We review Scott Dunn’s luxury villa in the South of France
by B’s Creative Director, Ruth Ellis
The idea of travelling overseas together with my parents, husband and two small children (aged six and one) has never sounded like a ‘relaxing’ holiday option to me. However, I have recently returned from the South of France, with said party, feeling truly refreshed with a little help from the wonderful people at Scott Dunn.
We took a short two-hour flight from Gatwick to Nice and a 30 minute taxi transfer to luxurious Villa Epuré in the beautiful town of Vence. On arrival, we were warmly greeted by our very own Villa Manager and Villa Chef and knew instantly we were going to be very well looked after during our stay.
Nestled between the larger cities of Nice and Antibes, the historic town of Vence with its bustling market square and medieval centre full of independent shops, cafés and restaurants was just a ten minute stroll from the villa. We enjoyed traditional crepes with tea cups of cider at Creperie Bretonne (Nutella gallettes are a must for the kids!), visited Chapelle Rosarie to see famed artist Henri Matisse’s finest work upon its walls and within its stained glass windows, and for a special child-free evening on our chef’s day off, dined at Les Agapes restaurant in the old town where the beautiful food tasted as good as it looked!
Talking of food, George was our Private Villa Chef for the week and oh my goodness, we have never eaten so well! George’s inventive dishes were exquisitely crafted to all our varied tastes and dietary requirements (of which there were many with a severely allergic toddler in tow!) and were beyond any level of perceived expectation.
The addition of Villa Manager Hannah was effectively like having your very own sunny PA on holiday with you, organising preferred meal times and flexible childcare and generally keeping everybody appeased whatever their requests, from preparing fresh coffees to recommending and booking local restaurants and travel services.
With all Scott Dunn holidays, you have the option to pay for additional childcare services, which I can personally assure you are worth every penny spent. When my children met Savannah, our private nanny for the week, it was clearly love at first sight! Savannah’s calm, soft persona instantly connected with both of them and she willingly indulged them in their constant desires for creative, imaginary and above all ‘messy’ play. They could bounce around for the week without mummy or daddy stressing over the trails of glitter and play-doh left in their midst or chasing after them, mop and broom in hand. Savannah had it all covered and was the reason we as parents could also enjoy our time on holiday – she even managed to get Beau into the swimming pool for the very first time which was nothing short of a miracle for a tot who refuses to sit in the bath tub at home!
Neighbouring towns St Paul de Vence (a seven minute drive) and Tourrettes sur Loup (a 15 minute drive) were definitely worth a visit – both perfect for a daytrip filled with artists’ galleries, boutiques, delicious ice-cream parlours, creperies and tea rooms with stunning views across the countryside. When visiting Tourrettes sur Loup, famous for harvesting the region’s violets, try the Violet ice-cream from Tom’s for a nostalgic trip back to the days of Parma Violet sweets.
As these towns are built into the mountainous terrain, it is definitely worth investing in either a lightweight nippy stroller or a sturdy baby carrier to navigate the hilly climbs and save little legs!
Of course, what really made our time so relaxing together was the outstanding service we experienced throughout. Not only from Hannah, George and Savannah who cared for all of us so attentively during our stay, but from Seb, our Scott Dunn booking advisor who arranged for so many essential child-friendly items to be in place before our arrival that would make the trip so much easier and the packing a lot lighter!
From the large tote bag and beautifully boxed luggage tags and itinerary, to the anniversary flowers, the children’s Sunuva rash vests and quality sun hats, Kit and Kin nappies and wipes, Child’s Farm toiletries, stairgates in place at the bedroom doors and a highchair – everything was thoughtfully provided. Thank you Scott Dunn – you truly do offer ‘exceptional travel’.