There are many reasons to holiday in the cobbled Provençal village of Mougins: world-class art, over 300 days of sunshine a year, and its proximity to glamorous Cannes, just a stone’s throw down the hillside. Let me add another to the list.
Five-star Relais & Châteaux spa hotel Le Mas Candille is about as close to heaven as the Côte d’Azur can get (and that’s pretty close). A five-minute walk downhill from Mougins proper and set in a nine-acre park of olive and cypress trees, the luxury hotel is divided between three living spaces. The Mas, the 18th-century former farmhouse, houses 19 uniquely decorated bedrooms, whilst a further 19 can be found in the Bastide building next door, each with their own balconies. Down a flight of stairs and past an 800-year-old olive tree is La Villa Candille, where six secluded suites offer their guests panoramic sunset views of the undulating valley below from their private terraces.
At Le Mas Candille, tranquillity is the prime concern. Just 10 minutes from Cannes, high-profile film industry players retreat here during the festival for some welcome anonymity, joined by others seeking glitz and shopping in Cannes by day, romantic seclusion and outdoor jacuzzis by night. The Michelin-starred restaurant Le Candille, headed by David Chauvac, boasts floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the lavender-clad hills that lead to nearby Grasse, and a patio for aperitifs at dusk. The service is as down-to-earth as it is attentive, happily matching the genuinely exquisite dishes crafted in Chauvac’s kitchen from local Mediterranean produce.
Then there’s the award-winning Shiseido Spa, which was the first of its kind in Europe when it opened in 2002. Start the day with a gentle workout in the semi-outdoor gym, whose treadmills overlook sweeping views, or swim against the tide in the hydrotherapy pool before sweating it out in the sauna or having a soak in one of two jacuzzis. The spa itself is a holistic haven of Japanese Zen, offering massages, facial and body treatments, as well as detoxifying teas and a serene relaxation room.
Spend your afternoons sunbathing around the Pergola infinity pool, overseen by an elegant sculpture by local artist Marion Bürklé, or in the hotel’s second pool hidden by a screen of trees casting dappled shade on turquoise water. The chic urban rhythm of Cannes and Nice may be just around the corner, but here silence reigns, with only the hum of cicadas and the tinkling of ice into cocktail glasses to disturb the peace. If you’re heading to the Côte d’Azur and want a real treat without a hint of pretention, this is your place – get ready for some serious downtime.
Prices for double rooms start at €305 in low season and €405 in high, and breakfast is charged at €29 per person. Visit www.lemascandille.co.uk for bookings and information.