When tourists plan their vacation on the French Riviera, most commonly, people think of Nice. The bustling city offers much to see and its proximity to the Mediterranean makes it a likely choice. However, for those wanting a slower pace, the charming town of Vence is perfect. Nestled in the hills that lead to the Alps, Vence has a subtle beauty. In fact, many famous artists have been drawn to the village. As such, galleries and museums line the narrow streets as well as cafes, bakeries and cheese shops that are necessary stops on a French vacation. And surely a visit to Henri Matisse’s Chapelle du Rosaire should top the bucket list.
A Historic Vacation Destination
Vence has its roots in medieval times. Much of the architecture still hearkens to the era. In fact, the fortified walls of the original town still remain. And in the 12th century, it was a stronghold of the Knights Templar, a military order that protected the Holy Land.
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Indeed, Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa shares in the engaging history of the town. In 350 AD, it was the home of Saint Martin who, at the time, was Bishop of Tours. Of course, it is from him that the chateau got its name. Later, the property served as the Knights Templar Commandery. But eventually, the structure fell into disrepair. However, in the 20th century, first a Polish count then a French industrialist set to restoration. The Oetker family purchased the property in 1994 and immediately set to renovating it to its former glory. The transformation was completed in 1997 when Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa became a five-star hotel.
The Oetker family is well-known for exclusive getaways and vacations. Established in 1870, The Oetker Collection has an outstanding reputation of expertise in European hospitality. With ten luxury hotels in Europe, South America and the Caribbean, each property in as unique as its location.
Stunning Suites & Villas
With an architectural gem like the historic chateau, it’s no wonder the guest accommodations are stunning. One guest favorite is the Duplex Suite. Tucked away on the top floor of the chateau tower, this impressive two-floor suite has a phenomenal view of the gardens right to the sea. Upon request, the Duplex Suite can connect to an adjoining room making it perfect for families.
But for the most memorable and luxurious vacation in this five-star hotel, a reservation in a villa is a must! The 3 Bedroom Villa is the most spacious with room for seven. This 1,675 square foot retreat spreads over two floors with 3 private suites, living room and dining room. The gourmet kitchen is perfect for home cooks or private chefs. The villa sits high on the hillside and offers a spectacular view of the sea. And the two large terraces are wonderful spots to lounge and take in the sights.
The world over, France has a reputation for fine dining. The restaurants at Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa are no exception. The main restaurant, Le Saint-Martin proudly has one Michelin star. The executive chef bases the menu around local produce that includes harvests from the hotel’s kitchen gardens. Impressively, each and every plate looks like a work of art, nearly too beautiful to eat. Almost! And to top off the atmosphere, the restaurant has an exquisite view of the countryside right to the sea.
While Le Saint-Martin is light and airy, the mood at L’Oliveraie capitalizes on that idea! This summer restaurant takes backyard dining to new heights with elevated ambiance and cuisine. Nestled amongst ancient olive trees, the menu features rustic fare with grilled meats and fish and pizza from the wood fired oven.
And for oenophiles, be sure to indulge in Les Canthares. This weekly wine tasting takes place in the chateau’s wine cellar. Led by an expert sommelier, it’s the spot to engage your palate and learn about the wines of the region and beyond.
Spa Saint-Martin by La Prairie routinely ranks as the best luxury spa destination in Europe. It offers a full spa menu including body treatments, facials, massages, beauty treatments, gentlemen’s treatments and children’s treatments. In addition to the four treatment rooms, services can be rendered in the hotel garden, ensconced in the privacy of a gazebo. For an enjoyable day, schedule A Dream in Provence. This spa experience includes a facial or massage, a refreshing two course lunch and full day access to the pristine pool. Or try the Five-star Treatment. This white caviar brightening and firming facial is sure to have you looking your best.
Moreover, Spa Saint-Martin by La Prairie also considers the health side of wellness. As such, fitness experts, personal trainers and even an osteopath are on staff to help maintain your optimum health on vacation.
A Romantic Wedding Venue
Cote d’Azur always makes for a stunning luxury destination wedding. However, the backdrop of Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa certainly adds an extra romantic element. In fact, in addition to its other accolades, Knights Templar Chateau has been voted the best romantic luxury hotel in the world!
Imagine making your vows in the 12th century private chapel followed by a reception in one of the eight event spaces on the property. And, of course, don’t forget hosting a gourmet wedding breakfast the morning after your celebration. It is sure to be a wedding friends and family won’t soon forget.
So when the crystal waters of the Mediterranean and rolling hills of the French countryside beckon, set your sights on Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa.