Villa Maïa Lyon, Rhône-Alpes
Regardless of the tourist crowd, over the town on Fourvière Hill, settled by the Romans around 43 BC. Culture fans collect on summer nights for theatres and theater performances at the open-air Théâtre Romain (Roman Theatre) — just round the corner in Villa Maïa — throughout Les Nuits de Fourvière. The chintzy Fourvière Basilica and upper channel of a funicular linking Fourvière using Vieux Lyon are 10 minutes’ walk uphill; Lyon’s Unesco-protected old city is 15 minutes off.
Style & personality
Here is the flagship project of this Maïa group, raved around for awfully good motive. Inspired by Fourvière’s antiquarian heritage but nevertheless resolutely modern, the resort’s profoundly sophisticated and lovely insides are the job of three legendary French painters: architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, landscape designer Louis Benech (of Paris’ Jardin des Tuileries and Versailles restoration celebrity), and actress organizers Jacques Grange.
Service & amenities
Staff in stylish sand-coloured suits are unobtrusive, gracious and much over five-star flawless. The concierge receives guests at a salon using totem-pole art setup by Parisian sculptor Guy de Rougemont. Board games and lifestyle publications fill the library, and reception has notebooks to borrow.
Les Thermes, using Roman-like arched windows overlooking the resort’s meditative courtyard garden, is an oasis of calmness with its 20-metre-long indoor pool, Porsche of a whirlpool bathtub, steam and sauna room. There’s a gym and the concierge can arrange a private coach or masseuse.
The 37 sublime rooms cocoon guests at a soft palette of cream, taupe and oatmeal, complimented by Carrara marble and smoky glass mouth-blown from La Verrière p Saint-Just — two lavish materials utilized throughout the resort. Walls lined in Western straw and light custom-made furniture hint at retro Art Deco.
The sweeping 180-degree town panorama from many rooms is completely bewitching, as is the dazzling photographic art by Parisian artist Charles Maze above every bed. Granite and nickel baths have automatic heated floors and towel rail, mirror-embedded televisions and remote-controlled Japanese bathrooms. Bespoke toiletries by Louis Benech are scented with carnations, irises, bitter almond and other aromatic blossoms evocative of this Zen resort garden that he designed.
Food & beverage
Breakfast, served at the garden in hot weather, is a gourmet feast of artisan bread, croissants, natural jams and candy brioche sprinkled with pink Lyonnais praline. Eggs, bacon, pancakes, waffles and French toast are all cooked to order. Têtedoie (dinner and lunch selections from $45/40 or $68/60) is your gastronomic temple of Michelin-starred chef Christian Têtedoiefamous for his seasonal and locally sourced, contemporary French cuisine.
The 180-degree panorama of Lyon and the Alps is as outstanding as the dining room experience. For more casual dining with the exact same amazing view, Têtedoie cooks up shared tapas dishes ($9/#8) in its own Phosphore bar à vin and plancha cuisine at its own seasonal rooftop restaurant, La Terrasse p l’Antiquaille (three-course menu $45/#40). The resort pub, dominated with a pop artwork panel by British artist Peter Gee, invites visitors to make their own craft cocktail lounges.
Value for cash
Double rooms from $410 (#361) year old. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi.
Accessibility for guests with disabilities?
Savvy wheelchair-accessible double rooms interconnect using a normal double.
Doubles interconnect and rooms possess child-sized bathrobes and slippers. Baby cots, bathrooms, changing mats and other accessories can be offered.
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