When the brightly lit bustle of St Tropez gets too much, La Réserve Ramatuelle is your release, offering heart-stoppingly magnificent views over the Med from a crow’s-nest setting just outside the city. The spectacular spa is the star performer, but the imaginative detox-friendly cuisine and the modern all-white rooms turn out memorable supporting roles.
State-of-the-art spa offering Crème de la Mer treatments
Floor-to-ceiling windows put the Med centre stage
Forget-your-cares calm within reach of St Tropez
A 30-minute spa treatment each
In the know
Also need to know:
Two rooms are wheelchair-accessible.A pretty-as-a-postcard beach is about 15km away in Pampelonne bay; ask the concierge to reserve a seat on the free shuttle, which runs from 10am to 10.30pm.
Missoni swimsuit, superstar-in-waiting sunglasses, and a determination to detox.
Keep it pure and simple: post-beach chic, crisp linens and minimal make-up. Sun-kissed skin is a must.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
This review is taken from our guidebook, Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection: France.
La Réserve in Ramatuelle, over the cusp weekend of September/October. Good. The St Tropez peninsula will be awash with the party crowd from Les Voiles de St Tropez for the season’s last laugh. Very good. Glitch in the works: Météo-France forecasts BIG rain. Bad. Then again, and to paraphrase Woody Allen: ‘Boy-meets-girl in the sunshine – could be platonic. Boy-meets-girl in the rain – could be serious.’
Luckily for Mr and Mrs Smith, Météo-France’s Monsieur Poisson had got it wrong. But the Franco-Swiss owners of La Réserve have got it right, very right, creating a remarkable, modern-aesthetic hotel of 23 rooms and 11 villas in a private domain of 14 acres.
If you thought the Swiss only made cuckoo clocks and played cache-cache with money, you’d be off the mark. They also possess an incomparable eye for a site: we get jaw-stretching views of a wine-dark Mediterranean, parasol pines and olive trees of near-Biblical age. This isn’t hyperbole – the setting of La Réserve is spectacular.
La Réserve has turned the clocks back where it matters (setting, service, calm, space) and forward to where it matters, too (comfort, design, decor, privacy, grasping when less really is more). And there’s a spa, as well – the size of Leamington – with an in-house doctor to advise on body-streamlining treatments, in serious French style. However, our arrival on a sleepy fin de saison Sunday didn’t augur too well. The carpark told its own predictable story: Geneva plates and Monaco’s dinky sky-blue ones. I shuddered. The plastic was melting already, and we hadn’t even crossed the sleek threshold. We were ushered into the CinemaScope lobby, and swept along by the panorama of the Baie de Bonporteau to suite 21. Mr Smith immediately spied the bar’s long balcony looming above, which rendered the 60-square- metre private terrace not so, er, private.
‘Thank you for the upgrade to this suite, mademoiselle, but could you please downgrade us?’ Mrs Smith had never heard those words before. A perplexed smile, perhaps, but we were ushered straight out; the Swiss management have napalmed the infamous St Tropez arrogance. So, off we trotted to a junior suite, a snip at €840. Smaller, yes, but perfect. For traditionalists like this Mr and Mrs Smith, it had an instant calming effect, clutter-free in cream and neutral tones, with expanses of dark wood. No print curtains, and not a generic painting in sight. No need – the design, our private 30-square-metre lawned terrace, the view of the Mediterranean and Cap Taillat was enough, and more. We both flopped onto the bed with contented grins.
Given the choice of lunch or dinner, we prefer ‘long lunch’. Invigorated by the sea air, we mooched up to the bar. Freshly made Rossinis (juice from strawberries, not cartons) in hand, we impolitely peered down into the gardens of suites 20–23, grateful for our downgrade. (This ‘private but not really’ dottiness, we are assured, will be rectified before long.)
Lunch: suffice to say, nouvelle cuisine is alive and well here, at nouveau-riche prices. Our sea-bass for two was an eye-popping €112, and a bottle of Château Pampelonne rosé (which you can guzzle for a fraction of the price at the eponymous winery, 10 minutes away), was €50. Even by St Tropez standards, that kind of mark-up could feel like trop-to-pay, if you weren’t feeling flush. The service at every meal was slick, polite and bilingual. However, were you here for much more than a long weekend, the almost curt lunch and dinner menu might prove challenging.
The toss of a coin determined our next move: Mr Smith to the spa and Mrs Smith to the pool. Hewn from the living rock, the spa is quite extraordinary. Here are the stats: 1,000 square metres, 13 treatment rooms, 24 different treatments, indoor heated pool, hammam and a gleaming gym full of contraptions and wizardry. The massage itself: sublime. I even slept the sleep of the innocent. Mrs Smith was equally laudatory about life poolside. She had ensconced herself at the eastern end, overlooking the grounds and the sea. No white plastic furniture here – rather soft, industrial-sized beanbags, and fabric-and-wood loungers with plump towels. Pool boys are on hand to provide free (yes!) bottles of Evian, and the pool itself is long and shallow and ideal for relaxing.
La Réserve Ramatuelle is magnificent. At their peril, fine hotels forget detail, detail, detail. It’s the dinosaurs who cling to location, location, location. Here’s a tale: we returned from supper (don’t skip sunset cocktails, whatever you do) to find the perennial cat’s cradle of Mr Smith’s headphones painstakingly untangled. As neat as fresh snow trails, they’d been placed on the desk. From any hotel, anywhere, that’s impressive. Then, they went one step further. They did not deposit any platitude and/or chocolate on the Siberian goose pillows. Sometimes, it’s what a hotel doesn’t do that makes it really impressive.
Chemin de la Quessine, 83350, Ramatuelle St Tropez, France
Ramatuelle St Tropez
5.0 mi / 8.0 km from city centre
- Valet parking
- Aerobics instruction
- Exercise gym
- Internet services
- On-Site parking
- Complimentary in-room coffee or tea
- Room service
- Onsite laundry
Dining is a relaxed affair with food served both in the softly lit lounge and on the terrace under breeze-rippled canopies. Menus feature Southern French staples such as grilled sea bass and local roast lamb, with healthy, holistic leanings – the kitchen will work with the spa to offer you a menu attuned to your body’s biorhythms.
Make sure to get a table by the glass doors to make the most of the Med views.
Food is served until 10pm and the bar is open until 2am; drinks can be ordered any time in the lobby or around the pool.
A selection of starters, mains and desserts from the restaurant menu is available 24 hours a day.
Cocktails are served on the terraces and in the lounge-ish lobby, where enormous picture windows let in views of green hills and blue sea.