Bring up Saint Tropez in conversation and people’s faces instantly light up. And how could they not? Its glamorous charm and luxurious style, birthed from the New Wave cinema of its 60’s and 70’s, continue to dazzle travelers.
When I recently visited for my first time, I was delighted by the beloved Mediterranean beaches and romantic French Riviera style of this world-renown town. Yet what really won me over was acquainting myself with Saint Tropez via the five-star Hotel Lou Pinet. It is more than just a place to stay, embodying the distinct local allure and crafting authentic experiences which will stay with one forever.
There’s Nothing Like First Impressions
Arriving at Hotel Lou Pinet I felt like I was coming home to Saint Tropez. That is an exclusive home of my dreams. Set in one of the beautiful residential neighborhoods, the elegant yet unpretentious exterior welcomed me in for countless delightful discoveries throughout my stay.
I was irresistibly drawn in by the warm greeting of the staff and an exciting glimpse of a colorful indoor mural in the restaurant. It created an invigorating flood of colors that flowed with the soft hues and appealing contours of chic decor. The mural, painted by local artist Alexandre Benjamin Navet, depicts iconic scenes of the town and exemplifies the vibrancy of Saint Tropez in all its colorful glory. It had me even more eager to discover these local sites.
When in Saint Tropez, Relax and Indulge
After checking in, I found myself on the spacious outdoor terrace relishing a glass of lovely rosé under a majestic pine tree. From here, you can look out over the nearby serene pool and the three charming Mediterranean style buildings that house the 34 plush rooms and suites. The layout of Hotel Lou Pinet felt wonderfully close together, yet also balanced with intentionally crafted spaces for privacy and relaxation.
While it was tempting to stay outside in the beautiful sunshine, I was delighted by how the colors and light continued into my room. The floor-to-ceiling windows and French door entrance opened up to the lush, green lawn, a neighboring olive tree, and the lounge area and turquoise swimming pool (the largest in Saint Tropez).
The Art and Nature of Hotel Lou Pinet
Recently transformed by French architect Francois Vieillecroze and French architect, interior decorator and designer Charles Zana, Hotel Lou Pinet and each of its rooms are designed to optimize the natural light and is uniquely decorated with artwork by various French and international artists. This has been one of the cornerstones of the hotel’s recent redevelopment since it became part of the Maisons Pariente luxury boutique hotel group.
Everywhere I walked, the hotel grounds were clothed by an inspiring garden area designed by Mediterranean landscaper Jean Mus. The quaint stone walking paths are lined with the region’s herbs, such as lavender and rosemary, while jasmine flowers and the area’s beloved pine trees fill the air with the most lovely scents. It is easy to see why the name of the hotel is pinet, which means pine trees.
The various public spaces felt wonderfully open and connected to each other like I was in the midst of a private villa rather than a hotel. Even the room keys were actual keys rather than the typical magnetic cards.
Read more about the growing collection of the luxury boutique hotel group, Maisons Pariente: Indulge in the Natural Luxuries of Provence at the Hotel Crillon le Brave
The Culinary Side of Hotel Lou Pinet
For dining, the Hotel Lou Pinet features the Beefbar in their vibrant indoor dining room or outside on the romantic terrace. Created by Riccardo Giraudi, this international restaurant concept is also in several other locations, such as Paris, Monaco, and Hong Kong, to name a few.
Here you can experience a variety of savory tastes with their street food style small plates, ideal for sharing. There’s exotic ceviche, carpaccio, fresh salads, and even wood-fired oven pizza. But the star of the show is their exceptional meats such as Black Angus Prime, Wagyu WX, and (my favorite) the superb Kobe beef. And there are of course vegetarian plates, from fresh guacamole and beetroot carpaccio to the vegetarian panzerotti, seasonable vegetables, and more.
It’s no surprise that one of my entrees of choice was the flavourful ‘I Ravioli Fatti a Mano’, which is handmade ravioli stuffed with Kobe beef and covered in a summer truffle cream sauce with smoked almonds, parmesan, and fine slices of summer truffles.
Of course, no gastronomy experience in France is complete without pairing your food with exceptional local wines. Any wine-lover will be like a kid in a candy shop here thanks to the area’s abundance of superb wineries. I came to love, and especially recommend, enjoying the hotel’s select wines from Domaine Siouvette (more on this below).
And yes, you will want to leave room for dessert. But it will be hard to choose between the heavenly lavender soufflé, chocolate soufflé, homemade ice cream, and other sweet delights.
