Blue skies and yacht-dotted seas form Tiara Yaktsa’s iconic Riviera backdrop, but inside its rosewater-perfumed halls, there’s an earthy Moroccan theme, captured in forged metal, carved wood and terracotta tiles. The gems in this tiara are the gorgeous gardens, the elegant restaurant, and staff who’ll welcome you like family.
Get this when you book through us:
A glass of champagne on arrival for BlackSmith members, a bottle for SilverSmith and GoldSmiths
Noon, but flexible subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £199.47 (€230), including tax at 12.5 per cent.
Rates include breakfast.
The hotel can organise yoga, pilates and personal training.
At the hotel
Gardens, gym, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, a selection of CDs and a minibar.
Our favourite rooms
Junior Sea View suites have plenty of space, including a seating area with a sofa and a terrace with sweeping vistas of the Med. Room 24 is top notch: the room itself is light, airy and romantic.
The turquoise infinity pool is large enough for laps, and has dazzling views of the sea. The Jacuzzi is a short hop away, and there are Balinese beds and a clutch of sunloungers.
The hotel only has one treatment room, so book in advance to enjoy personalised massages with Sothys products. If you're after more extensive pampering, pop over to the spa at sister property, Tiara Miramar Beach Hotel & Spa where you'll find a sauna (reservation required) and relaxation room. There are four treatment rooms, including one for couples.
Bring your yacht (or if that’s yet to materialise, binoculars to spy on the biggest boat on the waters); deck shoes and high heels for stylish exploring; wads of spending money.
The obvious rules apply: outside on the terrace if the weather’s clement; sea-facing by the French doors if not.
Relaxed linens with an ochre shirt or chunky tribal necklace, in a nod to the hotel’s Moorish influence.
The Michelin-starred L’Or Bleu is an airy, uncluttered space where sea views take central stage – the tables and chairs are positioned around the glass front, which opens onto a terrace and gardens. The menu, like the hotel, blends Mediterranean and exotic influences: a Thai-style dish of roasted quails, with sweet potato and noodles, is typical of the chef’s artful muddling.
The hotel doesn’t have a bar area, but there are plenty of spots to choose from: cosy sofas just off the restaurant, the Zen Garden with stone tables and seating, out on one of the many terraces, the linen-dressed Balinese beds or the privacy of your room.
The last mojito is mixed at midnight. Breakfast is served between 7.30am–10.30am; lunch is noon–2pm, and dinner is 7pm–10pm.
Restaurant offerings feature on the 24-hour room service menu, along with salads and light snacks.
Nice airport is 45 km away, and is served by most of the main carriers, including Ryanair (www.ryanair.com).
Théoule-sur-Mer station is 4km from the hotel, connecting to Nice and Cannes (www.sncf.com).
The drive from Cannes takes 20 minutes. The hotel has free parking for guests.
Worth getting out of bed for
Go label-hunting on La Croisette, and keep a look-out for celebrities and supermodels. Head to Saint-Honorat and Sainte-Marguerite and catch the sun in the isles’ little coves, or seek shade in the perfumed pine forests. Nice is an hour’s drive away. Sample socca (a traditional chickpea pancake) while you’re there, but be sure to head for a café specialising in the dish, to avoid pale imitations. Be sure to admire the blooms at the famous daily flower market, in the Cours Saleya (on Mondays, there are also stalls stocked with vintage treasures). Make the drive to Saint-Paul de Vence and eat amid the art at La Columbe d’Or. Along with paintings by Miró, Picasso, Léger and co, this grand hotel has a very talented chef – lunch on the terrace is memorably magnificent.
Tiara Yaktsa’s sister property, the Miramar Beach Hotel has two restaurants: MoYa is a casual summer eatery with direct access to the beach; and Bistro M boasts refined cuisine and palm-tree-studded surroundings. Astoux et Brun serves the freshest fish in town in relaxed brasserie-style space. There are two outposts; Rue Félix Faure and 2 rue Louis Blanc. Take the road towards Théoule-sur-Mer from the hotel and you'll come across L'Air du Temps, an enviably placed eatery which overlooks the Bay of Cannes and serves elegant French fare: foie gras ravioli and fruits de mer feuillettes. In nearby La Napoule, L'Oasis serves Michelin-starred Mediterranean cuisine, under the trees in their pretty winter garden.
Sit at Caffé Roma, near the Palais des Festivals on Square Mérimée, and watch the well-heeled world go by. Stay put for juicy steak bavette or fritto misto if you’re feeling peckish.
Mr Smith and I are on the Côte d’Azur, being peeping Toms. It’s a pitch-black night, waves whisper in the distance, and below us, Tiara Yaktsa’s pool is a milky green lozenge. A couple cling together in the water, slick like seals. We watch them from our terrace, hear the soft murmur of their voices and the girl’s low laughter. We can almost feel their goose bumps on our skin. I admit it – I’m jealous – but after tonight’s feast in Tiara’s restaurant (golden discs of socca, fat scallops, butter-soft sea-bass, white chocolate mousse as light as lace) we'd sink like bricks.
