The ultimate hotel guide to Saint-Tropez

High-end hideaways, chic townhouses and plush hotels hidden in the pines — it’s all here in the Côte d’Azur’s ritziest resort.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020,
By Carolyn Boyd
With exquisite design, gourmet cuisine and jaw-dropping settings, Saint-Tropez's hotels are well worth the splurge. 

With exquisite design, gourmet cuisine and jaw-dropping settings, Saint-Tropez's hotels are well worth the splurge. 

Photograph by AWL Images

Saint-Tropez is known for being the showy playground of jet-setting fashionistas, but dig a little deeper and you’ll discover plenty of Provençal character. From the Place des Lices, the central square where traders tout local produce, it’s a short stroll up to the 17th-century Citadel. From here, gaze out over the terracotta roofs of pretty yellow townhouses and admire the coast as it curls around the Gulf of Saint-Tropez to nearby Sainte-Maxime. Indeed, the best beaches are a little further out of town, including Plage de Pampelonne where a bikini-clad Brigitte Bardot put Saint-Tropez on the map in the 1956 film And God Created Woman. When it comes to accommodation, the town’s glamorous reputation inevitably pushes prices up, but with exquisite design, gourmet cuisine and jaw-dropping settings, they’re well worth the splurge. More reasonable rates can be found if you hunt a little harder, though be prepared to forego the same level of luxury.

For gastronomes: Cheval Blanc St-Tropez

From the sun-infused vegetables to the morning-fresh fish, chef Arnaud Donckele is spoiled by the local larder for La Vague d’Or, his three-Michelin-starred restaurant that looks out over Cheval Blanc St-Tropez's cypress-shaded terrace. The acclaimed restaurant is the highlight of this hotel, but with a sublime Guerlain spa, an infinity pool and a private beach where therapists apply your sun cream with a facial massage, there are even more reasons to stay. With just 30 rooms, the interior design draws on cobalt-blue, white and neutral tones, while also celebrating the work of local ceramist Roger Capron, a contemporary of Cocteau and Picasso. The service, meanwhile, is impeccable. 
Rooms: From €600 (£508), room only. 

For year-round escapes: Villa Cosy

Summer is when Saint-Tropez really swings into life, so a number of hotels shut up shop for the winter season. Villa Cosy, however, just a short walk from the centre in the town’s hilly suburbs, is one of the few that’s open all year. Its 23 rooms are decorated in natural colour schemes, with wooden floors and stylish furniture, and are set between several mansions and their courtyards. Several of the rooms offer terraces that open onto the hotel’s courtyards and two swimming pools — both kept a balmy 28C all year. The courtyards are a sun trap, too, and so are ideal for breakfast al fresco. There’s a small spa with a hammam and sauna, along with two treatment rooms with Sothys products. 
Rooms: From €230 (£192), room only.

Lily of the Valley is set above the beach at La Croix-Valmer, just over the peninsula from Saint-Tropez.

Photograph by Tezenas

For wellness warriors: Lily of the Valley

Interior designer Philippe Starck has brought his signature eclectic style to the Cote d’Azur with this high-end hideaway, set above the beach at La Croix-Valmer, just over the peninsula from Saint-Tropez. With collections of bold modernist prints and an African vibe, the decor is striking, but the Lily of the Valley's real raison d’être is its wellbeing space, set in a 21,500sq ft space around and beneath one of its swimming pools. Whether it’s fitness, detox, weight loss or simply some R&R, there’s a programme and a team of trainers and therapists on hand to make it happen. Don’t forget to call in at the restaurant and its terrace for views of the wooded coastline towards Cavalaire-sur-Mer. 
Rooms: From €383 (£324), room only.

For fitness fans: La Reserve Ramatuelle 

Set high above a hidden cove near the medieval village of Ramatuelle, six miles from Saint-Tropez, La Reserve makes an ideal bolthole for those who want to both switch off and tone up. As well as a state-of-the-art gym and indoor and outdoor pools, personal training sessions include such as activities as cardio, yoga, Pilates and aquabiking, while lovers of the great outdoors can get their hearts pumping with Nordic walking and jogging. Sustenance either comes from the two-Michelin-starred La Voile, or a more casual rooftop Japanese restaurant. The hotel’s Philippe Starck-designed beach club on the Plage de Pampelonne is a must, too. 
Rooms: From €850 (£785), room only.

