Home > Villa Maïa Review
Updated: August 15, 2020
Villa Maïa – Luxury boutique hotel epitomizing the height of contemporary French design.
This modern five-star hotel feels exclusive, serene, and deeply luxurious, high up on the hill of Fourvière, away from but with access to the center. It is a breathtaking showcase of contemporary French design – Jean-Michel Wilmotte was the architect, Louis Benech designed the garden, and Jacques Grange the interiors. There are nods to the site’s heritage – the medieval feel of the cloister around the garden and the fluted columns and mosaics in the bathrooms and pool, recalling Emperor Claudius’ villa which once stood here. The spacious, designer rooms all have a consistent identity inspired by Japanese art where restful browns and oatmeal yellows are accented with bright blankets and gorgeous circular photographs. All have balconies offering unrivaled city panoramas or lovely garden views. Carrara marble bathrooms have heated floors and Japanese toilets. Service is exceptional, as is the Michelin-starred Têtedoie and the superb Les Thermes spa.
Villa Maïa – Location
- Address: 8 rue du Professeur Pierre Marion, 5th arr., 69005 Lyon, France.
- Nearest Metro/Subway: The F1 funicular at Minimes-Théâtres Romains is closest (0.2 mile, 3-minute walk); change to the metro at Vieux Lyon.
- Area: Beautiful, quiet location high on the hill of Fourvière, away from the tourist crowds and with magical views of the whole city. Moments away from the Roman theaters and 9 minutes (0.3 mile) from the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière at the top of the hill. 12 minutes (0.6 mile) downhill is the medieval and Renaissance district of Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon) with its museums and workshops. Continue downhill and east to the picturesque River Saône and on the other bank, the shopping and sights of Presqu’île, the central peninsula between the Saône and the Rhône (both around 10 minutes’ walk). Great food is within easy reach.
- How to Get There: From Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport, take the Rhônexpress tram shuttle; book your ticket online for a small discount. To minimize walking, change to Métro A at Vaulx-en-Velin la Soie and travel to Bellecour; from there, take Métro B to Vieux Lyon, and finally, the F1 funicular up to Minimes, then walk for just 3 minutes (0.2 mile) to the hotel. Lyon Part-Dieu is the main train station; from here, take Métro B to Saxe-Gambetta, switch to Métro D to Vieux Lyon, then take the F1 funicular. From Lyon Perrache train station, take Métro A to Bellecour, Métro D, then the F1 funicular; or hop on the C21 or the 55 bus to the St Alexandre stop, then take the F1 funicular down from St Just to Minimes. The hotel will also arrange airport pickups and drop-offs for a fee.
- Handy to: Vieux Lyon, Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière, Lugdunum Musée et Théâtres Romains.
Villa Maïa – The Basics
- Ages: Guests are a mix of professionals, couples in their mid 30s and up, and some families, all looking for an exclusive stay. Children are welcome. Bar is 18+.
- View: Lovely throughout. All rooms either overlook the peaceful garden or the city below.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools or jacuzzis.
- Laundry: Dry cleaning and ironing services are available (additional charge).
- Parking: Private parking with 200 spaces is available on-site, a rarity for Lyon, for €35 per night (reservation needed).
- Wi-Fi: Free Wi-Fi in all the accommodations.
- Extras: Excellent concierge team and 24-hour reception desk. All rooms have complimentary water, juices, and snacks in the minibar and coffee machines on request. All also have balconies, with glass instead of rails for better views. Bathrooms have bespoke toiletries created by Louis Benech, heated floors, bathrobes, and TVs concealed in the mirrors. There is a library and a contemplative garden.
- When to Book: Book 3-4 months in advance for the summer high season and holidays such as Easter and Christmas/New Year.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +334 7816 0101
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: villa-maia.com
Villa Maïa – Amenities
- Pool: Les Thermes, the spa area, has a 20-meter-long indoor pool with loungers and a jacuzzi beside it. The pool faces the garden through cloister-like arches, and the mosaic floor and columns evoke visions of a Roman bath.
