Lucire: Volante


La Villa Gallici Enjoying the Provençal sunshine

Bespoke Hotel Number Nine


Aman Canal Grande Venice

Villa Gallici

A tale of four cities

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Over a century ago, the French impressionists flocked to Provence, primarily in search of the unique light to be found there. They discovered a particular radiance which changed forever our popular notion of colour. Other tantalizations for the senses seduced the artists: scenery, fragrance, delights to the palate, a relaxed pace of life. Today, la Villa Gallici by Baglioni, a Relais & Châteaux property in Aix-en-Provence, illuminates these same qualities in the luxurious details of the hospitality experience they provide. Provençal glow bathes everything you encounter, be it floral arrangements and planters of lavender in the elegant entrance, the splendid displays of culinary art by the chef Christophe Gavot, Limoges place settings at every meal, thrilling elements of décor, voluptuous wall coverings, your polychromatic bedspread, even the brilliant white marble counter in your bath.

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The graceful merging of the brand’s signature Italian style with the local rhythms in what was once a sprawling private home brings a Florentine atmosphere to the equation. It’s a house first, a casual and calm setting, a quiet hotel set on the hillside just above the old city. With only 22 rooms, and a maximum of 30 guests, the property maintains a discreet, consistent and exclusive presence with a reputation built from repeat guests. Design professionals love la Villa Gallici for the profusion of objects and details. International tourists and executive travellers stay an average of two to three nights, and a loyal following regularly returns to delight in Chef Christophe’s latest fine dining menus. The chef excels in refined taste and presentations which take advantage of the Provençal luminescence and the best of the season. Breakfast on the terrace overlooking the pool can be an exercise in dazzling outdoor theatre. Order the ultimate omelette fines herbes, served with fresh breads, three confitures and local honey, and fresh-squeezed juice. The pool house proved a tranquil place to sit and dream of Cézanne.

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We peeked into a number of la Villa’s lodging options and our favourite choices include no. 1, the top-end suite with walk-in closet, shower and separate bath, and an airy windowed sitting room leading to a private terrace; no. 3, a deluxe hideaway reached by a cozy, twisty staircase—it has a private terrace, 270-degree view of the hills and village below, and feels especially isolated when adjacent trees are in leaf; no. 5, a deluxe bi-level room, with free-standing bath upstairs (many stairs), huge walk-in shower, window seat, reached via a rose-covered passage; junior suite no. 17 has a private garden; there’s also one handicap-friendly suite, but remember that the property has no elevators, only stairs.

Plan ahead: la Villa closes the entire month of January, for a one-week buy-out from a faithful private group, then for yearly renovations. Lunch isn’t served Monday or Wednesday; and in July, Aix is mobbed with visitors for the Festival of Lyric Art. This great property is worthy of a visit. Once you’ve crossed through Villa Gallici’s gates and into the private grounds, you will be enchanted by its particular radiance, a place where you effortlessly become one with the light. •







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