Thursday, 27 April 2017

La Reserve Hotel Spa & Villas - St Tropez

This week one of our fabulous South of France consultants, Rebekah, was invited to stay at the truly incredible La Reserve Hotel Spa and Villas in Ramatuelle, St Tropez.

After a rather dreary weekend in the UK, we couldn't wait to hear more about her trip in the sunshine!

"There is no better feeling than walking through Nice airport on a sunny Friday afternoon to be greeted by your very own private chauffeur. After collecting my bags and escorting me to a luxurious Mercedes-Benz, my weekend had officially begun and off to Ramatuelle I went!"

"After what seemed like a quick 1 hour 30 minute transfer, I arrived at the La Reserve Ramatuelle. I was guided into the main reception area of the hotel with a glass of champagne, soaking in the uninterrupted views of the sea whilst my bags were taken directly to the private villa."

"Arriving at the villa via the in-resort golf buggies, I was greeted by the private butler, Anne. Anne showed me around the stunning villa and helped me to settle in.

Once ready for dinner, we headed into the charming village of Ramatuelle via the in resort chauffeur service.

La Forge - the setting for the evening! A gorgeous Italian restaurant in the heart of the old village. Our chef came to our table and personally introduced himself before explaining the delicious set menu we were soon set to experience.

"Full to the brim, we were picked up and taken back to the villa to find the turn down service you would expect to receive from any 5* hotel."

"An idyllic start to the day with a mouth watering continental breakfast served at the hotel before heading back to the villa to enjoy the sunshine and, of course, the swimming pool!"

"Lunch was served by Anne and her ultra professional team and once again, the food was immaculate."

"Our group headed into St Tropez, again by the in-resort chauffeurs. The sun was beaming and the town and port were picture-perfect. We strolled around the port, browsing the boutiques and shops until it was time for something refreshing to sip."

"Club 55 - the perfect place for a glass of Rose!"

"Time to head back to the villa for our 5pm slot in the spa. We were collected and dropped off and what followed was a heavenly 50 minute deep tissue massage - I would highly recommend to everyone! This spa was possibly the best spa inside a hotel I've ever seen."

"Afterwards dinner at the La Voile, the Michelin star restaurant in the hotel, for another divine evening of fine cuisine, wine and good company."

"The next morning arrived and poolside Pilates was on the agenda! Our wonderful instructor, Benjamin, really put us through our paces."

"A well-earned brunch was served at the villa before our weekend drew to a close and we headed back to Nice airport for our return to the UK."

"All in all, a fantastic weekend spent at La Reserve Ramatuelle where you can experience the hotel, spa and restaurant from the security of a private villa. A highly recommended choice for anyone looking for 5* service."

Contact our South of France villa & apartment specialists today for a tailor-made villa experience:

+44 (0) 1244 62 99 63

Monday, 24 April 2017

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

June welcomes yet another international festival to the stunning region of Cannes. The Cannes International Festival of Creativity is a massive event designed to bring together advertising professionals to bring the recognition their work deserves. 

What is the Lions Festival all about?

Formerly known as the International Advertising Festival, this global event brings together professionals in the fields of communications and advertising.
It's known as the largest gathering of worldwide advertising experts and can include approximately 11,000 registered delegates from 90 different countries.
The 7 day long festivities are held at the Palais des Festivals et des Congres (the same venue as the Cannes Film Festival which was the inspiration) and takes place annually. 

Palais des Festivals et des Congres; the venue for Lions

Inspired by the Cannes Film Festival, a group of cinema screen advertising contractors, belonging to the Screen Advertising World Association, came together in the late 1940's and felt that the makers of advertising films should also be recognised for their creations.

In 1954, the first International Advertising Film Festival was held in Venice and featured 187 film entries from 14 countries.
The famous Lion trophy given to winners was inspired by the lion of the Piazza San Marco in Venice.

The elegant lion statue at the Piazza San Marco in Venice; the inspiration for the trophy

In the 1990's, a programme of learning was created in the form of seminars and workshops held throughout the event. From 2013, the programme featured around 130 sessions over the 7 days and included talks from big names such as photographer Annie Leibovitz, actor and musician, Jack Black and F1 driver, Jenson Button. 

Who judges the entries?

The managing director of the festival is Jose Papa, Terry Savage is the chairman of the festival and Philip Thomas is the chief executive officer of Ascential Events. 

