SAINT TROPEZ: Former fishing village, today a top-class pearl of the Côte d'Azur
Luxurious yachts, trendy beach clubs and international celebrities. Saint-Tropez has long been the place-to-be for high society during the summer months. We reveal our favourite hotels and show you the best hotspots!
11 February 2020
The pearl of the Côte d'Azur - expensive yachts and sports cars, trendy beach clubs, luxury is in the air. When it comes to Saint-Tropez, one immediately thinks of high society and international celebrities. But the harbour town located between Marseille and Nice is more than just a meeting place for rich and beautiful people from all over the world. As early as the 1950s, the former fishing village developed into one of the hottest meeting places for famous artists such as Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard and Albert Marquet. Brigitte Bardot played the leading role in the film "... und immer lockt das Weib", which made the harbour town famous. The climate is temperate, especially in the summer months there is hardly any rainfall, which makes the French Riviera an ideal holiday destination. Therefore, it is no wonder that thousands of holidaymakers come here every year to relax together on the beach, celebrate life and turn night into day. But also during the daylight and away from the clubs and beaches, there is a lot to discover in Saint-Tropez. Particularly charming are the hidden, picturesque courtyards with olive trees, the narrow streets in the old town and the small fishing boats in the harbour. An absolute must in Saint-Tropez is to stroll along the harbour promenade, admire the picturesque house facades and luxurious yachts, drop by in one or the other chic boutique and keep your eyes open for celebrities. The small cafés that are located around the harbour are particularly good for this. Don't forget your camera: Saint-Tropez's Old and New Harbours are popular photo spots. From there, it is only a short walk to the Citadel, which watches over the city and offers a breathtaking view. A lunch in one of the small restaurants in the old fisher quarter La Ponche is highly recommended. Those who are in Saint-Tropez on Thursdays should definitely visit the weekly market at the Place des Lices and try the local delicacies. But also on other days, it is worthwhile to visit the Place des Lices in order to watch the locals playing boules. If it is too hot for a sightseeing tour, the best is to go straight to one of the surrounding white beaches for which Saint-Tropez is world famous. The most famous is probably the Plage de Pampellone, where stars as well as "normal mortals" tan in the sun during the day and dance in the evening in the trendy clubs, for example the "Le Club 55". Things are quieter at Des Graniers near the citadel. But also sporty holidaymakers get their money's worth in Saint-Tropez and its surroundings. The hilly landscape invites to hiking and biking and the sea is of course perfect for water sports like sailing, kite- or windsurfing. Fine restaurants, luxurious boutiques and endless sandy beaches make Saint-Tropez the ideal destination for an upscale beach holiday. If you don't just come here for the celebrity hunt, but really get involved with the charming harbour town, the magic of Saint-Tropez won't let you go in a hurry.
Lily of the Valley, La Croix-Valmer
IN HARMONY WITH NATURE
Like a delicate flower, just a stone's throw from the sea: the Lily of the Valley Hotel stands on Mount Gigaro in La Croix-Valmer, a few kilometres outside Saint-Tropez, surrounded by unspoilt nature and miles of sandy beaches. When you enter the hotel, you find yourself in a huge complex of wood and glass overlooking the Mediterranean - designed by Philippe Starck. Inspired in part by the design of Californian villas, the Lily of the Valley offers 44 rooms and suites full of comfort, elegance and spaciousness - all with large private terraces. This is a place where contemporary industrial design meets light fabrics, wood and stylish art accents. The heart of the Lily of the Valley is its 2,000-square-foot sports and wellness center. Whether yoga, fitness, sauna or hammam - everyone gets their money's worth here. You will also find luxury-class culinary experiences at this five-star establishment, as Chef Vincent Maillard practices "haute-couture cuisine". He has been the culinary chef at Lily of the Valley since 2019 - prior to that, Maillard has worked with many Michelin-starred chefs. The "Vista" and "Le Village" restaurants offer healthy gourmet dishes, catering to the individual needs of guests around the clock.
Double room from € 383 / night | lilyofthevalley.com
Hotel Lou Pinet, Saint-Tropez
TRADITION MEETS MODERNITY
The 34 light-filled rooms and suites of the Hotel Lou Pinet make you feel like a star on a luxury holiday. In 2017, the new owners, the Pariente family, succeeded in modernising the historic building in the glamorous spirit of Saint-Tropez and optimising existing structures. Architects François Vieillecroze and Charles Zana have created an ambience of elegance and intimacy in the premises. Warm colours, natural stone and a mixture of different textures provide a fitting backdrop for works by Matisse, Calder and Picasso that adorn the walls of the Hotel Lou Pinet. Artistic combinations are also prepared here in the kitchen: Meat lovers get their money's worth at the "Beefbar" restaurant: Black Angus Prime, Wagyu WX and Kobe Beef are complemented here with Mediterranean products such as grilled fish, carpaccio and risotto. An interesting mix that is well worth trying! The hotel bar is also not to be missed: Sheltered by a wooden pergola, it sits under a beautiful pine tree that provides cooling shade in the summer. After dark, the garden is discreetly lit with fairy lights and you'll experience magical evenings under the stars.
