Since I visit quite a few hotels (but don’t review them all), I will do a break-down of the ones I do review. Hope this will prove handy for future readers.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION AND LOCATION:
Near the touristic but nevertheless beautiful town of Saint-Paul-de-Vence and merely 20-30 min from the airport you’ll find Le Hameau. You are still near Nice and the busy coastline, but suddenly all the crowding is gone, changed to peace and quiet. You can even drive your car without getting stuck in a bouchon (queue) - which otherwise is a daily experience if you stay down by the sea. Hameau is a french word meaning a gathering of houses without a church. The hotel Le Hameau is just that on a small scale: several little buildings with individual touch makes up a small ”hotel village”. Some buildings houses only one hotel room. The style is typical south french and provençale giving a pittoresque and ”cosy” feeling. Views are beautiful overlooking the valley with the Mediterranean visible in the distance. The hameau is completely secluded from the road beneath and from neighbors. Nearest neighbor is the hotel "Villa St Maxime", which actually offers even a better, at least a more vast, view of the valley and St Paul. Villa Maxime has some similarities with the Hameau but has a totally different modern architecture and style. That is another matter - see numerous reviews here on TA.
Positioned more or less directly on the Route de la Colle leading up to Saint-Paul it is still easy to find with large signs on the road when you see and approach Saint-Paul. Gated private parking with generous space makes parking easy and convenient. It is also possible to go by bus from Nice (number 400 I think - info available on the net) even though you will appreciate having a car to get around the area.
Check in is without problem. The management is very kind and waits for you if you have a late arrival. You are guided to your room which may be on a different level, so if you have a physical condition or handicap please note that the whole area has many height levels and some stairs to climb.
The rooms differ in size and standard - the individuality is part of the charm. My room was a bit ”up the hill” with a fairly large balcony overlooking the valley and seating at least two persons. Everything clean and in good shape. Mini bar in the room as well as ironing board and extra pillows. Beds are rather firm but comfortable. Charming bathroom with blue tiles everywhere, shower and bath tub. AC worked perfectly which is a blessing - it can get really hot in the summer.
The pool (”infinite” style) is lovely with plenty of space, sun chairs and parasols for the guests. A jacuzzi, hamam and even sauna is available. For those who like to work out a mini-gym with a few machines completes the pool area.
BAR AND RESTAURANT:
Le Hameau lacks a restaurant, but you can have drinks and snacks (omelette, salads, panini) brought to the pool or to your room. In the reception lobby there is a small bar. Breakfast is being served outside in a beautiful garden with flowers and orange trees surrounding the sitting area. Breakfast is good including fruit, cereals, yoghurt, eggs (boiled, fried and omelette), ham, cheese and an assortment of bread and brioches.
For dinner you (will have to) take a 10-15 min walk up to Saint-Paul where you find plenty of restaurants.
ENVIRONMENT AND NEARBY:
The riviera is a busy place. As initially mentioned, you will get rid of the worst crowds here - just half an hour from the coast. The spot is perfect for excursions to many of the lovely villages in the Alpes Maritimes - mostly inhabited with ”real people” where pace is slower and the environment more natural. Neighboring Le Hameau is ”Fondation Maeght” which is a privately founded modern art museum created by the art patrons Aimé and Marguerite Maeght in the style and spirit of, for example, Guggenheim in the US. Set in a park environment and with sculpture, mosaics and decorations the museum focuses on the artists born around the beginning of the 20th century, such as Chagall, Giacometti, Miro and Braque. Ten minutes (note: rather steep slope uphill if you’re walking) from Le Hameau it is a must see!
”La Chapelle du Rosaire” - Matisse’s last major work - is nearby in Vence, only 5 km away. Also a must see (restricted opening hours - check on the net before you go)!
The airport (Nice-Cote-d’Azur) is not far away: just 12 km and depending on the traffic you should be able to reach it by car within 20 min under best conditions. However, you’d be wise to calculate for bouchons (trafic jams) near the coastline, which are frequent, especially in the afternoon.
Official rating is three stars, which in my opinion is too low. The overall standard, quality of the property lacking nothing that can be found in a higher ranked hotel (with the exception of an onboard restaurant) sums up to be worth four stars.
To no surprise the riviera is pricy. Considering the official three stars Le Hameau is a bit expensive. On the other hand, as mentioned the hotel deserves four stars and in that view the price is fair. Recommended!