Jose Papa; Managing Director of Lions Festival 
Philip Thomas; Chief Executive Officer of Ascential Events

Terry Savage; Chairman of the Lions Festival

Global experts are drawn to make up the juries to choose which pieces win which awards. 

What kind of categories are involved?

Submissions can include Film, Media, PR, Press, Creative Effectiveness, Design and lots more.
Other annual awards include Network of the Year, Agency of the Year, Media Person of the Year and more.
There's also the Lions equivalent of the Palme d'Or award for Best Production Company. 

The Young Lions Competitions

Established in 1995 and was previously known as the Young Creatives Competition. It is open to advertising professionals up to the age of 28 and their projects are managed in teams of two.

Lions Health

2012 saw a two day event established for creative communications in the healthcare, well-being and sustainability sectors. Running just before the main Lions festival, the event is two days long.

Lions 2017

This year is set to be another big year for professionals in the advertising industry. As always, the event draws in some fantastic personalities from various sectors and this year features actor Sir Ian McKellen, actress Gabourey Sidibe, creative director of Apple/Beats, Zane Lowe and speakers from Facebook including Sheryl Sandberg. 

Gabourey Sidibe; actress & director; speaking at Lions Festival 2017

Sir Ian McKellen; actor; speaking at Lions Festival 2017

Don't want to miss out on next year's event? Contact one of our expert South of France villa & apartment specialists today:
+44 (0) 1244 62 99 63

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Cannes Film Festival 2017

The History of the Cannes Film Festival

Held in one of the most beautiful locations in the world, the celebrations attract thousands of people whether they be actors and actresses at the top of their game or big name directors. The glitz and the glamour will definitely be arriving to the French Riviera on the 17th to the 28th of May. 


July 1938 - The 'Venice Mostra' was the first international film festival. It saw pre-war film producing countries gather together to show their creations. An American film was unanimously judged as the favourite but due to political tension, high pressure from Hitler and the various propaganda films, an Italian film won the highest accolade, 'The Mussolini Cup', instead.
This caused great outrage among the democratic countries. France, Great Britain and the USA all left the Mostra and vowed to never return. 

May 1939 - Feeling like a new festival needed to replace the Mostra, the town of Cannes and the government signaled the official establishment of the 'International Film Festival'.

June 1939 - The announcement of the International Film Festival is made in France to the media.

23rd August 1939 - The German-Soviet Pact was announced. Tourists fled from Cannes at a rapid pace and put all plans for the festival on hold. One film was privately screened.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame: privately screened in 1939

1st - 20th September 1939 - The first festival is initially scheduled to take place. All film-producing countries were invited to ease already high tensions, including Italy and Germany. Their invitation was declined.

1st September 1939 - Germany invaded Poland. The film festival was scheduled to start from this date but unfortunately never happened.

3rd September 1939 - World War II is declared.

20th Sept 1946 - The International Film Festival is launched and opened at the gardens of the Grand Hotel. An incredible atmosphere was enjoyed by all, including fireworks, fashion shows and music. Featuring 19 countries, big names in the industry were already showing their interest such as Walt Disney and Roberto Rossellini. 

1948 & 1950 - Events were cancelled due to the lack of funds.

Venice Mostra 1949

1950's - The festival's popularity soared thanks to names such as Grace Kelly, Brigette Bardot, Sophia Loren and Cary Grant all showing their interest.

Eternally beautiful Grace Kelly, 1955

1952 - The event was moved to the month of May where it has stayed ever since.

1956 - Six films were censored due to diplomatic events involving the Cold War.

1959 - The Culture Minister, Andre Malraux, became Head of Festival Organisation and had the responsibility of approving the selection of films sent in. He pushed for bolder and more politically charged films to be shown.
The Festival General Delegate, Robert Favre Le Bret, began travelling to broaden the selection of industry professionals involved in the event. This saw stars such as Sean Connery, Bette Davis and John Wayne attend. By allowing this to happen, the film industry was better promoted as a whole and encouraged more networking. 

Andre Malraux, Head of Festival Organisation

May 1968 - This year's festival was upstaged and disrupted due to the event becoming more of a forum for protests and meetings.

1971 & 1972 - Veteran actors, Charlie Chaplin & Groucho Marx, were tributed.

1972 - The Festival de Cannes became recognised as a public service.

