Hotels we love: France and Italy

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A tailor made vacation means that we never propose to you a pre-designed, standard trip.  Just like you, our clients, our travel proposals are all unique and different, and the hotels and bed and breakfasts we match you with also have their own personalities and styles.  Through decades of personal research and travel, we have been able to hand select accommodations throughout the Mediterranean that we know are the very best, and share them with our clients.

Though many of you are still dreaming of future vacations from your homes, the Mediterranean has started to travel again, and we are all hopeful that our clients, friends and family in North America will join us in the future. There are so many special places that we can take you.  This month, we spoke with some of our absolute favorite, unique accommodations in the Mediterranean and we are finishing up our series with two countries close to our heart that truly need no introduction – bienvenue en France and benvenuti in Italia.

La Chèvre d’Or, French Riviera

What’s special about your hotel? 

Perched between sea and sky, La Chèvre d’Or provides a luxurious heaven in the heart of the medieval hilltop village of Eze on the French Riviera. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, between Nice and Monaco, this very impressive Relais & Châteaux Hotel offers stunning and spectacular views, sun-drenched terraces and a superb cuisine including a 2* Michelin restaurant.

Nature is everywhere at Château de la Chèvre d’Or.  Gardens are filled with sculptures, fountains, waterfalls, flowers, herbs, olive, citrus, orange trees and shrubs. Incredible lush gardens to discover, a piece of paradise!  The area is perfumed with the scents of jasmine, bougainvillea and roses. The magnificent colors create a framework that blends into the horizon and the sea. This will take you into a voyage where it is pleasant to just relax or stroll around and breath in the freshness.

Calm reigns for a perfect stay and to enjoy moments of pure happiness near our two outdoor swimming pools….

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Who is the perfect client for Chèvre d’Or?

The perfect client for Chèvre d’Or is a client who comes looking for a unique and timeless experience of the highest quality for accommodations. Between its lush nature, its breathtaking view, its restaurants, different swimming pools and wellness areas, Chèvre d’Or will offer a magical stay to the client.

What’s the service variety of Chèvre d’Or?

In the heart of the medieval village of Eze, between the blue of the sky and the blue of the Mediterranean Sea, Chateau de la Chèvre d’Or offer various services such as 2 outdoors pools included one heated pool and jacuzzi with sea view, Sauna with panoramic view, Fitness Center, 3 massage rooms and beauty treatments…we can also arrange a Héli-gourmet tour, yacht tour, the possibilities are endless!

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What’s the best time to experience Chèvre d’Or and the French Riviera?


There is no real good time to experience Chèvre d’Or, all year the hotel offers different and unique experiences. During the summer season you can enjoy the sun, long days and warmth. In low season the stay is different, the sunset offers exceptional colors and you can enjoy the moments of freshness on the terrace.


Tell us about the philosophy?


Chateau de la Chèvre d’Or offers a unique and authentic experience, with respect for the village and the Relais & Chateaux traditions. The aim is to preserve this medieval village and the unique character of this hotel while offering quality service to all our guests.


Tell us about sunsets from the hotel? (I know they have special ones there)

The hotel sunsets are unique moments to live and never forget. Whether in summer or autumn, the colors are magical and the experience out of time. Sit on the terrace, at the restaurant, by the pool, at the window of your room or in the gardens and watch this spectacle offered by nature with this incredible view on the Mediterranean Sea.

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Your choice of “must see and must do’s” nearby? 

At more than 1400 feet above the Mediterranean, the exotic gardens of Èze are located on the site of an old medieval fortress. Caves, waterfalls, desert and Mediterranean plants fill this unusually rich botanical area: Eze “exotic garden”. Not to miss! As you stroll along the garden’s paths, take the time to admire the breathtaking panorama that extends as far as the eye can see in front of you.     Discover as well, many historical churches in the heart of the village and an incredible picturesque Medieval atmosphere through the pedestrian streets of Eze…

Another “must-see” in Eze is the visit of the Fragonard Perfume Factory. The house has two factories-laboratories in the region, one in Grasse, the world capital of perfume, and the other in Eze. Eze’s factory is rather dedicated to the manufacture of soaps and cosmetics, while Grasse’s is dedicated to the manufacture of perfume. However, during the visit you will also be explained the manufacture of the perfume. And of course, at the shop, you find all the products. The particularity of Fragonard perfumes is to use only natural essences. Thus, unlike perfumes made in part with synthetic essences, natural essences give a “life” to the fragrance: once worn, its smell evolves over the course of the day.

Your personal favorite room or suite in the accommodations?


The panoramic suite: a golden cocoon, a floating paradise. With its exceptional terrace suspended over the sea, its private infinity pool and heated outdoor jacuzzi, the panoramic suite has the most prestigious amenities. It’s a space for two, an oasis overlooking the blue.

