Racing along the coastline, windows down and the sun on my arm draped out the window, I’m on my way to Saint Tropez. Originally only accessible to the fabulously wealthy, who lined the piers with mega yachts, in recent years this iconic beach town has seen boutique hotels pop up along its sun soaked streets and throughout the hillsides covered in vineyards. One wrong turn and I find myself bumping along an unpaved vineyard road barely wide enough to accommodate my Fiat before bursting back onto the pavement within meters of the gates of Villa Marie. (There is a proper road to the hotel, if that is your thing.)
Within moments of my arrival I find myself seated on a terrace, glass of rose in hand and the feeling I was being received by old friends. The wild off-roading trip to get here quickly forgotten as I glance around the persimmon colored lounge and onto views of the yacht-spangled Gulf of Saint Tropez beyond. Plush seating and Moroccan inspired pillows line the walls of this boho chic hilltop retreat, which feels more like a home than hotel.
Secluded in a forest of pines, yet only 10 from the bustle of town and Club 55, Villa Marie is the perfect Côte d’Azur retreat. 45 unique rooms and suites are dressed in gentle pastel hues and antique furnishings, with romantic touches like a clawfoot tub in the middle of the bedroom, and four poster beds with Missoni clad headboards. Breakfast is served in the vine-covered inner courtyard, cocktails by the pool with views of the Bay of Pampelonne, and dinner at Dolce Vita which feels like a mermaid’s grotto with it’s coral upholstery and mosaic-clad bar is a must.
Whether you are a fisherman, a wanderer, a romantic, or a lost soul Saint Tropez will charm one and all. If you want to venture beyond the famous beach club cabanas, Tuesday and Saturday morning the Saint Tropez hosts its open air market on the famous Place des Lices, with endless tents housing handmade straw hats, vintage silver, smocked baby clothes, organic asparagus and vintage Chanel. Just around the corner is the ever-so-chic boutique Blanc Bleu where I want one of everything including the furniture on display (that is not for sale). Farther afield, local gems like Chateau Babyrolles (for a glass of rose) or Grimaud, a charming hilltop village covered in flowers are both within a short drive and well worth exploring.