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by David Drake

A few months ago I stayed at Château de La Chèvre d’Or located in Eze, France. Eze is a 4,000 year old medieval village between Monaco and Nice in Côte d’Azur carved on the side of the cliff jutting towards the azure skies and turquoise glimmer of the Mediterranean sea. It is breathtakingly stunning and exceeds the beauty of Santorini. Eze has steeper incline,  magical nooks and crannies in the streets which were used to navigate the whole village on a donkey back in ancient times.

 

Posh Review Top 10 French Riviera Hotels: The Castle in the Sky to Visit before you Die – Château de la Chèvre d’Or

One of the many gorgeous views of the Mediterranean Sea, the route of traders and travelers in ancient times | Photo Credit: Mike Hull, TimesRealtyNews.com

 

Eze is an enchanting place with a unique story to tell.  One folk tale says that  a shepherdess sells goat cheeses, and hid her earnings in the house.  After she passed away, the new owner found the gold coins.  Hence, they named it Chèvre d’Or which means “golden goat”.

 

Posh Review Top 10 French Riviera Hotels: The Castle in the Sky to Visit before you Die – Château de la Chèvre d’Or

Stunning view from the hotel, given +3 bonus points | Photo Credit: Mike Hull, TimesRealtyNews.com

Eze is the only village in France with three five star hotels. Thierry Naidu, CEO and founder of Phoenix Hotel Management Company started working here in 1991. He managed to keep a Michelin two-star restaurant alive for the last 25 years. I also visited the other five star hotel,  Chateau Eza,  in the opposite part of the village. Thierry  was once its manager,  and now his cousin runs it.  How quaint.

 

Entrance to the chateau overlooking the gardens and the Mediterranean Sea

Entrance to the chateau overlooking the gardens and the Mediterranean Sea | Photo Credit: Abbe Borg, VictoriaGlobal.co

 

Enthralled by its beauty, Robert Wolf purchased the Château de La Chèvre d’Or property in 1953.  He  converted it into a restaurant. One of its  first guests was Walt Disney, who stayed for 3 months and advised Wolf to turn it into a hotel. Now, the hotel occupies half of the village. It has 39 guest rooms,  and  no two rooms are   the same. It also has suites including a presidential suite.

 

Medieval castles are my cup of tea and this bar has the right ambiance for a knight in shining armor, rated +5 points

Medieval castles are my cup of tea and this bar has the right ambiance for a knight in shining armor, rated +5 points | Photo Credit: Abbe Borg, VictoriaGlobal.co

 

The little bar

The little bar | Photo Credit: Abbe Borg, VictoriaGlobal.co

 

Spectacular cliff gardens with 100+ statues wrapping around 60% of the city

Spectacular cliff gardens with 100+ statues wrapping around 60% of the city | Photo Credit: Mike Hull, TimesRealtyNews.com

 

The hotel used the advice of Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, the owner of Villa & Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild, which is only 20 minutes away, to create several dozens of enclave and hanging step gardens surrounding the hotel. Each garden is endowed with bronze and stone statues, as if you are walking through the eerie gardens of the White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia. Yet, it is also richly charming during the daytime when I arrived.

 

Replicas of the terracotta army of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of Qin, from whom China got her name, surround one of the gardens

Replicas of the terracotta army of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of Qin, from whom China got her name, surround one of the gardens | Photo Credit: Mike Hull, TimesRealtyNews.com

 

The gardens of the Chateau caught me by surprise. Life-size replicas of the  terracotta army of the late Qin Shi Huang Di, the first emperor of China, dot the edges of one of the gardens along the cliff as if guarding the village except that they are facing the Chateau instead of looking towards the sea below. The Asian design influence might have come from  the Chinese traders plying the Silk Road way back in the Han dynasty (207 BCE – 220 CE). These merchants, in great probability, have interacted with the people in Eze. The Mediterranean Sea is part of the sea route of the Silk Road as they ventured into Europe.

 

A big chessboard right in the middle of one of the many gardens

A big chessboard right in the middle of one of the many gardens | Photo Credit: Mike Hull, TimesRealtyNews.com

 

My travels have taken me castle hunting several times throughout Europe over the last decades as I hail from Sweden and now live in New York. The cobblestoned streets, as well as the  tavern-like restaurants and bars here in Eze, make this the most spectacular castle and hotel location I have ever visited. At night, the cobblestoned streets are bathed in warm golden light. You feel as if you are transported back in ancient times.

