The Chateau Saint Jeannet, located just outside of Nice and only 30 minutes from Cannes and the Monaco Grand Prix, is enjoying a star-studded comeback.
It began life in the 11th century as a fortress, was owned in the late 20th century by French film star Viviane Romance, who entertained the jet set there, but has most recently made headlines when Madonna stayed there during her European tour and found her staff in public rebellion over being relegated to cheaper digs in Nice while she luxuriated in proper diva style.
To put the difference in lodgings in perspective: their rooms were reported to cost $100 per night, while the Chateau rents for around $100,000 per week.
“It was not considered habitable when I bought it,” says Jon Acevski, who renovated it into an ultra-luxury holiday villa. It is perched high atop a hill and accessed via a snaking road. Views extend from the snow-covered southern Alps to the Mediterranean.
“It’s very private, quiet and secluded,” says Acevski. The property boasts 15 spacious suites, a swimming pool, waterfall, Jacuzzi, outdoor gym, four Bulthaup semi-commercial kitchens and a large outdoor stage.
“It’s a place for … royalty, wealthy Russians, big pop stars, film stars, the studios, corporations,” he adds.
“The whole idea is to rent out the entire villa, a week minimum, and then you own the place,” says Acevski. It’s got 15 bedrooms and enough space outside to accommodate 600 people for a nice quiet dinner. “We have an agent who will arrange cars, restaurants — everything.”
But all of this luxury comes at a hefty cost — even with a discount Acevski’s initiated. “Originally, the weekly price was e135,000 ($180,500), but due to the credit crunch, I made a conscious decision to release it to the agents for E80,000 ($107,000) a week.”
Even the wealthy need a bargain these days.