Visiting Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur? You’ll Never Want to Leave These Luxurious Hotels and Resorts

I first visited Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur one summer decades ago when my college roommate and I backpacked through Europe. It was in Nice where I had my first salade niçoise and finally saw the Mediterranean Sea in all its glimmering glory. It was in Monaco where I gazed upon yachts of astounding proportions, walked the long path to the stunning Grimaldi Palace and engaged in my fair share of window shopping at pricey boutiques. There were so many other memorable experiences in the region that summer and I remember the trip with laughter and sheer happiness.

It was a gift to recently have another opportunity (thanks to the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Tourism Board that generously gave me three complimentary stays, restaurant indulgences and regional tours and the ability to invite a guest) to return to the region. This time, my husband joined me and we walked the same cobblestone streets, indulged in traditional foods and meandered through village markets boasting soap from Marseilles, Provencal fabric, lavender sachets and fresh-caught seafood.

Unlike my backpacking days when hostels near train stations were the accommodation of choice, we stayed in glorious, 5-star hotels and resorts that offered luxurious suites, amenities and proximity to fascinating wineries. Now it’s your turn to experience this too.


Winetraveler Tip: Looking for the best airports to fly into Provence? Get updates on flight deals into Marseille-Provence or Nice-Côte d’Azur here.


Background on Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Lavender and olive fields, fishing harbors, sandy beaches and winter sports are framed by elements of art, history, gastronomy, abundant sunshine and viticulture in this fascinating region. Avignon, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, Marseilles and Nice are known for their heritage of art and history dating back to the days of the ancient Greeks. The magnificent landscapes of Camargue, Luberon and Verdon are worth a visit at any time of the year. In fact, we realized that a day of skiing in the Alps could end with a glass of Provencal Rosé at a seaside café!

 Are you ready to start planning your trip? Check out the following luxury hotels and resorts in Provence, plus some tips for indulging in the #Winetraveler lifestyle.


Three 5 Star Luxury Hotels in Provence

Sofitel Marseille Vieux-Port

Roughly one hour from Arles is Marseille, a city founded 2600 years ago by the ancient Greeks. The well-positioned five-star Sofitel Marseille Vieux-Port hotel is located at the entrance to the Port of Marseille. The property provides magnificent 180-degree views of the harbor and the town itself. Plus, you’ll be within walking distance of everything the city has to offer. The views from the spacious, warm and contemporary luxury rooms are unmatched… especially at sunrise and sunset.

There are 134 rooms throughout the hotel offering different perspectives. Whichever you choose, you’ll never want to leave. However, you must have dinner at Les Trois Forts, which features the creations of Michelin star chef Dominique Frérard and more incredible views of Marseille.

We highly recommend the Menu Escale Dantes a six course dinner with optional wine pairings. With glasses of Laurent Perrier Champagne in hand, we perused the magnificent menu offering everything from langoustines tarte with chanterelle mushrooms and arugula pesto, scallops with mashed thyme beans and bacon mousseux, young partridge tian, gorgonzola and butternut “blanc mange,” grapes from Hambourg with almond milk ice cream and “like a lemon pie” Yuzu sorbet.

On the property, be sure to relax at the SoSPA and indoor pool, workout at the fitness center, have sunset cocktails at Le Dantès Skylounge or lunch or snack at the Brasserie Le Carré Bistromanie with a local glass of wine.

Wineries to Visit Near Marseille

If you haven’t visited Bandol before, add it as a side trip. This amazing wine region is just about ~45 minutes from Marseille. We stopped by Domaine Tempier and Domaine Ott before we arrived at Sofitel Marseille Vieux-Port for a tasting of a few of their noteworthy wines.

Domaine Tempier is lauded for its red wines for which Bandol has become famous, as well as their Rosé and white wines. The Domaine has a small production of single vineyard wines that showcase the terroir and old vines of the property. Winegrowing has been a crucial part of the economy in the region since 500 BC, when the Romans exported wine to Rome from the port of Bandol. Now, Domaine Tempier is proud to share their story of Lucien and Lucie who produced their first wine on the property in 1943. When you visit, be sure the taste the 2017 Domaine Tempier Rouge “pour lulu,” a wine that’s an homage to Lulu who turned 100 years old in 2017. A blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault cultivated on clay and limestone, the wine tells the family’s story with each sip.

A five minute drive from Domaine Tempier is the Chateau Romassan Estate of Domaine Ott founded in 1896 by Marcel Ott. Today, the Domaine has three Estates: Chateau de Selle in Taradeau, Clos Mireillle in La Londe Les Maures and Chateau Romassan in Le Castellet located on two Appellations – AOC Cotes de Provence and AOC Bandol. Domaine Ott is managed by the founder’s descendants.

In 2004, the three Estates became part of the Louis Roederer Champagne House and we discovered quality in each sip of the wines tasted. In particular, I enjoyed the Chateau Romassan Rose 2018, an elegant, balanced wine of Mourvedre, Cinsault and Grenache grown on limestone and sandstone soil. Soft and elegant, fresh and lively fruit and floral notes were notable.


Hotel Les Bories & Spa

Up next on the luxury Provence hotel list is the five-star Hotel Les Bories & Spa, a very special spot located the hills of the Luberon. We arrived in the late afternoon and noticed a few guests drinking tea and aperitifs by the fire in the living room. We continued our walk to one of thirty-eight rooms and found a welcome note, a split of Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve and a fresh fruit platter. Our elegant room also had an expansive outdoor terrace with views of Gordes, considered one of the most beautiful villages in all of France.

