Saint Tropez makes headlines every year thanks to the mega yachts that anchor in the glamorous port and the starlettes who dance on tables, drinking champagne like water at the clubs lined up like pearls along famed Pampelonne Beach. But this phenomenon is nothing new. Saint Tropez has lured the jetset for years, ever since Brigitte Bardot zipped around on her Vespa while filming “And God Created Woman” in nearby Ramatuelle, and Mick and Bianca married here in 1971.
I’ve been visiting Saint Tropez for a decade now and yes, the narrow streets are clogged during summer and yes, the Tuesday and Saturday market on Place des Lices is impossible to maneuver. But I still love it. Underneath the Louis Vuitton and Chanel embossed facade is the sunhat-wearing, sherbet-colored fishing village I know and love, where heated games of pétanque take place under leafy trees, where families stroll and play, and where friends gather for a cold glass of rosé, despite the crowds.
And that’s what I call the “Saint Tropez Way”—a perfect mix of luxe and lax— and nowhere does it more seamlessly than the iconic Byblos hotel in the heart of St. Tropez.
“Byblos was designed to resemble a typical Provencal village, in the heart of Saint Tropez”, explains owner Antoine Chevanne.
It’s true. The hotel looks like a cluster of shuttered village houses, typical of Provence, in colors as vibrant as a Matisse painting—lemon yellow, azur blue, cantaloupe. All 50 rooms and 41 suites at Byblos have been recently renovated (last year) with a new design, and have also been resized, mostly enlarged. For example, the smallest room at the hotel measures 323 square feet, which I think was the size of my first apartment, and unheard of in European hotels. Larger rooms and suites have private terraces.
But at Byblos (yes just one name like Madonna and Sting) nobody stays too long in the rooms. There are simply too many other cool places to hang out around the hotel.
Located in the middle of the of the hotel, is Le B., which is the bar, restaurant, terrace space surrounding the refreshing pool, and serves a continuous menu from breakfast until that infamous, “I need a late night snack” craving hits you at midnight. Famed chef Alain Ducasse and his restaurant Spoon have called Byblos home for 10 years and it’s still a romantic and lantern lit oasis at the entrance of the hotel, just a champagne cork throw from the Places des Lices.The Sisley Spa is irresistible, and reminiscent of a 1,001 Arabian Nights Fantasy. The Lebanese room was created by transporting stone by stone from a palace in Beirut— Quelle extravagance! The spa offers every possible treatment to relax, purify and indulge your senses, using Sisley products of course, and the standards are excellent. And then there’s the hotel’s famous nightclub Les Caves du Roy, notorious for its DJs, hedonistic scene, and an international and celebrity clientele that reads like a who’s who list at the Oscars, or rehab.
But families shouldn’t feel as if this isn’t the place for them. Au Contraire!
Children are warmly welcomed at Byblos, a safe haven for the mini moguls, walking distance from the town center but far enough away to feel protected from the crowds and cars in high season. The unusually large rooms make easy to coordinate sleeping arrangements for small babies and children, and there are even extended rooms for nannies, grandparents or caregivers, should you be dragging them along. The swimming pool has a special children’s area, and there is also a kids’ menu at Le.B
Byblos also offers guests a shuttle to and from Pampelonne Beach, unlimited access to the fitness center, and wifi in the rooms and pool area.
To me, Byblos is synonymous with Saint Tropez—that perfect summertime cocktail of luxe and lax; a healthy coupe full of Riviera mystique.
Every time I visit, I think of that Dionne Warwick song from 1968 “Do You Know The Way To San Jose?” but of course I’m substituting Saint Tropez for San Jose.
I know the “Saint Tropez Way” and I hope you find your way here too.
Please accept my apologies because you will now have that song stuck in your head for hours.
Do you know the way…. la la la la la la la
Double occupancy rates from €560-€2,960
The hotel is open from April – October.
Visit the Byblos website for more information.
Check prices online at Expedia.
Kimberley Lovato is a freelance writer who has been known to dance on tables in Saint Tropez