Le Bastide de Marie, Provence, France

What’s so special about your hotel?
These accommodations seem like the private house you always dreamed to have in Provence, but of course with all the services of a luxury hotel!  You feel at home as soon as you arrive.
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Who is the perfect client for Le Bastide de Marie?
People who are looking for a casual place to spend a holiday reading a book with a glass of good wine.
How accessible is the hotel?
The Hotel is located in the heart of Luberon, very close from Avignon TGV and Marseille Airport, in a very quiet location.
What are the variety of services offered by the hotel?
We offer traditional services such as a restaurant, and a SPA but we also propose cooking classes, yoga retreats and of course all the activities connected with the winery next door to the hotel, like wine tastings for example.
How seasonal is the hotel?
Bastide is open all year long (obviously with the particular period this year, we were not).
What is the best time to visit Provence?
The high season is summer, but during the harvest in September for me is the perfect moment to visit Provence.
Tell us about the hotel philosophy…?
The hotel philosophy is the generosity , tradition and authenticity – it is more a property than a formal hotel.
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What are some things a guest “must see” and “must do” in the area?
Guests must see the provencal « colorado » in Roussillon and cannot miss spending a day in L’iles sur la sorgue to shop in the antique furniture store.
What’s your personal favorite room or suite at the accommodations?
Each suite is designed in signature colors and the delightful hues of Provence, but my favorite room is the Anis Green.
Castello di Guarene, Piedmont, Italy
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What’s special about your hotel?

The hotel is a real castle built in the 18th century by a local nobleman.  He commissioned the building of this splendid new residence to his own personal taste, surrounded it with gardens and oversaw the furnishing work on what was to be a sumptuously decorated interior. Roero had both the ability and the financial means to see this project through. An accomplished – albeit amateur – architect, he was also a high-profile aristocrat and a landowner of considerable wealth.  Today, the palace continues to make people’s dreams come true with its gorgeous accommodations. Preserved as it was in its heyday, with all its works of art intact, it is now also home to a top-class hotel. An essential stopping point in any itinerary of the Baroque highlights of Piedmont, it stands out among the very best places to stay in the region.
Sumptuously furnished antique-style bedrooms, haute cuisine, fine wines and the latest modern technology combine with historical heritage to offer the visitor a truly unique experience.

 Who is the perfect client for the Castello of Guarene?
Wine lovers, couples, even families with kids – some of the rooms have balconies and grassy terraces with a beautiful view.
 What’s the service variety?
Professional, warm and never invasive.
 What’s the best time to experience Piedmont?
September is a wonderful month with cooler temperatures and the wine harvest, the colors are just spectacular.
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What are some special experiences that the hotel offers?
Piedmont is world famous for truffles, and hunting truffles in the Alba area on a peaceful fall day is an unforgettable experience. Following the truffle hunter and their dog, you’ll be able to soak up the spirit of Langhe and Roero. Grown in the earth and found in woodlands, truffles are diligently searched out before ending up in the most sophisticated dishes to delight the finest palates. For those especially fond of adventure, truffle hunting can even be organized at night – the most challenging, yet optimal time for an authentic and atmospheric experience.
What should future guests know?
With heavy drapes, paintings, lavish period furniture, carefully restored parquet floors, this former summer residence for the Counts of Roero, built on the site of a medieval fortress, is a delight for the eyes. Surrounded by gardens designed in the style of 18th century Italy, overlooking the city of Guarene, it offers splendid views over the Langhe hills, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A refined Piedmontese cuisine is served in the restaurant, and provides the occasion to taste the prestigious regional wines. At the end of a long brickvaulted hallway, the spa and indoor pool carved into the rock provide a peaceful retreat.
Venissa, Venice, Italy
What’s so special about the hotel?
Owned by a family of winemakers from the Veneto, and set in a historic walled vineyard on Mazzorbo Island, Venissa is a hotel, restaurant and vineyard located on a lagoon island of Venice. They also have a Michelin-starred restaurant, plus five relaxed rooms that overlook the lagoon or survey the vineyard. Venice is just a 50-minute boat trip away, and Venissa provides a peaceful refuge.  
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Who is the perfect client for Venissa?
Wine lovers, foodies, those looking for a unique, relaxing experience and to discover some of the outer islands.
What are the variety of services offered by the hotel?
They offer a great range of truly unique experiences, like dinner on a boat – in the heart of Native Venice right beyond the island of Torcello where the islands of Amiana and Contanziaca once stood, there are untouched lagoon waters where time passes at a peaceful pace. On board a small bragozzo (the traditional wooden sailboats used by lagoon fishermen) you can enjoy a picnic dinner prepared by the team at their Osteria Contemporanea.  Wine tastings, of course, are a highlight.  You can also go crab fishing with Domenico, one of  the last remaining fishermen of Burano who still carries out the traditional method of fishing for moeche, or lagoon soft shell crabs.  They can arrange a tour to discover the lagoon and its traditional fishing techniques with him.
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What are some things a guest “must see” and “must do” in the area?
Boats are how you get around here, and boat tours of the lagoon are absolutely spectacular,  Lunch and tastings in the vineyard are also an incredibly special experience outside of the sometimes chaotic center of Venice, but the city is so unique and special, a visit is an experience you will never forget.
What is your favorite room?
The suite is truly a window on the lagoon – a room with all the amenities you can imagine for those discerning travels who look for quality. The rooms on Mazzorbo are located inside the walled vineyard on the same property as the Ristorante Venissa and the Osteria Contemporanea. The Suite rooms are 25 square meters and are complete with: queen size bed, exclusive furniture, works of art, exposed beam ceilings, wood floors, private bath with shower, robes, hairdryer, and vanity set, free Wi-Fi, minibar, safe, air conditioning, and complimentary gourmet breakfast.
Sextanto, Le Grotte della Civita, Matera, Italy
What makes the hotel so special?