Time for the Spa and Wellness Area
To visit the spa, you descend through an entrance of natural rock as though entering a cave. Inside, the pure surroundings and style are as soothing as the tranquil music and gentle scents.
I had an hour-long facial which felt more relaxing and indulgent than many massages I’ve had. Between the sumptuous skincare products of Tata Harper replenishing my skin and the upper-shoulder massage so perfectly administered, I felt indulged and rejuvenated.
Only the best products are used here, featuring the luxurious skincare line of Tata Harper, a leader in high-end, organic skincare. In addition to facials, make sure to benefit from the massages and other treatments offered, as well as the hammam. There is also a beautiful gym next to the spa and fitness experiences provided, like morning yoga classes in the garden.
What to Do in Saint Tropez
With the hotel located only a 5-minute drive from the Place de Lices (where the market takes place twice a week and the locals play pétanque), it’s easy to arrive in the heart of town and explore the enchanting old-world streets and architecture. Make your way to the port for a drink at the legendary Senequier. Here you can enjoy an aperitif while people watching against the backdrop of scooters parking and marvelous yachts along the dock.
Then take time to simply wander the narrow cobblestoned streets, taking in the picturesque buildings adorned with balconies, classic wooden shutters, and covered in ivy and flowers. For those whole love shopping, you’ll be in heaven with the various artisan stores and boutiques that line the streets. And when you need to recharge, sit and relax at any of the picturesque cafes and restaurants that are as plentiful as the shops.
Of course, visiting the renown beaches and clubs of Saint Tropez are a given. If you want to be in the midst of celebrities and the super-rich, make sure to visit the most famous of them all, the Club 55 on the Pampelonne beach. Starting as a kitchen in a humble wood hut in 1955, it was propelled to fame when family founder Madame de Colmont cooked for Brigitte Bardot and the film crew of the French movie “…And God Created Woman”. It remains today the most popular club in Saint Tropez and one of the most famous in the world.
Custom Experiences by Hotel Lou Pinet
The Hotel Lou Pinet can arrange transportation needs you may have and custom experiences for enhancing your stay in Saint Tropez. They are only 20 – 25 minutes from the private jet airport of La Mole and can arrange transfers from Nice by helicopter or boat, which takes only 1 hour.
On my last day there, my travel companions and I hopped into classic Citroen cars that the hotel arranged for us, and we were taken for the perfect French Sunday drive. We went through the old-world streets of Saint Tropez, stopped off at the Pampelonne beach, and then headed into the beautiful surrounding countryside for lunch and wine tasting at the local winery of Domaine Siouvette.
Unique Wine Experiences at the Domaine Siouvette
At the local winery of Domaine Siouvette, only a 30-minute drive from Saint Tropez, we had an incredible wine tasting and homemade family lunch with the owners. Surrounded by acres of bright-green grapevines and in the verdant outdoor courtyard of their family home, I felt immersed in the charm of French family life and the culture of wine-making.
Since 1836, the property has been growing grapes and producing wines. The family today still lives in the beautiful home that is the heart of the property and together have made Domaine Siouvette an award-winning winery. They are especially known for their rosés, which, no surprise, were my favorite.
The winery does not offer public tours, but an exclusive wine tour and tasting such as we had, can be arranged by the Hotel Lou Pinet. The Domain Siouvette also provides the hotel with its own private-label wines for your exclusive enjoyment at the Hotel Lou Pinet.
To learn more about the Domain Siouvette, visit vins-siouvette.com.
The Original Saint Tropez Kind of Luxury
I had assumed that Saint Tropez was all glitz and glam, celebrities and mega-rich (which it still has plenty of). Instead, I found myself pleasantly surprised by its bohemian spirit, high-end vintage style, and old-world charm.
The Hotel Lou Pinet is keeping alive the original Saint Tropez kind of luxury that is engaging and gratifying. They provide the ideal balance of authentic Saint Tropez, of tranquil spaces and high-end services to retreat to in the midst of taking in all the excitement of sea and sun, glamour and richness. If you want to not only visit Saint Tropez, but truly experience its authentic culture and luxury, make yourself at home at the Hotel Lou Pinet.
Nightly rates at Hotel Lou Pinet start from 430 Euros on a bed & breakfast basis.
For reservations and information visit www.loupinet.com, email email@example.com, or call +33 6 09 55 55 44.