1983 - The new building was completed for the ceremony named 'Palais des Festivals et des Congres'. 

The Palais de Festival et des Congres

1984 - The event began renewing its determination to seek out new talents and defend their freedom of expression. More diverse countries like India, China and Australia were featured and emerging directors such as Lars von Trier and Spike Lee shared their creations.

1987 - This year's event saw a controversial closing ceremony where the winner of the Palme d'or raised his first to the jeers of the public. 

Maurice Pialat - Winner of the Palme d'or 1987

1988 - The old site of the Film Festival, the Palais Croisette, is demolished.

1989 - Hundreds of directors are brought together for a major debate regarding the celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall as well as the anniversary of the Declaration of Human & Citizen's Right.

1990's - This decade included directors from all over the world including Africa and Asia.

1997 - The 50th anniversary saw all the Palme d'or winning directors gather on stage.

1998 - A category for short and medium length films was created. 

2000 - Young directors were invited to the event to polish up their screenplays and writing skills at the 'Residence'.
Gilles Jacob became the President of the Festival and introduced a new three-act opening ceremony.

Gilles Jacob: President of the Film Festival

2004 - 'Cannes Classics' was introduced and presented restored copies of older features. They also paid homages to the film making industries and documentaries.

2005 - A new organisation was created, 'Atelier', which helps 20 directors per year fund their projects.

2007 - This year marked the 60th anniversary. Thierry Fremaux was appointed as General Delegate.
33 of the world's greatest directors took the stage to present their 3 minute long feature on the theme of the cinema hall.

2010 - 'Cannes Court Metrage' was made to show global creativity in the short film sector.

2014 - Pierre Lescure was elected President of the Festival de Cannes, taking over from Gilles Jacob who took the title of Honorary President.

Pierre Lescure: President of the Festival de Cannes 2014

17th - 28th May 2017 
And this year is the 70th anniversary!
With so much to look forward to, it really is the biggest year yet. Italian actress, Monica Bellucci, will be hosting the opening and closing ceremonies and the event's gorgeous poster features actress, Claudia Cardinale. 
We can't wait to see the stars take to the red carpet and find out who wins the prestigious Palme d'or award this year. 

Monica Bellucci: Host of the opening & ceremonies 2017

Don't want to miss out on next year's event?
Why not speak to one of our French Riviera villa and apartment consultants today:

+44 (0) 1244 629963

Monday, 10 April 2017

The Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo

This week, we had the pleasure of finding out more about the truly incredible:

What's the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo all about?

This illustrious and beautifully imagined hotel is a spectacular gem on the Cote d'Azur. Blending a rich and interesting history with modern and contemporary style, the Hotel Metropole embodies the modern charm of Monte-Carlo with old school attraction.

Located in the Carre d'Or of the Principality, the property is just steps away from the luxury boutiques and the casino square. Built in 1886 and originally opened on land belonging to Pope Leon XIII, the building was soon in demand by international clientele who were seduced by the Belle Epoque style.

In 2004, the Hotel Metropole became distinguished and contemporary, keeping the emotional character it was known for whilst offering a luxurious and modern atmosphere in its new identity. Combining the rich heritage with Mediterranean vibes, this remarkable building's decor emphasises the level of service proposed.

The concept of the hotel is to really focus on the human senses, our emotions and our dreams. The decor and architecture is a mixture of classical and timeless with a touch of modernism to really progress the property's fashionable and elegance.
Offering complete luxury, relaxation and intimacy, the hotel is closer to an independent house and due to it's dynamic and creative character, it is recognised as a reference point among international luxury hotels, further emphasised by the hotel's win of the coveted award of Best Hotel in the World 2010.

Every season, this glamorous hotel changes the decor and interiors. Each theme is tuned to play on all of your senses, not just your sight. Guests will enjoy a different and original ambiance with every stay and this contributes to the hotel's unmistakable character.

An arty spring theme with gorgeous purple and green bunnies!

This theme, aptly titled Love Is In The Air, transformed the decor to prepare for Prince Albert's wedding and showcased one of the most established French couture brands: Lanvin. 

Christmas at the Metropole Monte-Carlo make a big celebration of Christmas and this particular theme brought in a red, white and blue British theme after an exciting year.

