So your superyacht’s currently in dry dock, but you still want a taste of the action in St Tropez?
Languid lunches at Senequier, liberally doused with Provencal rose; late-night grooving at Les Caves du Roy, next to George Clooney or Beyonce; the possibility of spotting reclusive former sex goddess Brigitte Bardot (or BB, as she’s known here); strolls through narrow, atmospheric streets lined with traditional pastel-painted buildings interspersed with designer boutiques.
Well, if you can’t weigh anchor at the marina, it’s just a 90-minute drive – or, more your style, surely – a 20 minute heli-transfer from Nice airport.
The stay: Soon to rebrand as Cheval Blanc St-Tropez in May 2019, La Residence de la Pinede (the name means ‘house of the pine trees’) is a pale pink and white, Italianate confection of a villa from the outside, and a sophisticated, 31-room boutique hotel on the inside, all textured walls and neutral tones. Formerly rather classic in its design, after LVMH took it over in 2016, they called on high-profile Parisian architect Jean-Philippe Wilmotte to bring it slickly up to date.
He’s taken elements of its 60s décor, which used tiles and artworks by renowned ceramicist Roger Capron, to add light and colour, from the bright blue patterns on the bespoke rugs in the lobby and bedrooms (eight of which have been renovated, with the rest ready by next season), to the etched glass on bathroom walls. Toiletries are by Acqua di Parma, showers come with chromatherapy, and walk in closets have safes with watch-winders for your Breitling or Hublot. Obviously.
The food: Curly-haired chef Arnaud Donckele has been at the hotel’s Vague d’Or restaurant since 2005, steadily gaining Michelin stars. His third was awarded in 2013, and he’s maintained his impeccable attention to detail ever since. He offers two tasting menus, of five or seven courses; each is splendidly theatrical, served on exquisite crockery he’s designed himself. Sauces are light but full of flavour, adorning artistically presented dishes like scarlet prawns with grapefruit; yellowtail tuna and spider crab marinated in lemon and bergamot; or pasta filled with black truffle and foie gras. Forget the cheese trolley - here they also have a bread trolley, and a brandy trolley.
Ask about: The spa. Guerlain recently opened only their fifth-ever spa here, the first on the Cote d’Azur; treatment rooms are dreamy, in tones of palest pink. On-the-go social butterflies can leave the hotel beach at 6pm, book the indulgent ‘Glamour in St Tropez’ session, and after being mani’ed, pedi’ed, blow-dried, made up and fed champagne, swan off happily to the hip White 1921 bar or similar.
And after that? Shop til you drop; every major fashion house has a presencehere, from Dior (which also hasits own, chic restaurant), toChanel, Gucci, Prada and more. Stylish feet are clad, like BB, Kate Moss, Uma Thurman and many more, in fashionable leather sandals by Rondini, who’vebeen here since 1927.
Bonus BB fact... The iconic actress put this former sleepy fishing village on the map after her sensual performance in And God Created Woman, filmed here in 1955.