A Starck-designed super spa in the hillsides south of St Tropez, Lily of the Valley is the wellness retreat for you if you’d like to cleanse and drink cocktails. If you’re really looking to reboot, book onto one of the encouragingly named Ultra programmes and make use of the elaborate 2,000sq m spa space – or simply sign up for sparkly sea views and frosé on tap. Eating takes a similarly saint or sinner approach: find plant-based pure health at the wellness village, or enjoy Med classics on the terrace at Vista. The spa may be huge, but the surrounding countryside – with its hilly trails, sun-baked beaches and pine forests – is the backdrop for your rebirth.
Get this when you book through us:
A €75 spa credit to put towards a treatment; GoldSmiths will also get a room upgrade (subject to availability)
Noon. Earliest check-in, 4pm. Both are flexible, on request.
Double rooms from £387.11 (€463), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates usually include a continental breakfast. Extras may be ordered for an additional cost.
The beach is within walking distance of this bucolic bolthole – and luckily for you, sunloungers, parasols and chilled rosé await down at the Lily by the Sea beach club.
At the hotel
Gym, Gigaro Bay fine sand beach, sauna, hammam, snow shower and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: beach bag, sun hat, locally made La Bottega bath products, TV, tablets, minibar, air-conditioning, tea- and coffee-making kit, and free bottled water.
Our favourite rooms
The rooms all have that inimitable Starck style, with abstract-art cushions, thatched lampshades and curvy pottery, so you have a lot to look at – but in the sea-facing rooms, they almost needn’t have bothered. Book a Med-facing Deluxe Sea View Room or a Deluxe Sea Suite and watch those azure waves sparkle.
There are two lengthy pools, both outdoor and heated, but the one in the Wellness Village is adults only.
The spa is actually an entire, 2,000sq m ‘village’, with seven treatment rooms and regular retreats (Ultra Sport, Ultra Weight Loss, Ultra Wellness), fitness classes ranging from aqua-biking to TRX and floating yoga, and high-tech Biologique Recherche Esthéderm treatments. There’s a naturopath, osteopath, fitness coach and dietician in residence, and you’ll be able to book in for restorative rituals such as Chinese tui na massages and other tricky-to-pronounce techniques (kansu bol, shiro abhyanga, udvartana…) as well as cryotherapy, radiofrequency (Indiba), pressotherapy and led light therapy. There's also a gym, fitness studios, a heated semi-Olympic pool, saunas, a steam room, and a snow shower.
If you’re here for wellness, bring all the Sweaty Betty and Lululemon your suitcase can handle; along with chic beach threads for keeping up with the St Tropez set.
The hotel has specially adapted rooms available for wheelchair users, but there are lots of steps around the property.
All ages are welcome, and kids can enjoy the beach club as well as a family-friendly, 25-metre pool. Rooms can have twin beds on request. Babysitting is available with a day’s notice for €30 an hour (three-hour minimum).
The hotel uses seasonal, organic and locally sourced produce where possible, along with planet-friendly cleaning and bath products, and lightbulbs.
Stay horizontal on your poolside lounger, settle onto the sea-facing terrace or sequester one of the tables secluded in the grounds.
Remain in spa mode at Village Restaurant but scrub up for Vista.
There are two: Vista and Village Restaurant. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the latter has a plant-based lean, since it’s in the health-focused haven that is the Wellness Village, but fear not: fabulous French fare is alive and well at Vista, which has a star sommelier to encourage decadence. As well as marvellous views, Med-facing Vista has Continental favourites like vitello tonnato and rock-fish soup with rouille, and an excellent catch of the day if you don’t want to undo all of your hard work in the spa. There’s also the Lily by the Sea beach club coming soon down on Gigaro Beach.
In the Côtes de Provence heartland, it would be rude not to mainline the locally produced rosé: stake out a seat on the deck by the main pool and toast to blush-coloured wines everywhere (but especially here) or enjoy a tipple in the Beach Club.
Breakfast hours are 7:30am to 11am. Lunch is served from noon to 2pm, with some all-day favourites available up until 7pm. Dinner service is from 7.30pm to 9pm.
A special in-room menu is available 24 hours a day.
Colline Saint Michel, Boulevard Abel Faivre, Quartier de Gigaro
La Croix Valmer
You’ll find this hill-surrounded luxury hotel in La Croix Valmer on the French Riviera, west along the coast from Nice and just south of St Tropez.
Nice’s airport is closest, a 90-minute drive away. Landing at Marseille is also an option – it’s just under two hours away by car. The hotel can arrange transfers from either hub, for €290 and €380 each way (for up to three passengers) respectively. Taking the helicopter for a spin? the concierge can arrange your arrival into Saint-Tropez La Mole or a private field.
St Raphaël-Valescure is the nearest SNCF station, a 50-minute drive away. Trains from here to Nice run several times a day and take around an hour. The hotel can fetch you from here for €190 (each way, for up to three people).
Lily of the Valley is a 15-minute drive out of the centre of St Tropez. If you’re planning on taking refuge at the wellness resort, you won’t need a hire car – but if you want to cruise along the famous coast, make it a convertible. There’s free valet parking when you arrive.
Les Bateaux de Saint Raphaël is a ferry service linking up the Riviera, with stops including St Raphaël, Fréjus and St Tropez.
Worth getting out of bed for
It’d be wrong not to take advantage of the hotel’s Wellness Village, where you can have a programme tailored to your needs. Hop on a bicycle and explore the hills of La Croix-Valmer, or fine-tune your swing at the nearby Grimaud Golf Court. If that sounds a bit too clean-living, grab a glass of ice-cold rosé and sit by the main pool in time for sunset. The hotel can guide you to the best local markets, arrange cookery classes or wine tastings at neighbouring vineyards, assist with diving and fishing trips, and even set up a pétanque tournament. The concierge will also be able to get you clued up on the coastal walks, (don’t miss Plage de Pampelonne) or set you up with bicycles to cruise down Porquerolles Island. Become an honorary member of the local sailing club, where you can set out on kayaks or try wind-surfing. Join the yacht crowd up in St Tropez or just admire the terracotta boutiques and bobbing boats.
If you don’t want to drive in the dark or pay a St Tropez sort of taxi fare, stay put at the hotel for dinner – or head 25 minutes up to town and check out the ‘culinary arts’ being performed by the wizards at work in the kitchens of La Vague d’Or, at the Cheval Blanc outpost on the aptly named Plage de la Bouillabaisse.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this spa hotel in the South of France and unpacked their athleisure gear, a full account of their healthy break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Lily of the Valley in La Croix-Valmer…
St Tropez has all the glitz, but La Croix-Valmer, in a crowd-free corner just south of the yacht crowd’s home city, turns its nose up (in an effortless French way) at its more showy sisters. In the hillsides above Gigaro Beach, the superstar spa has some of Philippe Starck’s je ne sais quoi, with thatched lampshades, abstract-art-covered cushions and statement green-tiled log-burners in the lobby. Choose between the Ultra Sport, Ultra Weight Loss and Ultra Wellness programmes, which range from four-day ‘Discovery’ schedules to month-long itineraries that aim to leave guests feeling full-blown ‘Reborn’. Resident naturopaths, dieticians, trainers and osteopaths will plot how best to fix you, with your time spent working out, eating well and testing out high-tech treatments like cellulite-banishing and collagen-boosting Indiba slimming techniques, having your skin studied and learning about ‘energy art’. If that all sounds a little too clean-living, keep it classical with fabulous French food, buckets of rosé on chill and sun-worshipping on a Med-facing lounger. A votre santé.