- Spa: A sauna and steam room adjoin the pool. The hotel is planning to add treatment rooms. In-room massages are on offer.
- Fitness Center: Small, with some machines and free weights, and looking out onto the garden.
- For Disabled Guests: Four rooms are specially adapted to be fully wheelchair-accessible. There is step-free access from the street and elevators to all rooms. Do speak to the hotel about your needs in advance, and be aware that the hillside location may not suit guests with mobility issues unless they have a car.
- For Families: Extra beds for children are available for €90 per night; children under 2 stay in a crib for free. Connecting doubles are also available and there are child-sized bathrobes and slippers in the room. Board games are available from the library and laptops from reception.
- Activities: The concierge will be glad to recommend and organize activities for you in the city.
- Other Facilities: Pets are allowed (fees may apply).
Villa Maïa – Food and Drink
- Restaurants: Têtedoie – The hotel partners with star chef and Meilleur Ouvrier de France Christian Têtedoie. Across the street and enjoying the same awesome city view, this is his Michelin-starred gourmet offering, showcasing locally sourced, modern French cuisine, including vegetables from his own garden and signature dishes like chicken breasts poached in plant milk. Lunch is from €48 (Monday to Friday) and dinner from €70. Service is 12-1:30pm and 7:30-9:30pm respectively. Reservation is needed (and can be made in the hotel). $$-$$$. • Phosphore – More casual ‘bistronomic’ fare from Maison Têtedoie. Each month a new young chef takes over the kitchen. Lunch starts at €19 for 2 courses, dinner starts at €32 for 3, and the sunny terrace is a treat. Open 7 days a week, 12-2pm and 7.30-10pm. $$. • La Terrasse de l’Antiquaille – From May onward, the restaurant rooftop turns into a venue for summer cuisine, such as a main of Iberian pork, eggplant, and olives, while enjoying the view. €48 for 3 courses. $$$.
- Lounge/Bar: Relaxed space on the first floor, brightened by Saint-Just glass, jewel-toned furniture, and pop art by Peter Gee. Here, guests can enjoy tea or coffee or create their own cocktails. Open 5pm-1am.
- Breakfast: The excellent continental breakfast is included in the room rate. Served daily in the breakfast room or on the garden terrace just outside, 7-10:30am weekdays and 7-11am weekends. Guests can also choose room service. Expect fresh bread, organic jams, home-baked pastries such as the classic praline brioche, and hot food cooked to order.
- Room Service: Available 24 hours.
Villa Maïa – Rooms
- Room Types: Double Room with Garden View • Double Room with City View • Suite • Apartment
- Smoking Rooms: Villa Maïa is 100% smoke-free.
- Best Room: The apartment is a majestic 95m² with a dressing room, dining and living areas, and a bedroom. A balcony runs the length of the apartment, so you are never far from the city view.
- For Families: No family rooms per se, though all rooms can fit an extra bed to sleep 3, and the suites and the apartment have separate living areas. Booking interconnecting double rooms is also possible.
Villa Maïa – Local Transport
- Walking: The hotel is perched high above the city, with many sights in walking distance provided you don’t mind hills (use the funicular for when you do). Uphill are the Roman theaters (150m, 2-minute walk), with sweeping views of the whole city, and the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière (0.3 mile, 9 minutes). Below is Vieux Lyon (0.6 mile, 12 minutes away). The gentlest walk down is via Montée du Chemin Neuf (though it’s a challenge on the way back up), but once in the old town, the streets are cobbled and flat. 9 minutes (0.4 mile) steeply downhill to the east will take you to the River Saône. The central Presqu’île is across the bridge; there you’ll find the shopping district and Place Bellecour (0.8 mile, 18 minutes). The Musée des Beaux Arts and the Opéra are just over 20 minutes (1 mile) to the north.
