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Francis Bown, Bown's Best

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See below for the latest January 2017 Reviews

Cap D'Antibes Beach Hotel, Cap D'Antibes, French Riviera, France | Bown's Best


The Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel occupies one of the most magical spots on the whole of the French Riviera. It is a temple of luxury and style (both of them of the modern, relaxed sort) in an area renowned for its beauty and its wealth. The Ferrante family transformed the property – at huge expense – and opened it to visitors in 2009. Now, those who are fortunate enough to stay in the 35 rooms within its low building can enjoy a private beach facing the Estérel Massif, an acclaimed restaurant and accommodation in which no modern convenience is lacking. For those who value both exclusivity and comfort and who wish to be right next to the sea, there can be few better destinations.

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Hotel Vis a Vis, Sestri Levante - Genoa, Italy | Bown's Best


Sestri Levante is a most beautiful little town on the Ligurian Coast. You can picture it by thinking of a larger version of Portofino. Its proximity to the A12 motorway – which does not, however, intrude in any visual or audible manner – means that it is readily accessible to those of us who like to motor in France and in Italy near the Mediterranean. Having found it, I am slightly shocked that my discovery of its charms was not made long ago. The prettiness of the seaside setting is enhanced by the discreet symmetry of the architecture. Colourful harmony is all around. This is a place one likes immediately – once one has negotiated the highways of the modern town and reached the quaint streets and promenades of the Old Town. And looking out over and above this gorgeous scene is a charming hostelry, the Hotel Vis à Vis.

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Ristorante Da Ivo, Venice, Italy | Bown's Best


Those of us who love Italian food – and which persons of sound mind and palate do not? – are always searching for The Perfect Italian Restaurant. Its food, of course, must be wonderful and must be traditional. Its service must be friendly, efficient and full of enthusiasm. But there must also be something else. It has to do with atmosphere and ‘ambiance’. Perhaps the best expression might be ‘a sense of excitement’. The Perfect Italian Restaurant must be exciting. I think I have found it. Therefore mark well these words: The Perfect Italian Restaurant is in Venice. It is the Ristorante Da Ivo.

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See also Dining in France & American Farm to Table

Francis Bown 2003
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