Chateau Saint-Martin: Luxe French Retreat

Those who long to step into the set of a historical storybook find their dreams come to life when they visit the French boutique hotel Le Chateau Saint-Martin.

Through the wrought iron gates and cypress trees that line the driveway, this hilltop hideaway in the heart of Provence is simply sublime.

A former Knights Templar Commandery, you half expect to see a knight gallop past the drawbridge ruins on a horse, or Rapunzel to let down her hair from a shuttered window above. This ivy-strewn former castle really is what fantastical dreams are made of.

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The location is also unrivalled. Resting on top of a hill, in one direction, you have the rolling foothills of Baou des Blancs and in the other, you have the distant sparkle of the French Riviera coastline. It’s less than half an hour away from Nice airport and a stone’s throw away from the cobbled winding streets and boulangeries of Vence.

There are no buildings surrounding this boutique hotel so you can wander around the tranquil gardens and delve into the blissful infinity pool outside with nothing but birdsong as your soundtrack. Yet during the Grand Prix, many guests will hop on a helicopter to take the short flight to Monte Carlo. It’s so near, yet so far to the best the French Riviera has to offer.

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While the chateau is not set to re-open until April 2015, its Spring opening will coincide with a new restaurant setting for its diners. With esteemed chef Jean-Luc Lefrancois at the helm, guests who visit during the new 2015 season can expect fine dining and even private dining experiences in the luxurious setting of Le Saint-Martin.

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There’s a series of cellars here occupied by some of the most deluxe French champagnes and Bordeaux wines in the country. And with an expert sommelier on hand, wine aficionados are well taken care of.

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Those looking for upscale Mediterranean fare and al fresco dining on the terrace will revel in the beautiful setting of L’Oliveraie. Fresh Mediterranean flavours and grilled fish offer long and sumptuous afternoon lunches. And the views from the dining tables and terrace over Provence are unrivalled.

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Many guests come here for the exquisite bedrooms and each one is unique in its own way. But with plush carpets, Toile de Jouey bed linen and vast marble bathrooms, whichever room you’re in, you’ll feel like you could hide away here for days in the peace and quiet.

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Then finally, there’s the spa. A beautiful subterranean haven where I had the pleasure of experiencing a body treatment using Bamford products.

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After you’ve had the stresses and strains pummeled out of your muscles, you can loll in and out of the steam and sauna rooms and feel invigorated in the cooling showers.

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Then all that’s left to do is relax by their exquisite pool and gaze out to the hills.

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Lucy McGuire

Lucy is an award-winning journalist and founder of the travel blog The Travel Journo. When she's not hunting down the latest luxury spa or London food trend, or jetting off somewhere for a travel assignment, she's drinking lattes and tapping on her laptop from the cafes of South London. Her favourite travel destinations are New York & the Caribbean.

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