- Metro and Bus: Lyon has good public transport, including metro, buses, trams, and funiculars. Consider getting the Lyon City Card which covers unlimited trips as well as free/discounted entry to lots of attractions. The easiest metro station to access is at Vieux Lyon (0.4 mile, 9-minute walk), either on foot or via the funicular F1 from Minimes (0.2 mile, 3-minute walk). The metro connects with the airport shuttle, Rhônexpress, at Lyon Part-Dieu and Vaulx-en-Velin la Soie. From Vieux Lyon, funicular F2 can take you up the hill to Fourvière, saving you the walk (F1 goes past Minimes to St Just). You can also access the city by bus, including Lyon Part-Dieu station and the Rive Gauche of the Rhône (walk to Gare Saint Paul and take the C3 bus, 0.6 mile, 14-minute walk), and Lyon Perrache station and the central Presqu’île (take the F1 funicular up to St Just, then get the C21 bus at the St Alexandre stop 2 minutes or 150m away).
- Vaporetto: This ferry connects Vieux Lyon at Saint Paul, on the river 15 minutes (0.7 mile) away, to Bellecour or the huge Confluence Shopping and Leisure Centre, which runs the service. Also included in the Lyon City Card.
- Vélo’v: City bikes for hire are big here, and cycling down either river, it’s easy to see why. Pick one up from one of 350 docks, choose a plan that suits you, and drop it off when you want. Just avoid the cobbled inner streets of Vieux Lyon and the steep hills of Fourvière and Croix Rousse (unless you’re feeling very athletic). Special offers apply for Lyon City Card holders. The nearest docks are by Théâtre Romain (0.2 mile, 3-minute walk) and Place Crépu on the river (0.4 mile, 10-minute walk).
- Taxis, Uber, Lyft: A taxi from Lyon St-Exupéry Airport to the hotel will take around 45 minutes (24 miles) and cost €50-60. One from Lyon Part-Dieu station will take around 20 minutes (3 miles) and cost around €18-30. An Uber is cheaper for short rides, at €55-70 from the airport and €10-14 from Lyon Part-Dieu.
Villa Maïa – What’s Nearby?
The hotel’s peaceful location does often mean you have further to walk; getting the funicular from Minimes or the bus from St Just down the hill can be a much less tiring option.
Recommended Nearby Tours
Best Nearby Restaurants
No chance of going hungry here – Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France, with a unique culinary tradition centered on bouchons – small, friendly bistros serving hearty food. Be adventurous – they serve all parts of the animal here, head to hooves. There’s also an extraordinary concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants. Do check opening hours and be aware that many bars and restaurants are shut on Sundays and Mondays.
- Les Terrasses de Lyon – In the dreamy Villa Florentine hotel sits this Michelin-starred restaurant. Enjoy classical French cooking, a great wine list, elegant surroundings, and gorgeous views of the city from the shaded terrace on the hill. Lunch starts at a decent €39 for 2 courses or €49 for 3 courses. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Jérémy Galvan – With playful, poetically-named dishes that value seasonal food, the Michelin-starred chef aims to ‘offer you happiness’. The lunch menu is €35, while dinner starts at €69. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Cinq Mains – Neo-bistro serving beautiful looking modern French cuisine. On a sunny day, opt for the outdoor seating with views of the river. 11-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Daniel et Denise – Expect fantastic versions of hearty Lyonnais bouchon classics such as tablier sapeur (breaded tripe) and pan-fried calf’s liver, and an award-winning pâté en croûte (duck foie gras and veal sweetbread pie). No wonder the owner Joseph Viola holds the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Chef of the Year 2004). 11-minute walk (0.6 mile) to the Vieux Lyon branch on Rue Tramassac.
- Restaurant Les Loges – The place to go for dramatic fine dining. Enjoy bold yet refined Michelin-starred cuisine by chef Anthony Bonnet – think a starter of black truffle, onion cream, and veal sweetbreads – in the glass-roofed Florentine courtyard at the heart of Cour des Loges. The stunning location is enhanced by candlelight. Reservations required. 11-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- La Mère Léa – Here, Christian Têtedoie does a more traditional Lyonnais cuisine, and carries on the legacy of one of Lyon’s famed chefs, Mère Léa, in style. 14-minute walk (0.7 mile).
