It’s easy to see how this Dolce hotel set deep in Provence, South of France, has gained a great reputation. Dolce is a brand designed to inspire discovery and to motivate its guests – and this it does. Dolce’s new Trails of Discovery lived up to everything I was promised.
As soon as I arrived I was struck by how lush and green Provence was. The hotel, with its backdrop of mountains, greeted us with a charming exterior and red-carpeted entrance. It is located in Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, a quaint French town in the midst of Provence. Less than an hour’s drive from vibrant Marseilles and surrounded by pine woods and rolling vineyards, it’s in a prime spot.
This area of France is well-known for its rosé wine production; the dry winds create ideal growing conditions. The hotel is set back behind the 27-holeRonald Fream golf course and has 163 light, spacious rooms, all offering comfortable modern conveniences, including easily-accessible Wi-Fi. Many of the rooms showcase idyllic sea views, including views to the distant island of Gaou and Bandol Bay.
Provence, with its Mediterranean climate. boasts approximately 2,999 hours of sunlight per year and so is ideal for outdoor activities, as well as appealing to both business and leisure visitors all year round.
In order to appreciate the full extent of the grounds, we enjoyed a unique sunset tour, wrapped in blankets and driven around in golf buggies. The tranquil golf course is sprawled across 173 acres with a mesmerising coastal backdrop. We encountered the most spectacular view at the tenth hole – it never fails to impress – a vista of forest, mountainous terrain and endlessly meandering vineyards. With Provence rapidly becoming the global centre of rosé wine production, this is the perfect spot to pause for a glass of Frégate wine, whilst taking in the sights. Its diverse landscape encompasses a variety of vegetation, including wild lavender fields, olive groves, palm trees and cypress trees. The hotel has its own beehives, producing honey to serve in the restaurant. I recommend groups to sample one of the special honey products - the ‘Frégate Signature’ cocktail - which is deliciously sweet as well as the complimentary honey they will find in their rooms.
The hotel’s fine dining restaurant, ‘Le Mas des Vignes’, serves sophisticated, seasonal food – /Nouvelle Cuisine’ style - deliciously colourful and creative dishes, as exquisite as works of art. The hotel’s two restaurants and two bars all serve fresh and locally sourced food inspired by Provençal flavours.
The hotel’s spa and its fitness area are the perfect places to unwind in free time or to rejuvenate after meetings. And, in addition, there are four swimming pools. These include an inside pool equipped with a Jacuzzi and three tiered outdoor pools The spa’s impressive facilities boast a whirlpool, two saunas, a hot tub and two treatment cabins, where the focus is on natural products from a Parisian brand. The outdoor pool is bordered by a large terrace and has its own bar.
For the more active, the hotel has a wide range of leisure facilities, including golf, swimming, free access to tennis courts and pétanque, stunning countryside walks and the recently launched ‘Dolce Trails’.
Trails of discovery
The newly launched Dolce Trails offer groups a unique experience for their incentives or leisure programmes at each of their hotels. Dolce St Cyr has an exciting and fun treasure-hunt route through Provence, leading from one beauty spot to another, whilst enjoying a wide range of activities through the device of clues and reveals. With the element of surprise, this really is a unique way for groups to get the best out of what Provence has to offer.
The trails are currently available at five Dolce locations across Europe. Designed for groups of all sizes, organisers can get creative with the trails. They can be competitive by splitting into teams in a race to send pictures of each location back to the hotel. A more leisurely approach is to work together, taking the time to enjoy each location, savouring the views and the varied Mediterranean landscapes. The trail takes 4-5 hours to complete and includes not only spectacular panoramic views, but local wine – something sweet and even something a bit cheesy!
Dolce hotels and resorts concentrate on the meetings and event sector and have almost 30 years of experience. With nearly 50% of their business coming from this market segment, the hotel offers 14 purpose-designed and modern meeting rooms to cater to any business needs. The rooms are spacious, fitted with large windows to allow plenty of natural light as well as showcasing inspiring views across the lushly green countryside. The rooms are fully air-conditioned and the tables are designed on wheels, in order to allow the set-up of the room to be easily changed and adapted to suit changing needs.
The largest meeting space can comfortably accommodate between 200-250 occupants. The rooms are equipped with advanced technology: state of the art audio-visual equipment, video conferencing equipment and sound-proofed walls, as well as ergonomic chairs to ensure comfort during lengthy events. Comfort is prioritised with the hotel’s ‘nourishment hubs’, where refreshments are available at all times during the working day.