A historic Apennine village, Matera can be found in the south of Italy and is world famous because of its Sassi quarters, a stunning and well preserved example of a village where hundreds of caves were turned into dwellings, churches and palaces. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993, the Sassi represent a unique hamlet throughout Italy: the earliest inhabitants date back to the stone and bronze age, in the middle ages it boasted several monastic communities and later became a vibrant farming centre.

Screen Shot 2020-08-24 at 10.44.24 AMLe Grotte della Civita is placed in the oldest part of the Sassi, the CIVITA, facing the spectacular Murgia park and its rock-hewn churches. It comprises 18 rooms and an ancient church, the “Cripta della Civita”, now used as a common area, all renovated to retain their original features.  Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita is a cultural project born to bring hospitality experience outside the schematics, not classifiable as “stars” and far from any traditional concept of luxury, so much so that the New York Times deemed it one of “the most extraordinary destinations in the world”, the Times “one of the ten most beautiful hotels on the international scene” and the Tatler guide of Condé Nast has included among “the one hundred most beautiful hotels on the planet”. They talk about the luxury of emotions.

Screen Shot 2020-08-24 at 10.44.00 AMWho is the perfect client for the hotel?

Anyone who wishes to be immersed totally in a piece of unique history.  Though the rooms are mostly candlelit, it might seem a challenge with children, but it’s actually an experience they will never forget.

What’s the best time to experience Matera?

The summer can be incredibly hot but the caves are always nice and cool.  Matera is an incredible destination that can be visited even throughout the fall and winter.

What are the variety of services offered by the hotel?

In room massage, reiki, personal yoga and pilates upon request…bike tours of the region, cooking classes, and also  it’s possible to dine, upon request.
The evocative scenario of the location is unique: a deconsecrated church, lit solely by candles, with background classical music and a lit fireplace. The exclusive location therefore transforms into a fantastical place where guests can enjoy the Chef’s passion and local cuisine.

What’s your personal favorite room?

Cave number 13, better known as the Bridal Suite, this is the only multi-level cave: its 80 m2 surface is split into a lodged night zone with a big window and a balcony allowing a panoramic view over Parco della Murgia, a living area and a bathtub housed inside a romantic exclusive cave with a fireplace.

Sikelia luxury hotel, Pantelleria, Sicily, Italy

What’s so special about this hotel?

Simple monastic architecture meets striking modernist interiors at Sikelia – a boutique retreat in a dramatic setting. Housed within porcelain-white dammusi, ancient stone buildings typical of this part of Italy, this is an atmospheric escape with effortless style.

Sikelia is perfectly in harmony with both its history and lava-strewn landscape. Expect crisp, clean lines and a muted, monochrome palette, high vaulted ceilings and archways, as well as a gorgeous palm-lined pool. In the sleek suites, look out for eye-catching works by contemporary artist Gennaro Avallone. Then spend evenings being treated to creative cuisine in Themà.

Screen Shot 2020-08-24 at 2.16.33 PMWho is the perfect guest?

Couples and those looking for quiet luxury in a sleek and sophisticated surrounding (it’s not a good choice for kids, the hotel does not accept children under 12 years of age).

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What can guests experience on the island?

Outside Sikelia’s white walls, the raw beauty of Pantelleria unfolds – rocky coves, twisted vines and free, natural hot springs throughout the island. Follow the dammusi trail or look for Bronze Age relics. Experience the ultimate outdoor spa in hot springs and mud baths. Dive off the coast or stick to dry land and walk extraordinary nature trails. If that sounds too much like hard work, you could explore the island’s flavors through its vineyards and wine cellars.  There are also an incredible amount of boat tours and excursions that can be arranged to see this paradise from the water.

Screen Shot 2020-08-24 at 2.13.30 PMTell us about the sunsets…?

The colors are truly breathtaking as the sun slides down in to the Mediterranean sea.  The hotel has a lovely view, and is a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons for this special reason.  On clear days, you can see as far as Tunisia and Northern Africa, it’s magical.

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