On the first evening, we had dinner at the one-star Michelin restaurant led by modern Chef de Cuisine, Gregory Mirer. Paired with a bottle of 2017 Domaine Allois Terre d’Ailleuls Rouge (AOC Ventoux), we savored the “Pigs and Mushrooms” (wood mushroom, artichokes, colonnata bacon) as a first course. Lamb of Provence followed with augergine confit, rosemary and gnocchi of sheep’s bush and the Bories cheese platter for dessert. 

When you visit the Hotel Les Bories & Spa, enjoy a plentiful breakfast then take a dip in the indoor or outdoor pool. Explore the 8-hectare estate and walk among olive trees, cypresses and aromatic gardens that exude 2000 years of history. Play a round of tennis, and walk to the center of Gordes from the path on the property.

Wineries Near Hotel Les Bories & Spa

Before or after your stay, enjoy lunch at Chateau la Verrerie and a wine and olive oil tasting at Domaine Royere.  

Chateau la Verrerie is located a few miles from Lourmarin, a beautiful village in Provence. Towards the north are wines from the Côtes du Rhône and to the south are those from the Côtes de Provence. The property is located on the exact spot where prehistoric wine tanks, over 4000 years old and cut into the rock, were found. Now, this family-owned estate produces red varieties of Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, and Carignan along with whites of Bourboulenc, Roussanne, Clairette and Viognier. Of the many wines we tasted, my favorite was Chateau la Verrerie Grand Deffand Syrah, an exquisite wine with notes of fresh black fruit, spring violets, bright acidity and silky tannins.

Another great winery to stop at is Domaine de la Royere. While working in the vineyards, the team discovered a number of Neolithic flint tools that prove agriculture has been present in the region for centuries.

Since 1988, Domaine de La Royère has been producing wines in their own name. Now, 30 hectares of vineyards in prime terroirs of the Luberon are cultivated. Red wines are crafted from Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan and Cinsault along with white wines of Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne, Rolle (Vermentino) and Viognier. At the tasting, we had a sweet white wine/liqueur of Muscat petits-grains – just delicious.

La Royere produces its own olive oil from the Aglandau olive, but other growers are able to bring their own olives to the Olive Mill for processing. During the tour, we were shown agricultural artifacts from years ago and coupled with a detailed explanation of the olive oil making process, this experience stood out.


Château de Berne

A stunning two-hour drive from Hotel Les Bories & Spa to Château de Berne took us through lavender fields, historic villages and rolling hillsides.

Château de Berne is a leading producer of high quality Dry Rosé. Only 25 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea, the vast estate dates back to the 12th century, although the Romans had grown grapes in the area much earlier. Now, the Château boasts a world class wine cellar and vineyards as well as a 5-star hotel, spa, villa and three restaurants offering a range of culinary experiences.

Upon arrival, my husband and I were offered a glass of chilled Rosé from the resort’s award-winning winery. After sips and chats with the welcoming staff, we walked to our luxurious Castle Deluxe room. It was a wonderful respite with a relaxation area, balcony and terrace with sweeping views of the domaine.

The property itself has 27 elegant rooms and private villas that exude French charm and sophistication. During our first night at the Château we had a lovely dinner at Le Bistrot, an on-site restaurant that serves local cuisine, an array of wines and a comfortable atmosphere. In fact, Le Bistrot was awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand distinction in 2018.

The following morning, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast and walk along one of many hiking trails with vineyard views. If you decide to do the same, make sure you stop by the spa (which also has views of the surrounding vineyard landscape). In the evening, have dinner at Le Jardin de Benjamin, the Château’s Michelin star-rated restaurant that pays homage to Provence’s finest meats, cheeses and produce grown in their kitchen garden. Expect well-thought out wine pairings to go along with your meal.

Wine Tasting at Chateau de Berne

Who needs to leave the resort for a wine tasting? Château de Berne has it all! La Cave & SA Boutique has a range of fine wines available for on-site tasting and purchase along with local produce, olive oils, sauces and even tableware.

While you’re at La Cave, reserve time for a comprehensive winery tour, tasting and food pairing. We were fortunate enough to be guided through an entertaining visit of the vineyards with Brigitte Guiet, Tasting Room Manager, followed by a brilliant cellar tour with winemaker Alexis Cornu. Our walk around tour with Brigitte covered the history of the region, the grape varieties grown along with the winemaking process and more.

Plan Your Trip

If you love Provence, we hope that you’ll consider exploring some of these fantastic destinations on your next trip to France. Let us know some of your favorite stops in the comments below and feel free to reach out with any questions.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cindy Rynning has been writing about wine on her award-winning wine blog, Grape Experiences, since 2011. She passed the Wine and Spirit Trust (WSET) Level 3 program with Merit in 2012. Cindy is based in Chicago, Illinois and attends international and national trade tastings and media events, meets and interviews winemakers and others who share their stories, and writes about tastings, food and wine pairings, wine travels, and more. She travels extensively to wine regions around the world as a tourist and/or press trip participant. She has written for a variety of print and digital publications including Crave Local, Wine Tourist Magazine, Drizly, and the wine club newsletter of Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants. Currently, Cindy is a Top Shelf Blogger for Drizly and received a Drizly Blogger Award as Best Wine Blog - 2017. Cindy’s site was recognized as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Wine Blogs in the world in 2015 and as the Lux International Magazine Best Wine Blog – US in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Two of her articles were finalists in the Millesima Wine Blog Awards – Wine Travel category in both 2017 and 2018. A former educator, Cindy understands the value of lifelong learning and strives to share her knowledge of wine through writing, social media, personal wine tastings, and real-life conversation in order to inform, entertain, and inspire others to discover the beauty of our favorite beverage: wine.

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