For retro glamour: Hotel Byblos

If Brigitte Bardot put Saint-Tropez on the map, then Hotel Byblos was designed to keep it there. Sadly for Lebanese billionaire Jean-Prosper Gay-Para, who built the hotel in 1967 to woo Ms Bardot, his grand gesture didn’t result in reciprocated love. The hotel has maintained its star quality, however, with Beyoncé, George Clooney and Lady Gaga among its guests, and its nightclub, Les Caves du Roy, is where Mick and Bianca Jagger had their wedding party. With 91 rooms and a splendid cocoon-like spa, the hotel has bold, colourful decor throughout with striking features by ceramicist Roger Capron. 
Rooms: From €357 (£300), room only.

Hotel Byblos' nightclub, Les Caves du Roy, is where Mick and Bianca Jagger had their wedding party.

Photograph by Hotel Byblos

For setting sail: La Bastide de Saint-Tropez

Those who enjoy admiring the boats in Saint-Tropez’s harbour should book into the Bastide de Saint-Tropez — guests can hire its 72ft Sanlorenzo Yacht to explore the coastline. Landlubbers, meanwhile, will be spoiled by the hotel’s beautiful grounds, which feature olive trees, fig trees and perfumed blooms around an idyllic pool. Its 26 rooms are set between four Provençal farmhouses and are decorated in classic regional style. 
Rooms: From £201, room only. relaischateaux.com

For budget stays: Hotel B Lodge

If you’ve blown your budget on Champagne rather than accommodation, Hotel B Lodge is a good place to rest your head. Set in the centre of town, its 12 cosy rooms are decorated in neutrals and rich browns, and are spread over three floors, some with a terrace. There’s a small pavement cafe, Café Barock, which is open until the wee hours. It’s worth noting that there’s no lift, so if you’re not planning on travelling light, it’s wise to book a lower floor room.
Rooms: €120 (£107), B&B. 

For lovebirds: Pan Deï Palais

Bardot wasn’t the first woman to set hearts aflutter in Saint-Tropez. Back in 1835, a French general fell in love with a Punjab princess called Bannu Pan Dei and built the lavish Pan Deï Palais to celebrate. Traditional Provençal mansion from the outside, the hotel has a distinctly exotic feel within. The dozen rooms include features such as four-poster beds and fresh orchids. A gourmet restaurant serves fresh, local produce. 
Rooms: £372 (£343), room only. 

Opened in June 2019, Lou PInet has 34 rooms set in several mansions surrounding its outdoor pool, which is shaded by two elegant stone pines (‘Lou Pinet’ means ‘pine’ in Provençal).

Photograph by Lou PInet

For a secret escape: Lou Pinet

Squirrelled away on the edge of town, Lou Pinet is the new kid on the luxury hotel block. Opened in June 2019, the hotel has 34 rooms set in several mansions surrounding its outdoor pool, which is shaded by two elegant stone pines (‘Lou Pinet’ means ‘pine’ in Provençal). Interiors celebrate the colour, vibrancy and creativity of the Cote d’Azur. There’s a small spa, while the relaxing restaurant has a menu featuring premium meat and seafood. 
Rooms: From €430 (£362), B&B. 

For shopaholics: White 1921

With chic outlets galore, Saint-Tropez is shopping heaven, and the boutique White 1921 is perfectly situated for it on the central square, Place des Lices. With the best shopping streets in town on your doorstep, it’s easy to drop off your purchases before heading out to buy some more. With just eight rooms and suites designed, as the name suggests, in breezy white hues, there’s also a sophisticated Champagne bar in which to wind down after a hard day of shopping.  
Rooms: From €330 (£277) room-only. 

Published in the Jul/Aug 2020 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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