In the glittering summer sunlight of Provence, embraced by a lawn chair, a glass of rose in one hand, a Montecristo in the other and the Mediterranean in distant view, life is good.
This level of bucket-list luxury doesn’t happen on its own, but Scott Dunn Villas may make it seem that way. The company has been providing seamless vacations for families, couples and buddies for 30 years. Each villa comes in the form of a fully-staffed home, with host, chef, housekeeper and a nanny if necessary.
A recent experience in the south of France makes the point with an exclamation. Villa Constantins is in Opio, a few kilometers to the north of Nice and in the foothills of the Les Alpes-Maritime. Upon arrival, you are greeted by Harry the host and TJ the chef who will give you the grand tour. The large living room windows look out over the lawn, the infinity pool and, on clear days, to the Mediterranean. A covered outdoor dining area and petanque court (a form of boules) await. You have arrived at this villa having already determined much of your experience. A Scott Dunn travel consultant has taken you through the process of finding the right villa in the right locale, explaining all the local activities, the nature of the villages and the region, the transportation options plus your specific staffing requirements.
A couple of weeks in advance, you were contacted by the villa host and/or chef to determine dining requirements. If you want, you can accompany the chef to the local markets, then get involved in meal preparation on the charcoal grill. On a recent stay, a whole tenderloin of beef was grilled while a whole sea bass was roasted in the oven as part of a group cooking exercise.
Activities nearby include golf at such fine courses as Golf Opio Valbonne, Golf de Cannes Mougins and Golf de la Grande Bastide. Bicycling and hiking treks can be arranged. And visits to the local communities must be part of the experience.
But here’s the thing. All these fine experiences will emanate from your home for the week, and you can enjoy a cigar on the terrace or by the pool at your leisure. Now that’s paradise.