:
A five-minute drive from the bustling Provençal village of Saint-Paul de Vence and just 25 minutes from Nice, La Vague de Saint Paul is tucked down one of those roads so typical of the south of France – neatly clipped hedges, large gates and short driveways leading to the most tasteful of homes. Once the offices of an electronics company, the hotel’s modernist horseshoe-shaped building is just three floors high and surrounded by towering pines, making it feel blissfully hidden away.

The 50 rooms are pared back, modern and generous in size; predominantly white and very stylish, with the usual ultra-slick bathrooms, the only touches of colour come from the headboards and co-ordinating cushions. Most have views onto the trees at the front of the hotel or the pretty garden and swimming pool to the rear. Next to the pool – but distance enough for any water-based high jinks to be reduced to mere background noise – is a tranquil seating area, perfect for that afternoon snooze. There’s also a boules area (of course), spa and a tennis court, for those who like to exercise in their downtime.

But it’s the restaurant and terrace which are, for me, the highlight of La Vague. Kick off with a cocktail and amuse bouche while a jazz quartet plays in the background and the pool lights twinkle below. Offering a menu of Mediterranean classics with a fresh modern twist, dishes – including razor clam linguine and sea bass with tomatoes and black olives – are light and perfectly suit the climate. Inside there is a bar and further seating for the restaurant, where breakfast is served and dinner on cooler evenings.

THE GOOD:
The pool is a wonderful place to while away a few hours: there’s even a poolside bar.

The hotel is littered with modern art and eye-catching sculptures. Displays change frequently and give the eye something to rest on at every turn.

Though this hotel defines peace and quiet, it is within easy reach of the beach, surrounding medieval villages and the coast’s restaurants.

THE NOT-SO-GOOD:
You’ll need a car if you’re staying here; despite the hotel’s proximity to Saint-Paul de Vence, it’s reached by a winding road and in the heat it is further than it looks.

THE VERDICT:
In an area not short of places to stay, this is the hotel to book if you want to get away from everything.

BOOK IT:
La Vague de Saint Paul, Chemin des Salettes, 06570 Saint-Paul de Vence, France (+33 (0) 4 92 11 20 00; vaguesaintpaul.com).