- Burgundy Lounge – Fine dining for wine lovers – the restaurant’s quality is recognized by the Collège Culinaire de France. At the center are huge glass cabinets showing off the wares on offer. Choose your bottle from over 800 wines, then select food by Chef Axel Ruga to go with it. The lunch menu is a reasonable €29, while dinner is more pricey; e.g., a Menu Découverte with 3 wines selected by the sommelier will run you €102. 18-minute walk (0.9 mile).
Best Nearby Bars and Breweries
- Johnny’s Kitchen – You may be surprised to find an Irish pub in Vieux Lyon, but it works. There are Irish beers and ciders on offer, tasty pub food, and live music every weekend. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Le Comptoir des Buvards – Great little wine bar with a warm welcome on the southern edge of Vieux Lyon. Try one of the 100 wines on the fast-changing menu, all available by the glass or by the bottle. Do not miss out on the delectable sharing boards of meats and cheeses. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Jazz Club Lyon St Georges – It’s all about the atmosphere at this ‘jazzy-cozy’ venue. The warmth and passion of the owner and the local and international artists, all accompanied by a nice glass of wine and a sharing platter, combine to make a special night out. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Café 203 – Trendy bar/restaurant that is always popular. There’s a pretty terrace, while the interior is all dramatic exposed stone and wooden beams. 11-minute walk (0.5 mile) to the Vieux Lyon branch.
- Baràgones – Friendly, relaxed vibe, like the Collège Hôtel which owns it, but with a Latin American twist. Expect tapas, a good rum selection, and creative cocktails, along with live DJs and evenings featuring salsa and samba classes. 13-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Les Fleurs du Malt – Vaulted beer cellar bar by the River Saône. The beer selection comes from around the world and the atmosphere is lively, with rock music playing in the back room. 14-minute walk (0.7 mile).
- Brooklyn Bar – Come for a warm welcome, laid back atmosphere, and tasty cocktails – if you can’t decide, get the bartender to create something for you. Happy hour is until 9:30pm, with all cocktails at €7.50. 16-minute walk (0.8 mile).
Best Nearby Cafes
- Pâtisserie Perroudon – Bakery with a café, so you taste their oh-so-tempting treats in comfort. These start with huge croissants and end with jewel-like tarts, and there are plenty of the pink pralines Lyon is known for. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Boulangerie Saint Vincent – There are plenty of artisan bakeries (and chocolatiers and cheese shops) in Lyon, but this tiny organic place on the river still stands out. The cakes are delightful, the bread divine, and there’s a good range of gluten-free items. There’s also usually a line out the door. 17-minute walk (0.8 mile).
- Slake Coffee House – Specialty coffee, nourishing food, and home-baked pastries. The watchword is freshness, from the local ingredients to the locally roasted beans. There’s also a brunch on Sundays. 17-minute walk (0.8 mile).
Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops
- Vieux Lyon Shopping – The old town is full of souvenir shops, workshops, and galleries, where you can find artisans working on silk, jewelry, clay, and glass. Rue du Boeuf is a great place to start. 9-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Brochier Soieries – Lyon’s history as a center of the silk trade is still alive here. The Brochier family has been in the trade since 1890, and still proudly weaves and prints arty scarves and ties in France, mainly in Lyon. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Glacier Terre Adelice – Ice cream parlor on a pretty square which is permanently packed, selling over 150 handcrafted flavors. These range from classic to original and bold, from vanilla to sweet almond and beetroot. 12-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- René Nardone – A Lyon institution with over 100 years of history. Delightful ice cream and a lovely riverside terrace. 14-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- High Street and Designer Shopping – Head to the Presqu’île, on the other side of the Saône, for easy access to some great shopping around Place Bellecour. Find designers on Rue de Brest and the parallel Rue du Président Édouard Herriot, and more accessible fashion along Rue Victor Hugo and Rue de la République, including the grand department store, Printemps. Rue Victor Hugo is closest, a 16-minute walk (0.7 mile).
