Four Seasons Provence at Terre Blanche: a little slice of heaven in the South of France
Four Seasons Provence at Terre Blanche is situated amongst beautiful scenery in the village of Tourrettes just 45 minutes from Nice. this hidden part of Provence has always attracted artists and Four Seasons Provence at Terre Blanche is no different as it offers a haven of peace surrounded by pure, wild nature. all of the property’s 115 suites cling to the slopes of the hill the same as the homes in view from surrounding mountain top villages. it’s absolutely lovely. so is it’s gorgeous spa. total luxury! BUT that is not the story I want to share…
i began communicating with Four Seasons Provence through twitter and email. they were extremely responsive and made booking my stay a piece of cake sending me a link for the room & rate i requested. next, when i began to inquire about restaurants & wine tastings, the reservations department put the concierge in touch with me. this is when it gets really impressive. the options were so nicely organized by local cuisine or gastronomic dining experiences. i requested to try one of each and for the concierge to choose his favorites. not only did he choose, but went straight on to make the reservation for me. his choices were perfect! (more on this in my eating post) i also challenged this sweet man to finding me a beret to don upon arrival in Provence. he was unwavering in his efforts! (you know this if you read my raspberry beret post) the above & beyond effort is my favorite trip memory and for this, i will always adore both him and Four Seasons Provence.
upon arrival, i was personally welcomed by the travel industry sales manager and a very gracious and eager staff. it’s low season in Provence and the property was very quiet with only 8 rooms booked Friday and 12 on Saturday. it might seem that perhaps this is why i got such exceptional service but in retrospect i believe this is just how they do it at the Four Seasons Provence. they take extreme pride in doing their job perfectly – what a joy!
other perks from the stay:
An upgrade to a nicer room
A birthday cake to welcome me, a handwritten note from the General Manager, plus 2 bottles of the region’s wines, gratis
A smiley staff willing to drive me to and fro at a moment’s notice
A portfolio pre-made for me with details of dinners & wine tastings (including marked & highlighted maps)
A warmed car with driving directions when i was dropped to the car for dinner
An inclusive breakfast with the BEST bacon i have ever had (America – adopt this European tradition, si vous plait)
A bartender who kept the bar open for one last drink although no one else was there
A reception staff that knew who i was – greeting me by name each and every encounter AND did everything to ensure i was happy (including giving me a delicious Four Seasons Terre Blanche candle at check out)
AND a head of concierge that planned my visit better than i could have hoped and got me my treasured pink beret
i don’t believe Four Seasons Provence would have denied me anything. it was as if they anticipated my every wish and thought. it’s worth every penny when you receive this kind of exceptional service, i must say. i may be ruined now because i was spoiled so much. it truly was the VERY BEST service i have ever experienced.
AND since then, i have received follow-up emails from Andrea Ramseyer – Travel Industry Sales Manager, Jean-Jacques Yonnet – Head Concierge (who made all my dreams come true) and Mauro Governato – General Manager of Four Seasons Provence at Terre Blanche, all expressing the wish that i enjoyed my stay, thanking me for my patronage plus inviting me back as soon as possible.
merci beaucoup, i will be back – you can count on that!
Villa Gallici: a hidden treasure in Aix en Provence
the Villa Gallici in Aix en Provence has existed for two centuries before becoming a hotel devoted to the French art de vivre 20 years ago. the property has 22 gorgeous, individually decorated rooms as well as some fabulous common areas to enjoy. it is just as the Baglioni/Relais & Chateaux families desire – comme a la maison “just like at home”. it’s no wonder Villa Gallici has been named one of the best 500 hotels in the world by Travel & Leisure and has an impressive standing on the 2011 Conde Nast Traveller list. when you are at the Villa Gallici it’s as if time has stopped and all of life is enjoyed at a slower pace. there’s a simple ease in your time spent there that’s divine in this day and age of lightening-speed life. i wish i could bottle up that feeling and sip it every now and then!
similar to FS Provence, i began communicating with Villa Gallici about dinner reservations while staying there. they, too, were very responsive and recommended & booked a fantastic restaurant for my one evening in Aix en Provence. (also to be reviewed in my eating post)
i prompted Villa Gallici as well that it was my birthday and upon arrival, after an easy check in (with an upgraded room!), i was brought yummy little sweet treats and some veuve clicquot champagne along with a handwritten note from the Managing Director welcoming me. the French know how to do it right!! kinda makes me wish i had a birthday more often!
Villa Gallici made sure i had a well-marked map and directions to all of my evening’s destinations. after a fun night out, i came back to Villa Gallici to find rose petals scattered about in my turned down sheets. how lovely. i was well attended to but left to enjoy Villa Gallici at my leisure. my only regret is that i didn’t have more time at this special place but i had to get onto Monaco.
if i’ve said it once, i’ll say it again. DO NOT hesistate to let the hotel know you are there for a special occasion (that is, of course, if you are)! it’s a very competitive business and i find that hotels across the board want your loyalty so it’s important to make you feel special. the concierge is there to help you – so take advantage of that too. i haven’t asked for anything in my travels that i haven’t gotten or received help with. so ASK and YE SHALL RECEIVE!