Double room from € 390 / night | loupinet.com
ÉPI 1959, Ramatuelle
REBIRTH OF THE GOLDEN AGE
To feel like Audrey Hepburn or Hubert de Givenchy in the summer of 1959, when the Pampelonne beach in Ramatuelle was the talk of the town from Paris to Saint-Tropez. Today, it seems as if the Golden Age has returned - at the luxury ÉPI 1959 beach hotel. In the heart of the French Riviera, the elegance of the 1960s is echoed in every detail in the 10 cabanas. But the beach houses are by no means old-fashioned! On the contrary, elegant wooden floors, vintage armchairs and stylish artwork give the cabanas a cosy feel without being cluttered. Surrounded by a typical Provençal garden, you can relax and read a good book on private pool loungers. The sweet scent of the pine trees accompanies your retreat from the rest of the world. Let's pay a visit to the hotel's own restaurant "The Grill": here, ÉPI 1959 offers stunning cuisine around the clock, such as fresh fish dishes and high-quality grilled beef. The holistic approach to wellness at the hotel is based on the interplay between activity of body and mind with a large portion of relaxation. You can hear the bounce of the balls from afar, as ÉPI 1959 has two tennis courts with private instructors. You can also get active on one of the many hiking trails in the area, with a view of the countless shades of blue of the ocean.
DZ from € 900 / night | epi1959.com
Cheval Blanc St-Tropez
THE LEGEND REINTERPRETED
As soon as you check into this hideaway, you realise: the clocks tick differently here - more slowly, more pleasurably. In May 2019, the luxury hotel Cheval Blanc St-Tropez was renovated in collaboration with local architect François Vieillecroze. The focus is now on 30 rooms and suites, six fewer than before. These have been made even more spacious and sumptuous, and the personal butler is always at your service. Sink into fluffy soft pillows, enjoy the feel of salt water on your sun-kissed cheeks and listen to the steady sound of the waves. How about a secret siesta on the hotel's private beach or a romantic sunrise picnic? Two restaurants and a bar bear the signature of chef Arnaud Donckele, who uncompromisingly realizes his passion for the highest pleasure . With an incredible three Michelin stars, five Toques and a Gault-Millau rating of 19/20, the renowned "La Vague d'Or" invites you to a magical journey between land and sea every evening. Michelin aptly describes the restaurant: "First-class top products, pure aromas and intense flavors, harmonious compositions: Here, cooking becomes an art." Your very personal dreams become reality at Cheval Blanc St-Tropez, right on the emerald ocean.
Double room from € 540 / night chevalblanc.com
Le Yaca, Saint-Tropez
MAJESTIC, ELEGANT AND LUXURIOUS
A jewel at the foot of the Citadelle - in the heart of the old town is a stately 18th-century residence. Step through the inconspicuous white door next to the palm tree in the centre of Saint-Tropez and you enter a hidden paradise: Le Yaca. The pompous entrance hall with black and white marble tiles reminds of the golden times of Mediterranean Grand Hotels, paired with typical French romanticism. The 35 rooms and suites captivate with unbeatable elegance and luxurious charm. Marble bathrooms, Hermès cushions, oriental paintings and lanterns in the corridors radiate pure style. The restaurant "Le Patio" with its brass tables, complemented by blue and gold accents, invites you to Italian gourmet experiences - as a romantic dinner for two or in a relaxed setting with friends. Afterwards, enjoy a cocktail in the hotel's bar, which features high-end black wood for a charming and upscale atmosphere. Le Yaca is set in a Mediterranean garden that has been cultivated for centuries and is full of cacti, fig trees and palm trees. Particularly impressive: the centuries-old weeping willow as well as the huge palm tree by the pool. In the evening, you can enjoy the ambience and the atmospheric lighting with a glass of champagne, often accompanied by live music in summer. Your first stay at Le Yaca promises to be a long and beautiful one.
Double room from € 225 / night | hotel-le-yaca.fr
RESTAURANTS & BEACH CLUBS
TRENDY BEACH CLUBS, TRENDY RESTAURANTS, CHIC BARS - THE GLAMOROUS FISHING VILLAGE ON THE CÔTE D'AZUR HAS A LOT TO OFFER!
HERE ARE OUR FAVORITES:
1. loulou à ramatuelle
One of the most glamorous beach clubs on the Riviera. This classy hotspot is another offshoot of the popular restaurant "Loulou" in Paris with excellent cuisine.
2. la Réserve à la Plage
On the beach of Pampelonne, excellent Mediterranean food is served here around the clock. Perfect for enjoying tapas or grilled delicacies in a relaxed atmosphere. In the evening, La Réserve à la Plage is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of champagne and get in the mood for the nightlife.
3. les Palmiers
An exclusive beach club and luxury beach restaurant in Ramateuelle with premium food and service. Mediterranean cuisine is served in a "home cooking" style. Ask for the special pasta made according to a southern Italian recipe!
4. le Girelier
Excellent cuisine and nobly furnished restaurant, directly at the Old Harbour. Let yourself be tempted by fresh fish and seafood specialities while you watch the luxurious yachts dock and cast off. Especially recommended: Bouillabaisse and Paella Royal.
5. la Vague d'Or
With an incredible three Michelin stars, five toques and a Gault-Millau rating of 19/20, this renowned restaurant invites you to a magical journey between land and sea every evening. First-class top products and harmonious compositions: Here, cooking becomes an art.
Picture credits: Richard Haughton; Lily of the Valley; Matthieu Salvaing; Rory Wylie; V. Mati; Valentina Sommariva; Unsplash (Valentin B. Kremer; Samuel C.; Maria Labanda).