- Villa Gallici (Aix-en-Provence, Provence; www.villagallici.com; tel. 04-42-23-29-23): The first hotel in Aix-en-Provence to be awarded five stars is an impossibly romantic 19th-century villa set within lush gardens around an inviting swimming pool. The elegance of the 18th century has been recreated in sumptuous style, and dinner by candlelight under the plane trees is not to be missed.
- Four Seasons Provence at Terre Blanche (Tourrettes, Western Côte; www.fourseasons.com/provence; tel. 04-94-39-90-00): Not one but two 18-hole golf courses grace this plush resort in the Var countryside near Fayence. Nothing here is modest. The hotel offers suites which can accommodate four to eight guests each, and are spread around the landscaped grounds in terra-cotta villas. There are five summertime restaurants and a luxurious health club and spa boasting no fewer than three pools.
- Château de la Messardière (St-Tropez, Western Côte; www.messardiere.com; tel. 04-94-56-76-00): This fairy-tale 19th-century turreted château transports you to the Loire. The best feature of this five-star hotel is the magnificent view from the terrace through umbrella pines towards the Ramatuelle coastline. You can browse art exhibitions in the hotel gallery, or lie back and enjoy the La Prairie and Cinq Mondes spa.
- Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc (Cap d'Antibes, French Riviera; www.hotel-du-cap-eden-roc.com; tel. 04-93-61-39-01): Looming large in F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night, this is the most stylish of the Côte's palaces, standing at the tip of the Cap d'Antibes peninsula in its own manicured garden. The hotel reflects the opulence of a bygone era and has catered to the rich and famous since it opened in 1870.
- Palais de la Méditerranée (Nice, French Riviera; www.palais.concorde-hotels.com; tel. 04-92-14-77-00): Since its reopening in 2004, this Art Deco palace has knocked its competitor Hôtel Negresco sideways. Josephine Baker performed at the hotel's theater in its heyday in nothing but a pair of high heels and a skirt of bananas. The theater is gone, but the casino has been restored to its 1930s splendor. Contemporary bedrooms are outfitted with luxurious extras from iPod docks to espresso coffee machines.
- Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat (St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, French Riviera; www.grand-hotel-cap-ferrat.com; tel. 04-93-76-50-50): The Grand Hôtel, built in 1908, competes with the Hôtel du Cap-Eden Roc as the Riviera's most opulent. Set in a well-manicured garden, it was once a winter haven for royalty. This pocket of posh has it all, including a private beach club with a heated seawater pool and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Following an extensive refurbishment, this hotel has become the first hotel in southern France to receive the coveted Palace label.
- Hostellerie du Château de la Chèvre d'Or (Eze, French Riviera; www.chevredor.com; tel. 04-92-10-66-66): In striking contrast to the palaces above, this gem lies in a medieval village 396m (1,300 ft.) above sea level. All its elegant rooms in this artistically converted medieval château open onto vistas of the Mediterranean. Everything here has a refreshingly rustic appeal rather than false glitter.
- Hôtel de Paris (Monte Carlo, Monaco, French Riviera; www.hoteldeparismontecarlo.com; tel. 377-98-06-30-00): The 19th-century aristocracy flocked here, and though Onassis, Sinatra, and Churchill long ago checked out, today's movers and shakers still pull up in limousines. This luxury palace houses two restaurants, the more celebrated of which is Alain Ducasse's Le Louis XV, the only restaurant in the region with three stars. Le Grill showcases Ligurian-Niçois cooking, a retractable roof, and a wraparound view of the sea.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.