What are the hotel's suites and rooms like?
In keeping with the rest of the building's luxurious interiors, the Metropole's rooms and suites are equally as beautiful. All feature some of the most stunning views of the surroundings whilst keeping the privacy and intimacy needed for an utterly relaxing retreat. 

The Prestige Suites; located on the top floor of the hotel and provide spacious and comfortable living space. Beautifully decorated en-suite bedrooms also include walk-in wardrobes as well as a large terrace with private sun loungers. 

The Azur Suite; With large bay windows and amazing views of the casino gardens and the Monaco Grand Prix circuit, this suite is the primary choice for all Grand Prix fans.

The Carre d'Or Suite; The 150 square metre apartment is as spacious as it is glamorous. Containing a large bedroom, walk in wardrobe and magnificent marble and gold bathroom, the suite can't be described as anything but sophisticated chic. The 110 square metre terrace features unrivalled views of Casino de Monte Carlo, the sea and the gardens. 

Will I be able to find fine cuisine at the Hotel Metropole?
Incredible gastronomy is a massive part of what the Hotel Metropole has to offer. The world's most Michelin-starred chef, Joel Robuchon, has an integral influence in the building and in partnership with head chef, Christophe Cussac has created some magical menus to indulge in. 2 Michelin-star, Joel Robuchon Monte-Carlo, is the main restaurant of the hotel and features fine and sophisticated cuisine that focuses on the produce. Yoshi, a 1 star Japanese restaurant, provides incredible healthy and modern food. The restaurant room includes a stunning sushi bar and opens onto a Japanese inspired garden, created by landscape artist Jacques Messin. 

Joel Robuchon: the world's most Michelin-starred chef, 'Cook of the Century' and winner of 'Best Restaurant in the World'.  

Yoshi: Joel Robuchon's first Japanese restaurant, working closely with chef, Takeo Yamazaki

The bar and lobby also feature a warm and lively space to sit, eat, drink, read and meet with friends. The musical ambience is created by sound designer, Beatrice Ardisson and is inspired by the mix of 1950's music with contemporary styles. The lobby also features the only chocolate bar on the Cote d'Azur and is treated with as much respect as fine wines. 

And finally, the enticing Odyssey created by King of Fashion, Karl Lagerfeld. Featuring an idyllic heated seawater swimming pool and beach area with sun loungers, luscious gardens and a sun deck. This incredible space also includes Joel Robuchon's third restaurant in the hotel which along with the al fresco dining offers seasonal dishes to tingle your taste buds. This little haven of peace is exclusive to the hotel guests and 'Odyssey' members of the Metropole espa. 

King of Fashion: Karl Lagerfeld

Can I find a spa or any well-being facilities at the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo?

Hotel Metropole features some sublime well-being treatments and facilities on its grounds. Along with the aforementioned Odyssey, the Metropole Espa offers total relaxation, peace and tranquility. Combining modern techniques with ancestral therapies from around the world, the spa brings a fully personalised experience as well as using the finest of natural skin care products. 

A fully equipped fitness studio is also at hand to help burn off any extra calories and work up a sweat!

Marc Raquil: World Athletic Champion and ultimate personal trainer is on hand to help with fitness tips and training

A new and exciting feature to the well-being facilities provided at the Hotel Metropole is their recent collaboration with renowned designer, Givenchy. A truly lavish array of treatments and products to try, you will be guaranteed to be looking and feeling gorgeous!

Spa Metropole by Givenchy: A dedicated and luxurious setting dedicated to your well-being. Opening 12th of April 2017...

Can I hold events at the Hotel Metropole?

The Hotel Metropole features some beautiful, spacious rooms perfect for any event, banquet or convention. The Meditteranean Room is elegant and large, boasting sea and garden views whilst Les Salons Homere, Penelope et Ulysee combine light, technology and comfort and can be used seperately or together. 
The Theatre and Foyer is located in the centre of the hotel and can be customised for any event needed. At 126 square metres and sound proof, the room is spacious enough for large meetings without feeling cramped and stuffy. It also has the added bonus of opening onto a foyer, ideal for smaller groups.

What's near the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo?

Firstly, the nightlife of Monaco is just as spectacular, buzzing and animated as the city is during the day. With an amazing selection of international shows, bars, restaurants and casinos, Monaco will not disappoint or bore you!

Shopping is also a massive part of Monaco's allure with it being one of the main international capitals of luxury retail.

The Carre d'Or includes some of fashion's most prestigious names including Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Lanvin. 

