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Roquebrune Cap Martin: Les Deux Freres

www.lesdeuxfreres.com

Reviewed by: Wendy Ash from UK, review #928

When: Easter 2005

In the old town high above the bay of Monaco you will find this affordable Inn on The French Riviera. It offers stunning views along with warm hopsitality.

We stayed in one of the hotel's 2 apartments right in the heart of Roquebrune. As it only offers a basic kitchen with microwave, fridge and kettle we felt it was more like a very private hotel suite.

Our accommodation was part of an original village house. The front door led straight into the bedroom then up to a mezzanine level where the bathroom and anteroom were situated. More stairs led up to a large sitting room with French window with views over the roof tops and across the bay of Monaco. Lovely! It should be noted that the window had a tiny balcony just big enough for one person to sit on.

Our bedroom was comfortable but would have benfitted from more lighting, including bedside lights. But it did offer excellent storage. The bathroom was basic so this is definitely not the place to stay if you are hankering after plush comforts. It is the place to stay if you want a taste of old village life in this wonderful hilltown close to the delights of the French Riviera and nearly as close to The Italian one, too!

The whole apartment had beautiful "cotto" tiles and there were many nice touches with interesting art works and some real antiques.

Much care and attention has gone into the preparation of this recently acquired apartment and I am sure, in time, it will settle down, with the small snags ironed out. There is plenty of room for a third bed in the sitting room more suitable for a child.

It was a short walk from our apartment to the hotel where we enjoyed a modest breakfast of fruit, pastries, coffee, bread and jams. We could have had breakfast brought to our apartment or taken it at the Salon de The ("Fraise et Chocolat") next to the hotel, looked after by Willem's charming wife. It was nice to be offered a choice.

We did have lunch here one day and it was very good. It is a popular spot with locals, always a good sign.

We had a wonderful evening meal the second night of our stay. Willem de Bonestroo (the Inn's Director / Owner / Enthusiast) was happy to negotiate with his chef to provide me with meals that were suitable for my difficult diet and I ate very well. A three course evening meal was 45. We ate there again on Easter Sunday and enjoyed another super meal.

The dining room is delightful with more vey modern artwork,a blazing log fire and lovely white linens. In the Summer dining is on the terrace affording superb sea views.

Our accommodation was 150 a night excluding breakfast. Our bed was made every day and towels changed, just as in an ordinary hotel room.

The Inn is 2 star with rooms starting at 75 a night for a very small double - but more suited to one person. I saw most of the rooms and may be tempted to try one out at the side of the building with fabulous sea views, Nuit de Noce or Fleur de Lys - both 110 a night plus tax and breakfast.

In principle this is a very good restaurant with rooms above, but, as Willem is Willem the rooms were decorated with their own eccentric theme executed with much style and panache. Air conditioning has just been installed and I expect the bathrooms here, as well as in our apartment, to be the next to be upgraded.

Value for money is terrific particularly when you remember that you are on the chic and very expensive French Riviera.

Willem himself is a tour de force and it was very entertaining to hear him speak fluent Dutch, French, English, German and Italian as he went round the dining room waiting at tables. He works tremendously hard and is a natural host. When we arrived he helped us with our case but not until he'd offered us refreshments and a light supper suited admirably to our 10 pm arrival after our aeroplane sandwich.

This location is perfect for anyone who wants to dip a toe in to Italy as well as to enjoy vists to Menton's wonderful gardens. We visited several gardens including La Serre de La Madone which was wonderful, then over to Italy to visit La Mortola, Villa Hanbury and a couple of delightful hilltowns with wonderful views of the Alps, Apricale and DolceAqua.

Back in France we visted an amazing mock Greek Villa, "Villa Kerylos", the gardens of Villa Ephrussi Rothschild and wonderful Monaco and Monte Carlo.

A fabulous trip, one of the best ever and highly recommended to you all.

Book well in advance but I should caution you that parking is a steep slope away and that there are steps to negotiate in Roquebrune, particularly important if you choose to stay at our apartment " La Vieux Four".

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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