Make like Fifties film stars on a break from demanding directors at Villa Marie Saint Tropez, on a pretty hillside in Ramatuelle (obliging staff will comply with the fantasy). Utterly lovely grounds, the bohemian style, a relaxed-to-horizontal feel, and a clever chef are just a taster of the hotel’s heavyweight charms. (Of course, Saint Tropez’s beaches, bars and boutiques aren’t bad either.) This is the Riviera, at its most ravishing.
Noon; earliest check-in, 4pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from $453.17 (€409), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.30 per person per night on check-out.
Rates usually exclude the buffet breakfast (€32 a day for adults; €14 a day for children). Guests get free access to the wellness centre.
Should walking to the spa seem a tad onerous, request treatments in your room.
The hotel is closed from 8 October 2017 until May 2018.
At the hotel
Gorgeous gardens; free WiFi. In rooms: TV, minibar, Pure Altitude bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Survey the peaceful pine forest from one of the Villa Rooms, whose boons include four-poster beds and saucy open-plan bathrooms.
There’s a heated pool by the terrace (bring Riviera-worthy swimwear).
Unwind at the blissful Pure Altitude Spa, which is decorated with seashells and pops of turquoise. Soothe sun-kissed skin with the jasmine-packed after-sun treatment, or the Himalayan-rose regenerating ritual.
Bring threads befitting an A-lister’s yacht; some Acqua di Parma, perhaps.
Little Smiths are welcome, but beyond the basics, there aren’t many distractions for them. A ‘baby welcome kit’ can be added to rooms (€25 a day); an extra bed for under-11s can be added to Junior Suites and Suites (€80 a day).
Sit beside your fave plant pot or sea-surveying spot.
Understated Gallic glamour: silk, cashmere and lace.
Traditional Provençal cuisine is served in the elegant restaurant, Dolce Vita, which sprawls across a leafy, plant-graced veranda. Chef Cédric Luisin rustles up a brilliant bouillabaisse.
We love a bar in an utterly lovely garden: Villa Marie Bar is exactly that. Sit on one of the comfy sofas or the wrought-iron chairs, scattered with colour-pop cushions, and order something befitting Saint Tropez (champagne, one imagines). That said, the gin cocktails are pretty splendid too...
Drinks are served until 10pm in low season (May–June; September); midnight in high season (July and August). Dinner is available until 9.30pm during low season; 10.30pm, in high.
No hunger pangs here: you’ll be fed around the clock. Order hot options to your room during the restaurant’s opening hours; snacks are on offer in the afternoon; cold meals can be requested throughout the night.
The hotel enjoys a prime location: it’s perched on a scenic hill facing iconic Pampelonne Bay, home to Saint Tropez’s longest, most popular and famous beach.
Toulon-Hyeres National Airport is the closest to the hotel, an hour’s drive (www.toulon-hyeres.aeroport.fr/en). Nice International Airport serves more destinations, but it’s 90 minutes away by car (http://en.nice.aeroport.fr). Smith24 can arrange transfers; just give them a call.
Frejus-St Raphaël station is 38 kilometres from the hotel (a 50-minute drive), with SNCF services connecting to Paris, Avignon, Geneva and other destinations.
At the first set of traffic lights as you enter Saint Tropez, take the right turn toward Route des Plages–Ramatuelle. Continue for two kilometres, then take the first right after the sign for Chemin Val de Rian. Continue for one kilometre and you’ll reach Villa Marie.
The hotel’s pine-forest location can make it a bit tricky to find. If you’re relying on Google Maps, type in ‘Hotel Villa Marie, Chemin de Val de Rian, Ramatuelle’. On a mobile phone or mobile GPS, use: ‘Route des Marres, Ramatuelle’. If you’re using your car’s GPS, use the following coordinates: latitude : 43.245763; longitude : 6.638722. Confused? Call the hotel when you’re close and they’ll guide you.
Worth getting out of bed for
Relax by the pool, soaking up those views (and that sunshine); treat yourselves to a spa treatment or two. Get lost – on purpose – in the gardens, and only come out of hiding for the bar. Hire a bike or scooter and gad about Pampelonne Beach and Saint Tropez, with help from Blue Bikes, at Route des Plages 43 ZA, Saint Claude. Treat your taste buds to a wine tasting in the grand surrounds of Chateau Minuty, on Route de la Berle, in Gassin. Live the high life on a yacht – for a day at least – by chartering your own vessel. Head into Saint Tropez, surely the world’s trendiest fishing village, and fish for big-name garms. Reward your thirst with sunset cocktails at the famous Sénéquier. Throw some moves at the Plage des Palmiers beach club before soaking up Saint Tropez’s legendary nightlife.
Les Caprice des Deux(+33 (0)4 94 97 76 78) at 40 rue du Portail Neuf promises to deliver: ‘all of Provence at your table’. Come hungry then. In its 20-odd years, this family-run restaurant has regularly added to its awards cabinet. Seafood-fans will fit right in atLe Girelier(+33 (0)4 94 97 03 87), which serves plumptious prawns, toothsome tuna and moreish mussels – with a generous portion of portside views from its perch at Quai Jean Jaurès. For a meal with added romance – courtesy of a candlelit patio – dine at Le Strand, below the Citadelle at 2 rue du Petit Bal (+33 (0)4 94 97 43 22). Le Strand’s not-so-secret weapons include a champagne bar and late-night menu. Not to mention the summer truffle salad, morel mushroom macaroni and unmissable Nutella mousse...
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 bohemian hotel in Ramatuelle and unpacked their diamonds and deck shoes, a full account of their French break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Villa Marie Saint Tropez…
If you thought you needed a bodyguard in your entourage and an Oscar in your trophy cabinet in order to properly enjoy the heady glamour of Saint Tropez, think again. Turns out all you need is a bedroom at Villa Marie, a bohemian homestead on a ravishing Ramatuelle hillside. Movie-star-worthy flourishes here include: a peaceful, paparazzi-eluding pine-forest setting, antiques and artworks a-go-go, an accomplished French chef (#bouillabaisse) and romantic rooms with claw-foot tubs and views of Pampelonne Bay, which is only home to Saint Tropez’s sexiest beach (saying something, when you consider the competition). Every starlet/off-duty director needs a spa to unwind in: Villa Marie’s dishes out jasmine- and rose-packed rituals in a suitably soothing space. How utterly Riviera.
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