The resort town, or commune, of Antibes is probably best known as one of high society’s original summer retreats. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Picasso, Marlene Dietrich, and Scott Fitzgerald were all enamoured by the Jewel of the Cote d’Azur, located half way between Nice and Cannes.
In the 1930s, the Antibes region and, more specifically, Juan-Les-Pins was regarded as a bolthole for the international jet-set, casinos, nightclubs and white beaches stretching out as far as your monocle could see. Some 80 years later, and whilst the former lodgings of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Chateau la Croe, has like many regency buildings, fallen to the Oligarch, Juan-Les-Pans has retained much of its charm.
We arrived on a sunny June afternoon and were welcomed to the Villa Sandryon with a large glass of chilled rosé and a selection of canapés. They know me well.
The sun-drenched roof terrace looked out across the bay towards the infamous Eden Rock Hotel, on the tip of the cap. Orange terracotta roofs and palm trees framed the glistening Mediterranean Sea, as John Barry played in the background. The villa is just 200 meters from the waterside, down the private access road. As we weren’t quite willing to venture down to the well-stocked kitchen to cook, we made use of the rooftop’s fully-fitted outdoor kitchen. The property benefits from three kitchens in total and is well-geared towards entertaining guests and family.
I always feel that good interior design should put you at rest and not impede your experience. That is to say, it should welcome you and make you feel like it could be your own home. The furnishings and style of the Villa Sandryon are a luxurious blend of regency architecture in the communal areas and bedrooms, and a subtle French farmhouse regency blend in the kitchen. The property has obviously been styled by an expert with a keen eye for design and relaxation.
Within the space of about 24 hours at the villa, we had acclimatised to the Cote d’Azur: summer dresses were flitting around the place, pastel chinos and striped shirts were the order of the day. My reclusive white jacket even made an appearance, an item I acquired and used to regally wear in the UK when my sensibilities were a little more brazen. There is no better place for outlandish nautical fashion accessories than Juan Les Pins.
Later that night, having spent several hours on the roof and then the poolside dining area, we ventured up to another of the villa’s terraces for a well-deserved soak in the jacuzzi, and a spot of drying out in the sauna. It would appear that the villa really did have all the creature comforts one could want for.
Its five bedrooms comprise two first-floor doubles with en-suite, two second floor doubles with a large balcony, and a master suite with a bathroom that leads into a fully-stocked gym and private terrace. No wonder people escape to the Cap. I could see myself drying out here in the future, should I ever need to.
The following morning, I was charged with driving into town to pick up petit dejeuner. Rather than use the DB9 and spend an age trying to park, I decided to use the property’s smart car. That’s right – if you prefer, the villa comes stocked with a Mini Cooper convertible, scooter and smart car. Trust me, parking is at a premium and so better you use something bijou and save the Aston for travelling to the casino or supper.
Minutes later, breakfast was served on the roof terrace. Silence fell over the group a few times, perhaps because of the lack of coffee, but in my opinion, it was because of the sheer beauty of the property and its surroundings. The shaded and landscaped gardens provided a certain tranquillity I doubt any of our group had seen for some time.
The Villa Sandryon not only provided us with breathtaking lodgings during our stay, but also a location with which to enjoy the entire length and breadth of the Cote d’Azur, in unmatched sumptuous luxury.