The imagery of the French Riviera in its heyday, from the 1950s to 1970s, is as plentiful as it is spectacular. Much of it, thanks mainly to the slew of glamorous names who made it their summer bolthole, was captured at the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat.

The building itself, a pristine white structure shining among the deep green pine trees, is iconic enough; the galaxy of stars whose faces and hand-written ‘thank you’ notes adorn the corridors contains luminaries from across the arts.

No matter your taste in music, film, or politics, the chances are one of your heroes stayed here before you.

Why Stay Here?

The design of the property means that rooms look out onto a carpet of pine leading directly to the sea – walking up to that sight is simply breath-taking. The hotel is a little out of town, but it is within walking distance and the facilities on-site mean you won’t really have any need to leave.

In addition to the main building there is a beach club, Club Dauphin, just a stroll down the hill from breakfast, a lavish and extensive spa and fitness area – including lots of outside space so you can tan and train simultaneously – and a handful of private villas.

The heated seawater pool of Club Dauphin is perfect for summer afternoons. Sipping cocktails in a cabana while gazing at the Med, occasionally dipping in the water to combat the heat, makes for a very relaxing time indeed, but if you prefer a more active holiday there is a gate at the bottom with direct access to the seaside walkway – and steps into the sea itself

From there it’s about 25 minutes into Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, and its pretty harbour full of shops and restaurants, or the same in the opposite direction to the lighthouse with views across the bay.

Staying on the grounds for a couple of days is perfectly feasible, with plenty of space in the gardens to find solitude and relaxation. Some suites have their own pools; the villas have their own pools and gardens, so privacy is readily available for those who desire it.

Play tennis, play pétanque, swim, do yoga, read a book, or do nothing – whatever you choose to do and wherever you choose to do it, you will always have a view of the sea and the scent of the trees to accompany you. The sense of serenity, and distance from real life, really is extraordinary.

How’s the Food?

Main restaurant Le Cap holds one Michelin star for its take on classic Riviera cuisine. Plenty of fresh seafood (naturally) is on offer, and chef Yoric Tièche succeeds in maintaining the soul of local cooking while putting his own modern twist on things.

For a slightly less formal, but no less delicious, option La Véranda has a delightful setting under the trees and an all-day menu to suit any appetite. By the pool at Club Dauphin is a classic grill, perfect for lazy days in the sunshine. When the location is so close to the sea it is natural to take advantage of the produce drawn from it, and whichever of the Grand-Hôtel’s restaurants takes your fancy will do so spectacularly well.

What are the rooms like?

The variety of options here is more than most locations, but one they all have in common is the view. Either wing of the building, and all the villas, have sight of the ocean, and the west side has the added bonus of amazing views of the lighthouse in operation at night.

The option of having your own plunge pool on your terrace in which to cool off while watching the waves is an excellent addition, and if you go for the full privacy and luxury of a villa things really step up a gear. Up to five bedrooms; private entrances, pools and gardens; access to 24-hour staff and your own chef to make meals for you and your guests – these really are the height of Riviera luxury.

Trips to the Côte d’Azur are usually about escapism and rejuvenation. The whole Cap-Ferrat peninsula is quiet and discrete, and coming here signifies you want to escape the attention of the world and the demands it puts on you – just as the stars who escaped here before did. A sojourn at the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat will deliver exactly that: a prolonged moment of blissful disconnection. The only difficulty will be leaving.

Rooms from €690.