24 hours in a Palace: The Château de la Messardière

From the top of its hill, the Château de la Messardière shines out over Saint-Tropez and the Côte d’Azur below.

This historic stately home is now the largest 5-star hotel in the Var region, was officially awarded ‘Palace’ status in 2012, and welcomes its guests between April and October in a green oasis overlooking the Mediterranean. Set in 10 hectares of pine forest, the hotel is a haven of quietude only three minutes from the legendary Pampelonne beaches.

10 am: Make the gentle climb to the estate

The small winding road climbs between garrigue scrubland and olive trees against the blue backdrop of the sea. Pass through the majestic gates and into the long avenue that leads to the heart of the estate. This Mediterranean garden, where pine trees, mimosas, cypresses, palms and box infuse the air with their subtle fragrance, is a paradise for the region’s bird life. Did you know? The Château de la Messardière is the only hotel in France to be designated as an official reserve by the LPO (the French equivalent of the RSPB).

11 am: My beautiful château!

Turrets and domes, vaulted roofs and colonnades… The Château de la Messardière is an authentic 19th century manor house tastefully restored and extended in 1989. The building retains its period charm, and its traditional Provencal ochre walls catch the light magnificently to create a wonderful contrast with the azure blue of the sky.

Midday: A room with a view

This is one of those places where you feel immediately in tune with your surroundings. Whether in the main château or elsewhere in the grounds, all 57 suites and 60 rooms are real havens of peace. Each has its own private terrace or garden. All of which promises many magical moments, because what better way could there be of starting the day than with breakfast with such a view in a soundscape of cicadas!

1 pm: Lunch alfresco

Why not? With 300 days of sun per year, the Var region is an open invitation to lunch on the terrace. A short stroll from the splendid mirror pool and its view over the Bay of Saint-Tropez, the food served by the well-named ‘A Ciel Ouvert’ restaurant is as spectacular as the panorama.

3 pm: Take it all in

To the east lie Cannes and its croisette, Nice and its promenade, Monaco and its casino. To the west, Aix-en-Provence, the cliffs of Cassis and the city of Marseille. And then, further inland, the Haut-Var, the Verdon Gorges, Le Thoronet Abbey... Every day brings a new discovery and a new walk in the surrounding area. This is also a wonderful place to while away the hours exploring the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, the vineyards of Ramatuelle and the beaches of Pampelonne below.

5 pm: The irresistible urge to swim

Sun beds and white parasols, sofas and generous armchairs extend an irresistible invitation to relax by the pool. And there’s no hesitation! The swimming will be divine in this large 24-metre by 12-metre pool heated to 28°C all season. From the sunbathing terrace with its bird’s eye view over the deep blue of the Mediterranean, it’s easy to feel that you’re floating. For even more chill-out time, the private Tropezina Beach below offers 5 kilometres of golden sand.

9 pm: Dine in the fragrance of the acacia trees

Decorative arts, Art Nouveau, pieces inspired by Venice and Florence, contemporary design… L’Acacia, the Château de la Messardière gourmet restaurant, has taken infinite care over its decorative style. In the kitchen, Chef Bilal Amrani focuses his skills on lightness and authenticity. His supremely sophisticated cuisine includes recipes designed to showcase the honey produced by the estate’s bees and local olive oil.

10 am: To the spa for a beautiful finish

It has its regulars, and it doesn’t take long to see why. Bathed in natural daylight with views over a magnificent Italian garden, the Château de la Messardière spa conveys a delicious feeling of wellbeing the moment you enter it. This Temple to relaxation has its own pool, fitness studio and treatment/massage rooms. Valmont, Cinq Monde and Kos are its partner brands, so there’s no doubt that here, you’re in good hands.

Getting to the French Riviera