 

Entrance to the hotel and reception area

Entrance to the hotel and reception area | Photo Credit: Abbe Borg, VictoriaGlobal.co

 

Cobblestoned streets and castle conversion given +5 points

Cobblestoned streets and castle conversion given +5 points | Photo Credit: Abbe Borg, VictoriaGlobal.co

 

What makes this Château de La Chèvre d’Or hotel most remarkable is definitely its amazing location. Situated on top of the hill with the Mediterranean Sea below and accessible through its winding and tiny cobblestone streets make this hotel the most charming and picturesque one I have ever seen.

 

A garden with a whale pond

A garden with a whale pond | Photo Credit: Mike Hull, TimesRealtyNews.com

 

I will be writing about the 10 best hotels I visited in the French Riviera starting with Château de la Chèvre d’Or. This hotel gets a #FSMV or what I call “Five Star, Must Visit Before You Die” rating.

Formulating this rating system gives me great pleasure in being able to highlight the best experiences I have with each hotel encounter. As soon as I arrive in a hotel, 10 things make an impact on me: the room’s layout and view from the window, the room’s design and colors, bathroom layout and design, shower accessories quality and design, shower pressure, quality of  the bed and pillows, noise or lack of it, the quality of the services,  responsiveness of the staff, and overall happiness rating. These comprise the Impact Meter score. Add this to the total score for the Detail Meter, which is a composite of all the positive and negative details, and we have the Overall #FS or Five Star Rating for the Hotel. The highest rating possible is #FSMV or “Five Star, Must Visit Before You Die” rating. Find out if the other 9 top hotels in Côte d’Azur or the French Riviera will get the same superb rating.

 

The private deck was the second spectacular aspect of this suite after the bathroom, and awarded +4 bonus points

The private deck was the second spectacular aspect of this suite after the bathroom, and awarded +4 bonus points | Photo Credit: Abbe Borg, VictoriaGlobal.co

 

A ballerina in the sky of Eze, France. The peninsula Cap Ferrat lingers in the back

A ballerina in the sky of Eze, France. The peninsula Cap Ferrat lingers in the back | Photo Credit: Abbe Borg, VictoriaGlobal.co

 

4000 year old castle grounds brings out colors and age with beauty and romance in Eze; 15 min west of Monaco

4000-year-old castle grounds brings out colors and age with beauty and romance in Eze; 15 min west of Monaco | Photo Credit: Mike Hull, TimesRealtyNews.com

 

From top left to right: Jacuzzi with 25 jets awarded +5 bonus points, oxygenation button, built-in light show, complete with towels, shampoo and other accessories, and the energy saving feature of the toilet

From top left to right: Jacuzzi with 25 jets awarded +5 bonus points, oxygenation button, built-in light show, complete with towels, shampoo and other accessories, and the energy saving feature of the toilet | Photo Credit: Abbe Borg, VictoriaGlobal.co

 

 

Crepe curtains, sofa, beautiful office desk +1 point, entertainment center and the framed photos  were as exquisitely French with a hint of Swiss design

Crepe curtains, sofa, beautiful office desk +1 point, entertainment center and the framed photos  were as exquisitely French with a hint of Swiss design | Photo Credit: Abbe Borg, VictoriaGlobal.co

 

Magnificent view of the Med from the suite terrace, with the orchids given +2 points, and the sliding floor to ceiling windows + 5 points

Magnificent view of the Med from the suite terrace, with the orchids given +2 points, and the sliding floor to ceiling windows + 5 points | Photo Credit: Abbe Borg, VictoriaGlobal.co

 

While I lean on the bed, one mile up at this Castle in the Sky, Cap Ferrat Peninsula approaches my shoulder in the horizon

While I lean on the bed, one mile up at this Castle in the Sky, Cap Ferrat Peninsula approaches my shoulder in the horizon | Photo Credit: VictoriaGlobal.co

 

HOTEL INFO:

Hotel Name : Hotel Eze Chevre d’or France / Château de La Chèvre d’Or
Company    : Relais & Châteaux
Website       : www.chevredor.com/uk/chateau-chevre-d-or-eze-official-site.php
Address      :  RUE DU BARRI 06360 EZE VILLAGE, France
Email           : reservation@chevredor.com / marketing@chevredor.com
Tel. no        :  + 33 (0)4 92 10 66 66

 

 

Note: This article originally appeared on HuffingtonPost with this link  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/posh-review-top-10-french-riviera-hotels-the-castle_us_5798df70e4b0e002a3147f0b on July 28, 2016.

 


 

David-Drake_2014David Drake is the Chairman of LDJ Capital, a multi-family office; Victoria Partners, a 300 family office network; LDJ Real Estate Group and  Drake Hospitality Group; and The Soho Loft Media Group with divisions Victoria Global Communications,Times Impact Publications, and The Soho Loft Conferences. Reach him directly at David@LDJCapital.com.

 



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