- Lugdunum Musée et Théâtres Romains – Before there was Lyon, there was Roman Lugdunum, founded in 43 BC. Travel back in time at this exceptional museum, built gracefully into the hillside, and discover life in the ancient Roman city. There’s also a kids’ area. Just outside the window are the restored Roman theaters, the oldest in France, and the smaller Odeon. The theater is back in use, hosting the Nuits de Fourvière festival in summer. 7-minute walk (0.2 mile) uphill.
- Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière – Lyon’s most iconic landmark, shining white on the hill since the 19th century, is equally beautiful inside, with its mosaics in blue and gold. The panoramic view of the city from the terrace is another big draw. There’s even a tour of the rooftops of Fourvière (free with the Lyon City Card) from the basilica’s own roof. 9-minute walk (0.3 mile) uphill.
- Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste – At the center of Vieux Lyon stands its medieval cathedral, which evolved from 1180 to 1480. Inside the main attraction is a rare 16th-century astronomical clock. Guided tours are on offer every Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm. Be aware that parts of the interior are under restoration (planned to finish in 2022). Across the Place Saint-Jean is the cathedral’s treasury museum. 11-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Musée Cinéma et Miniature – A unique, quirky space dedicated to 2 kinds of art – painstaking, lifelike miniatures and the artists of cinema before the digital age. The collection of sets, costumes, and props is unique in Europe, and includes highlights like the Alien and Gizmo himself from Gremlins. It’s all housed in the gorgeous Maison des Avocats. 11-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Vieux Lyon – Exploring the UNESCO-protected medieval and Renaissance old town is a must, whether you book a tour or go by yourself. It’s crowded, but a feast of Italian colors, where you can have fun finding traboules, secret passages mainly constructed by silk weavers to transport their goods. Highlights include the Maison des Avocats (House of Lawyers) on rue de la Bombarde, the Maison Thomassin on Place du Change, and the Tour Rose (pink tower) with its traboule at 16 rue du Bœuf. 12-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Musées Gadagne – Two museums in one 16th-century mansion. Discover the history of the city, including its silk-weaving, printing, and cinema past. The adjoining collection is of the global art of puppetry, including Lyon’s famous Guignol. 12-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Le Petit Musée de Guignol – A small museum dedicated to the Lyonnais puppet and hero, Guignol. Learn about his history (ask for the English audio guide), and try your hand at working him yourself. 13-minute walk (0.7 mile).
- Street art – You can find more than 100 elaborate and charming ‘murs peints’ or frescos around the city, mainly designed by the company CitéCréation. There is a cluster around the banks of the Saône which is easy to get to from the old town, including: the ‘Fresque des Lyonnais’ (0.8 mile, 17-minute walk), featuring famous sons from the Roman Emperor Claudius to the Lumière brothers and Paul Bocuse, and the ‘Fresque de la Cour des Loges’, which depicts the glorious courtyard of the nearby hotel as a stage set (0.6 mile, 14-minute walk).
- Théâtres des Célestins – Spectacular 19th-century theater in a picture-perfect square. The dramatic red and gold auditorium attracts international companies and global stars such as Isabelle Huppert. You can also tour the historic building outside show times. 16-minute walk (0.8 mile).
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
- Le Boulanger de Saint-Just – This neighborhood bakery offers not just organic artisan breads and a wide range of pastries, but also tasty sandwiches, salads, and a café to enjoy everything on the spot. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Casino – Small branch of popular supermarket. Decent selection of groceries and essentials. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Weekend Markets on the Saône – These include Marché de la Création on Saturday, and Marché de l’Artisanat et des Métiers d’Art (arts and crafts market) on Sundays. From comic books to artwork and clothes, they are a pleasure to browse. 14-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Marché alimentaire et fleurs Saint Antoine Célestins – Lyon’s biggest food (and flower) market and a favorite of both locals and chefs, runs by the Saône and invites you to stroll and explore. Do ask the friendly stallholders for advice. Open 6am-1pm daily, apart from Mondays. 16-minute walk (0.8 mile).