How to plan the perfect luxury holiday in St Tropez
Words by Rebecca Whitlocke
Unmatched in legend and luxury, Saint Tropez has a worthy reputation as one of the French Riviera’s glitziest destinations; a place synonymous with celebrities, parties and spectacular style.
Saint Tropez uniquely faces northward and revels in the evening light that Matisse, Dufy and Bonnard found so alluring – for any luxury holiday it offers a wonderful mélange between Provençal tradition and the right side of modern sophistication.
Here, we share our expert tips for a luxury getaway in Saint Tropez.
Where the Jet Set Crowd Stay in St Tropez
Celebrities and A-listers mark their time in Saint Tropez with a superyacht showdown, where the most exclusive yachts moor at Vieux Port, just metres from the harbourside buildings. The town is everything you imagine the French Riviera to be with striped awnings at bistros, fishermen drinking pastis around the boules pitch, green-shuttered façades with lavender flower boxes.
Those in the know prefer staying on a private yacht which makes sense when the Var traffic’s horrendous and you can come and go as you wish, and who wouldn’t want to enjoy the ultimate experience here as Champagne and rosé flows at the dinner parties on the aft deck; it’s a voyeuristic carnival where the quayside is considered entertainment.
Jenny Caird, founder of 212 Yachts says, “Many guests time their yacht charters on the French Riviera with prestigious events. You can enjoy tournaments at the Polo Club Saint-Tropez, join the excitement at the Cannes Film Festival or absorb the atmosphere trackside at the Monaco Grand Prix. Summer is peak season when the Gulf of Saint Tropez is busy with yachts and the skies hum alive with helicopters ferrying clients along the Côte d’Azur coastline.”
For VIP clients who prefer a luxury getaway on land, Relais & Chateaux member Pan Deï Palais strikes a balance with boutique accommodation in a charming 19th-century mansion. An understated monument to the love affair between a French General and a Punjab princess, Pan Deï Palais has the Mediterranean cool factor of the Château Marmont in L.A. with fascinating history and refined service.
The hotel’s interior could be transported straight from Morocco or India with carved wooden furniture, Oriental ornaments and a tropical pool area of quiet beauty. If you want to treat yourself, book the Suite Shanti for an exotic getaway.
There’s Something About St Tropez
Strolling along Quai Jean Jaurès showcases the quintessential French style that the Tropéziennes master effortlessly since the days when Coco Chanel used to holiday there. Each summer, the Chanel brand launch a pop-up boutique in the private mansion La Mistralée (1 avenue du Général Leclerc), don’t miss their footwear and accessories collection displayed artfully in the pool house.
Discovering retail therapy in the town ranges from stores with casual separates perfect for relaxing at beach bars or boutiques with the kind of opulence you’ve been accustomed to when shopping in Milan, New York or London.
Saint Tropez’s shopping is easily walkable – splurge on a crystal Swarovski necklace at Place des Lices, head to Dolce & Gabbana for luxury fashion and eyewear (17 rue François Sibilli) or refill your empty parfum at the fragrance fountain in-store at Louis Vuitton (48 rue François Sibilli).
If there’s money left in the budget, drift off to one of the regional vineyards before discovering the fabulously Provençal villages of Ramatuelle, Gassin and Grimaud. The chalky soil and warm, dry climate means you’ll be treated to some AOC Côtes de Provence wines that beautifully match bouillabaisse, lemon-drizzled oysters or robust Mediterranean dishes with earthy flavours.
Famous everywhere on the French Riviera, Château Minuty occupies over 200 acres of hilly vines in Gassin and their tasting room is open year round. Château Volterra is a beautiful Tuscan palazzo with a stunning hilltop location overlooking Cap Taillat with gardens of olive trees, or take a tasting at Château d’Esclans where 80-year old vines and wine making links with Château Mouton Rothschild and Château Prieuré-Lichine in Bordeaux resulted in the most expensive rosé in the world, their Château d’Esclans Cuvée Garrus (Côtes de Provence).
Celebrity Dining and Parties in St Tropez
Saint Tropez is a who’s who of supermodels, oligarchs and celebrities during summer who cram into the hippest nightspot, the exclusive Les Caves du Roy which opens in April at the Hôtel Byblos where sparklers erupting from Magnums of Champagne is the norm.
Café de Paris is an institution harbourside, where you could run into local fishermen nursing their Pernods or Monica Bellucci sipping a mojito.
Pampelonne Beach is peppered with celebrity hangouts and has the hottest summertime spots to laze, pose or party. As Saint Tropez’s opening parties kick off, seasonal favourites spruce up the sun loungers and Champagne buckets – book ahead and take your credit card to find a place to soak up the French Riviera sun at Nikki Beach, Club 55, Niourlargo, Moorea Beach or the relaxed vibe at Cabane Bambou.
Media-shy celebrities divert from the beach restaurants on Pampelonne Beach and head to Couleurs Jardin Restaurant along the coast at Plage de Gigaro. This relaxed eatery is an ideal escape from prying paparazzi where they can relax on the open-air terrace with a plate of grilled fish with lavender and lemon-infused thyme, or pata negra.
Whenever you choose to visit, you’ll find Saint Tropez is a luxury destination that hasn’t lost her style.
Image at the very top of the article credit: Madrabothair/Bigstock.com