Jewellery stores line the streets and include names such as Cartier, Bvlgari and Chopard. If you're more into art, there are many antique dealers and interior designers who's works will astound you.

The Monte Carlo Pavilions is a large shopping promenade bringing forty plus stores and is located between the avenue de la Costa and the Place du Casino. The Metropole Shopping Centre has a further eighty stores and is located in the commercial gallery of the hotel.

What is the culture like in Monaco?

When you need a break from the retail therapy, the culture of the city exceeds expectations. Countless famous monuments and museums of the Principality; the Palace, the Cathedral, the National Museum and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco are all highlights and need to be seen to be believed.

 The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco: The Temple of the Sea

The Prince's Palace of Monaco

The Monte Carlo Opera offers virtuoso art with productions featuring choirs of 120 singers, dancers and extras. The Ballet is also a wonderful slice of Monaco's culture spanning a century of history within dance. Director and choreographer, Jean-Christophe Maillot, creates dramatic and unforgettable productions with some truly talented and mesmerizing dancers. 

Any sporting events?
Monaco is host to some of the world's biggest annual sporting events including the Monaco Yacht Show, the Monte Carlo Rolex Tennis Masters and, of course, the Formula 1 Grand Prix in May.

Just For You

The Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo has created a selection of unforgettable and unique experiences for you to try with family and friends. These bespoke and exclusive leisure activities are unrivaled in terms of their creativity and you won't find anything close.

For foodies and potential wine connoisseurs, 'A Chateau in Provence' gives you the chance to visit the domain of Le Clos des Roses and taste a variety of fine wines. 'Pick Up Your Stick' sees you indulge in a selection of the finest Meditteranean fish and exceptional wines and champagne as well as an exclusive class with the chef, Takeo Yamakazi himself.
'Little Chefs' gives the kids a chance at cooking with head pastry chef, Patrick Mesiano, opening the doors to 6-10 year olds for a day of cupcake making and decorating their own chocolate eggs. At the end of that, they also get their own aprons and can take their culinary creations with them.

If you're itching to look into the more cultural side of Monaco, 'Following the Footsteps of Grace Kelly' is sure to satisfy. Retrace the steps of Princess Grace, following an itinerary of iconic locations such as the Monaco Cathedral and la Roseraie.
'Discovering the Principality' gives you an authentic immersion of the lifestyle and culture of Monaco. A professional local guide will take you on a walking tour of the Principality as well as lunch at Les Perles de Monte-Carlo.

A behind the scenes, exclusive tour of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo where you can sit in on a class, see the costume department and have a peek at the backstage areas of this famous dance group.

If you wish to see the sights from a different perspective then you can 'Fly Over the Mont-Blanc'. This experience will take you over the highest summit in Western Europe, ending up on the roof of Mont-Blanc in a two hour bespoke helicopter flight! You can also see 'Earth From Above', again an absolutely mind-blowing chance at seeing the mountainous panorama that this part of the world offers all the way up in a hot air balloon.
A more down to earth experience is provided with 'The Sleigh Ride Adventure'; a spectacular 11 dog sleigh on the protected side of the Mercantour National Park which makes the ideal excursion for any nature or animal lover.

The Hotel Metropole offers yet more exciting and wild ideas for memorable experiences on your Monaco break.
Being famous for the annual Monaco Grand Prix, 'Get Dizzy With Speed' gives you the opportunity to be a real racing driver for the day. You can experience the buzzing emotions of the Formula 1 champions on the circuit of Luc in Provence.
If that doesn't take your fancy then there's always the chance to be James Bond for the day..the 'Goldeneye Experience' provides you with a private visit to the Monte-Carlo Casino and a ride in a helicopter before stopping at Yoshi for lunch. Then discover the beauty of the French Riviera in a top of the range Aston Martin before enjoying an evening of couples' massages and a candelit dinner. Not to forget your very own James Bond Martini to sample!

To top that off, if you've ever thought about a truly unique, once in a lifetime experience, you can get married...underwater!
Quadruple free-diving winner, Pierre Frolla invites you to the famous Larvotto Beach where each individual detail is handled to make your big day extra memorable. The ceremony takes place under the water, including the altar and continues back on shore with cocktails and lunch with everything filmed and returned to you to watch whenever you feel!

The spectacular and individual Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo really does have to be seen to be believed!