The idea was to treat my girlfriend and myself to a post-birthday mini-break in the Cote D'Azur. I found VM online and liked what I saw so took the plunge and booked a four night stay. Having travelled the World and the Seven Seas etc, I'm happy to stay in cheap or expensive accommodation alike and adjust my expectations accordingly. I was expecting VM to be pretty good but it exceeded every expectation and made for an unparalleled break, the kind you read about in travel magazines with flourishes of hyperbole which you never quite believe. VM is truly superlative and returning to a drizzly grey Autumnal London (at the end of May) was truly depressing and disheartening.
But enough of that, back to sunny South of France. The VM grounds are luscious and set behind closed gates giving an immediate feeling of privacy and seclusion. There are three jacuzzis (sounds tacky but absolutely isn't) and two swimming pools, the main one of which overlooks the infinitely dramatic Mediterranean which is literally a stone's throw away and which can be accessed through a boathouse. Similarly, our room overlooked the Mediterranean and offered a room with a view to satisfy EM Forster or anyone else, for that matter. The room itself was modern in design with a traditional but hip twist, again, something that would not be out of place in a travel magazine. A set of drawers was decorated with what looked like the Gucci insignia (but lacking the lettering) and the shower gels etc were from Hermes and in this respect, VM offers access to the best parts of a designer label type lifestyle, rather than the worst or, indeed, anything in between. With this in mind, it might sound contrary that the room also had its own jacuzzi but, somehow, it just felt right; the elegance, the opulence, the luxury, the bubbles. I'd like to say I splashed out on the most expensive room in VM (this, the Baudelaire, was it) but in fact, the management generously gave my girlfriend and I a free upgrade, which is actually the reason I'm writing this, tit for tat et al.
The VM has no bar but it does have a restaurant and if you're staying in the aforementioned Baudelaire room (or a couple of others), it's literally down some stairs. Such proximity caused the slightly surreal event of my girlfriend and I dripping through the restaurant in our bath towels after an extended jacuzzi session on our first night but, apart from a couple of highly amused smokers, no-one batted an eyelid.
We booked a table on Saturday night for 8pm and opted for the 9 course degustation menu, asking the waiter to serve us with what he thought were appropriate wines. I'm not sure if the restaurant has a Michelin star but the chef does and, with my hand on my heart, I can truly say this was one of the best, if not the best meal I've ever had. My girlfriend felt similarly. After a couple of 'amuse-bouchons', we ended up having 11 courses. As I remember it these included: foie gras, parmesan risotto with truffle in it, lobster, John Dory, veal sweetbreads, a selection of local cheeses, pre-dessert and then a praline/chocolate mousse with a sesame seed snap with an amazing ginger ice cream wrapped within. We finished 4 and a half hours later, our palette blown to happy pieces.
This is a quiet, beautiful place where the whitewashed Arabic looking Villa (containing the restaurant and four of the rooms) stands proud and elegant over its beatific grounds. My girlfriend and I spent our time sunbathing, swimming, taking jacuzzis and saunas and contemplating the Mediterranean, listening to the hypnotic, rhythmic caress of its waves. The staff were generous, friendly, had character and genuinely seemed to enjoy their work. Together with this unique setting and superlative restaurant, the Villa Mauresque is one of the few places in the world where I'm genuinely happy to say offers a most fantastic 5*, 10 out of 10, 100% joyful experience. If you had any doubts about coming here, have them no more.
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- Also Known As:
- La Villa Mauresque Hotel