Aix-en-Provence has long delighted visitors to the south of France. Once the capital of Provence, this elegant, sun-kissed town has rich architecture and a vibrant cultural scene. And now there’s a new place to stay, with the opening of the Villa Saint-Ange, a boutique five-star hotel with an enviable location just a five-minute walk from the Cours Mirabeau. This private domain encompasses more than 86,000 square feet, with a leafy Provençal garden populated with statues and fountains in the Aix fashion. Flanked by deck chairs, the hotel’s “mirror” swimming pool is heated year round.
Before the French Revolution, there was a chapel and convent on this site, then later, at the end of the 18th century, the property was distinguished by a bourgeois family’s mansion, its entrance marked by two stone lions. The hotel is the brainchild of Jean-Brice Garella, the hotelier behind the Quatre Dauphins in Aix’s Mazarin neighborhood. To transform the historic hotel particulier, Garella recruited architect Henri Paret; 37 different French companies, including cabinet makers and gilders, some labeled “Patrimoine Vivant” (“Living Heritage”) because of their unique savoir-faire, restored the building.
Opened in summer 2019, the Villa Saint-Ange has 35 rooms and suites richly decorated in the style of the Third Empire. The restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine prepared by chef Nadège Serret with ingredients sourced from the onsite vegetable garden and local producers. There’s also a gym, massage room, large Jacuzzi and a private lounge and conference room set up for board meetings.