Ultima Collection has announced the newest addition to its expanding portfolio, Ultima Cannes Le Grand Jardin, opening in 2022. The only private property on the island of Sainte-Marguerite, Ultima Cannes Le Grand Jardin is a historic, walled private estate that was previously home to royals such as Louis XIV and the world’s elite. Like Ultima Collection’s existing properties across Europe, Le Grand Jardin will feature state-of-the-art décor, facilities and the highest levels of service whilst offering a completely exclusive, secluded and once-in-a-lifetime experience for a group on the Côte d’Azur.
Famed for its unspoilt beauty and at just under two miles long, Sainte-Marguerite is the largest of four islands in the Lérins archipelago, situated about half a mile off the French Mediterranean coast. The island has attracted artists and photographers such as Picasso and Lee Miller, who often sought refuge from the mainland for their ‘very own’ unspoilt island retreat. The French avant-garde painter, Francis Picabia, was mesmerised by the island’s extraordinary flora, fauna and light, and captured its rugged coastline in his painting L’île Sainte-Marguerite.
Exclusively accessible by boat (just 10 minutes from Cannes) or helicopter, with no cars on Sainte-Marguerite, Ultima’s guests will feel as they are staying on their very own, secluded private island.
Ultima is working with local experts to restore the historic aspects of the property to their former glory. Le Grand Jardin comprises the main Governor’s House; a turreted watchtower with a roof terrace and glorious views and a third ‘guest house’ building – collectively dating back as far as the 13th century. The property will have 11 bedrooms, with expansive suites in the Governor’s House and The Tower; multiple relaxation and dining areas both indoor and out; an organically filtered heated outdoor pool, an open-air cinema and a spa.
This unique 13th-Century property is surrounded by a 14,000 square meter botanical park and is protected by an impressive stone fort built by Richelieu. Cypresses, palm trees, olive trees, fruit trees and local flowers complete this idyllic scene and landscaped walkways lead guests down to the estate’s botanic gardens that are fragrant with roses, geraniums and irises. Ultima’s chefs will be on hand to offer guests tailor-made, farm-to-table dining, which will ensure a connection with nature and create a home-away-from-home experience, for which Ultima is renowned.
Byron Baciocchi, Co-Founder of Ultima Collection, has added, “Ultima Cannes signals the start of a new chapter for Ultima Collection. Sainte Marguerite’s historic offering is undeniably rare, which is why we did not hesitate in adding the property to our portfolio. Before embarking on this monumental project, we knew we had a responsibility to preserve its historical elements while also bringing the property forward with our signature design and interiors. It’s turned into an eco-sanctuary that is even more special and can be enjoyed in complete privacy on the Cote d’Azur.”
Whilst being the only place to stay on the island, the clear-blue waters off Le Grand Jardin are also home to British artist Jason deCaires Taylor’s underwater sculpture garden (launched 2020), which features Easter Island-like heads of local characters. La Guérite, one of the island’s two restaurants, is among the most talked-about dining spots on the Côte d’Azur.