Article first published in Forbes Monaco March 2022/ April 22.
The sky is the limit at the Maybourne Riviera Hotel.
There’s something to be said for that old real estate adage, “location, location, location,” but that’s just part of the allure of the Hotel Maybourne Riviera, perched in the heights of Roquebrune-Cap- Martin. The latest dazzling newcomer to the Côte d’Azur luxury landscape, you can hardly miss this sleek Jean- Michel Wilmotte-designed block of white concrete and glass jutting out over the edge of the cliff on the Grande Corniche. Situated only a few kilometers east of La Turbie (often obscured in a whitewash of fog), the dining experience at the Riviera Restaurant comes with glorious plunging views of sea and sky that extend from Italy to Monaco to Antibes and the mauve backcountry foothills. On a clear day, you may also catch a glimpse of the snow-capped mountains of Corsica, off in the distance.
Formerly the Vista Palace, the longtime abandoned site was acquired in 2018 by Irish real estate magnate Paddy Mc Killen (a co-investor of the Maybourne Group, owned by the Qatari Royal Family, which includes Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley in London, and The Maybourne Beverly Hills). McKillen, who has a family home on the Cap Ferrat, says that he has always had a particular affinity for this part of the Côte d’Azur; with the Maybourne Riviera, a new kind of eco-friendly innovative contemporary resort, fine cuisine also comes with a unique combination of museum quality art and bespoke design, an ultra-professional staff and an unpretentious atmosphere.
Now after his successful venture in Provence at Château La Coste near Aix-en-Provence (a wine estate and contemporary arts center that includes a five-star hotel and spa, plus a choice of top-notch restaurants) McKillen has teamed up with Menton-based Argentinian supernova chef, Mauro Colagreco (Mirazur, ranked Best Restaurant in the World in 2019), known for his commitment to the finest and freshest locally sourced Ligurian, Corsican and Riviera-grown products.
Casually elegant, affordable and stupendously stylish (think curvy lines and powdery blue pastel furnishings by designer Bryan O’Sullivan), the glassed-in Riviera Restaurant and its outdoor dining terrace are set back behind the luminous modernist-style hotel lobby. Start with an aperitif at the bar, where you’ll find everything from a healthy citrus green tea kombucha to a Negroni infused with Provencal herbs.
You may be inclined to linger over your drink and watch the spectacle of cruising yachts, paragliders and scudding clouds, which is perfectly in sync with the spirit of the place. And fortunately, this is one of the few local lunchtime spots that is also open all day. For those on a tight weekday work schedule, there is a terrific fixed price 3-course lunch for €60, served from 12 to 2:30 p.m.
Expect an everchanging medley of lovingly executed dishes that reflect executive chef Colegreco’s own affection for flavor-packed organic seasonal vegetables and Mediterranean seafood (upstairs, his rooftop gastronomic restaurant, Ceto, is a multi-course and unforgettable tasting experience). In contrast, the Riviera Restaurant is an inspired delicious take on regional dishes: starters include a creamy Burrata from Puglia in a bed of candied carrots, citrus coriander, raisins pistachios, cold ratatouille, or an original twist on Ligurian trofies pasta with spicy broccoletti flowers and shellfish. Main dishes range from freshly caught fish served with purple artichokes, zucchini, tomatoes and capers; there’s also cockerel in a tangy mustard and rosemary-spiked sauce or a filet of beef simmered with olives, raisins, served with panisse fries.
Executive pastry chef Benoît Dutreige is a wizard with featherlight tropeziennes jazzed up with raspberries, lychees or spiced tangerines; other tantalizing options are Colagreco’s signature Menton lemon tart and the mouthwatering Citrus Pavlova with light vanilla cream and orange sorbet. The extensive wine list features an impressive mix of Italian and French vintages, including the award-winning biodynamic wines from Château La Coste.
Have coffee on the paved terrace with a sweeping vista of the Italian coastline or walk off your meal with a stroll on the hotel’s botanical walkway. Coming soon: the arrival of global super chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and renowned Japanese chef Hiro Sato for two new Maybourne Riviera eateries with a lofty top-of-the-world view of Monaco.