Anyhow, it makes a change to be decent and on dry land; since arriving in the South of France, we've spent more time in swimwear than in civilian attire, more time naked than in bikini and beach shorts (the real mark of a good holiday). We're not alone in this Edenic state of undress; a couple checked-in five minutes after us, 10 minutes later, our new neighbour strolled out onto his patio wearing just boxers and a grin.
So we settle for sitting out on our balcony, counting the night's smells: cigarette smoke, saltwater, pine trees and, somewhat improbably, strawberries. We’re in agreement – this hotel is as sensuous as a geisha: corridors scented with rosewater, dark wood bed posts adorned with trailing tresses of diaphanous silk, tissue-wrapped fruit jellies gracing pillows at turn-down, a sea-facing pool accessorized with a Jacuzzi, bright white Balinese beds and lush green gardens, and the dazzling Med to be admired from every viewpoint.
Just a day into our Riviera retreat, we’ve already shed our city selves like snakes discarding former skins. Since leaving our taxi – manned, fittingly, given Cannes’ A-list credentials, by a driver who looks like George Clooney: tanned, clean-shaven, laced with cologne, crisp in a powder blue shirt (though his penchant for toe-curlingly filthy hip hop is less alluring) – we’ve been completely coddled and cosseted. It seems that all the holiday’s drama was spent in our mid-storm, lightning-clapped arrival (not that we got damp – a suit-clad concierge darted out as quick as a fish, marquee-sized umbrella in hand). Chilled glasses of champagne and a first-name welcome injected sunshine to our arrival; the rainbow came courtesy of manager Régis, who handed me a spray of muguet – lily of the valley – moments after our introduction. (Not an unexpected declaration of love – we arrived on May Day, when it’s customary to give ladies the fragrant flower.)
Back on our balcony, Mr Smith breaks the peace with an elephantine yawn, and I follow suit. Suddenly we’re sleepy. Our envy of the canoodling couple melts away as we head to bed. Who needs liquid lust when a silk-soft duvet, firm mattress and sexy lighting courtesy of silver filigree lamps awaits? (Did I mention the hotel’s Moroccan influence? Tiara Yaktsa has more than a whiff of the Medina about it: walls are hung with North African necklaces, and warmed with spice-rack colours.)
Sunshine wakes us; but we don’t acknowledge it, dozing and dawdling under the sheets with that luxurious idleness that holidaymakers cross continents for. We’d linger longer, but a knock at the door heralds the arrival of breakfast: sausages, bacon, grilled vegetables, slender toast, pastries, jewel-bright jams, pulpy orange juice and steaming coffee. So far, there’s no rain to be seen, just a grey-tinged sky that makes the slate-green ocean and dark hills moody and magnificent. It’s time to go yacht spotting, so Mr Smith dons his deck shoes, I check my bag for lipstick, scent and sunglasses, and we pile into our hire car, a nifty Mercedes.
The morning passes in a blur of heady nautical lust. We wander down jetties, eye up stylish starboards and polished poops, discuss boat names with the gravity of potential parents and break for moules marinière and crisp rosé. Post-lunch, I have dates with some big names on La Croisette and soon I’m pressed up against Chanel’s window. Bouclé dresses in black and white, strands of pearls longer than a mermaid’s mane, ballet pumps stamped with the iconic gold CC and a midnight-blue swimming costume have me in their clutch, powerless to resist. Thankfully, my credit card is equally powerless, and Mr Smith prises me away with the promise of a citron pressé. We’re off again; admiring the unfurling of the red carpet at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, the socialites sipping tea in the gardens of Hôtel Splendid, and the glamorous locals (monsieurs sporting slacks in hues of violet, rose, rouge and yellow; les dames adorned with beehives the size of poodles).
Lou Reed sang about a perfect day; here in Cannes, we’re living the perfect day. Later on, as darkness falls, we come across a singer and her set playing in the bandstand at Allées de la Liberté. Couples waltz across the pale stone like ground-bound moths; across the corner, Astoux & Brun’s neon-lit seafood restaurant buzzes: happy diners feasting; droll waiters doubling up as fishmongers, serenading fresh seafood lovingly displayed on hunks of glittering ice. People smoke cigarillos outside the bistros and tourists wander by, inhaling Cannes’ inimitable magic.
It’s hard for a hotel to compete with such seductive scenes, but it’s late, and boutique base camp beckons.‘Where’s your bikini?’ asks Mr Smith. ‘I fancy a pre-sleep dip.’ I peel back the straps of my dress to reveal a flash of emerald swimwear. Hand in hand, we stroll towards a moonlit pool, a dreamy restaurant and a room with romance.