Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

La Réserve Ramatuelle


Supremely stylish 5 star Saint-Tropez hotel with staggering sea views

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La Réserve Ramatuelle
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La Réserve Ramatuelle


Situated on a stunning peninsular, close to the Saint Tropez beaches, with unrivalled views of the sea

Travel Information

Nice airport - 1.5 hours, Marseilles airport - 2 hours, Toulon airport - 45 minutes

Top Tips

Just 2km from Saint-Tropez and closer still to the beaches, it is easy to dip in and out of the hustle and bustle of the town and drop by the new beach club

5-Star X-Factors

Stunning style, attention to detail, 2 Michelin-starred restaurant and mesmerising sea views À la Plage is La Rèserve's stunning new beach club on Pampelonne beach, designed by Philippe Starck.

A place of perfection

We all like to say that we are striving for perfection. But what if we come across it? Well, La Réserve Ramatuelle is certainly as close as it gets. Even on our first visit, soon after opening, I found it hard to see what the charming GM was pointing out in terms of 'flaws' that were to be corrected during the first winter hibernation. Changing a veneer tone perhaps? Or moving an urn to another corner of a suite's terrace? It all looked perfect to me and it's even better now, especially with the new beach club, À La Plage, now open.

When we arrived, I genuinely forgot I was on the outskirts of Europe's most star-studded glittering port, Saint-Tropez. This is because La Réserve, although only minutes from this buzzing village, is set in a nature reserve. What's more, this 5-star hotel has the most staggering vantage point atop a hill with views across the sea as far as the eye will take you. Once you have parked your car and made your way down the steps to the Aman-esque entrance, you are instantly transported.

This feeling of purity of perspective, combining neat lines with the drama of nature, gives La Réserve an exotic quality that is not often felt in Europe and is one of the reasons you are able to relax at such a pace. Another is the fact that the staff, almost perfect themselves (Armani-styled with GQ good looks and eyes to match the sea and sky beyond) are exceptionally nice. It all feels a little heavenly here, the sort of spot you dream about when in need of an escape.

Secret refuge

La Réserve is described as 'a new secret refuge' and was designed by renowned architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte (also responsible for Relais de Chambord in the Loire Valley), a man who is passionate about integrating architecture with its natural surroundings. He was certainly blessed with this location. But La Réserve, unlike the surrounding glamorous boutique hotels, is also a spa retreat, a place to rejuvenate, even detox.

Now that may sound a little paradoxical for such a locale, but in fact you can tailor your stay to suit your needs. You can dip into the 'good life' and return to the reserve for some deep tissue pampering and roasted market vegetables; or you can stay on high octane living throughout. Alternatively, you can choose to be totally pampered, getting the most from an all-round bespoke programme that prides itself on health and well-being above all else.

À la Plage

La Rèserve Ramatuelle's new beach club opened in April 2019, and has been designed by none other than Philippe Starck. Perfectly positioned on Pampelonne beach at the end of Route de l'Epi, this sets a new standard for Saint-Tropez beach clubs. With a bar, restaurant, beach shop and sunbathing, Starck has taken a light whimsical approach to revive the chic, bohemian days of Saint-Tropez in the '60s and as a resident of the hotel you can take regular shuttles back and forth, or into the village.

Feeling good

It is obvious that La Réserve would appeal to those of us who love outstanding spa facilities. This is a spa that describes itself as 'dedicated to a new quality of life' with individually-targeted programmes lasting a day or longer, while expert therapists and specialists trained in anti-ageing, energy building, and whole body 'fixing' are available for the duration of your stay. Treatments should always be booked in advance. The theme of water is genuinely blissful and they have created a special environment that encourages a desire for self-improvement. There is no punishing regime here; it could even be a little addictive.

So while your stay could encompass a personal mission to lose weight, reduce stress, slow down the ageing process, improve fitness and generally revive; deep relaxation could also be achieved with less. In a sensual southern Provence paradise, beside one of the most picturesque villages in France, Ramatuelle, simply soaking up the views and ambiance from your private terrace or garden will leave you feeling extremely enriched.

Dining in

While it's always a treat indulging in a lingering lunch at Club 55 or checking out the port swank from a front row seat at Sénéquier, the food in nearby restaurants does not hit great highs. However, La Resérve’s La Voile, by chef Eric Canino, delivers plates with intense flavour, always fresh, exquisitely presented, and remarkably filling considering he doesn't like cream or butter. He, thankfully, does hit the high notes and focuses on reinventing the seductive dishes of Provence with an emphasis on flavour and well-being, earning his first Michelin-star in 2015 and a second in 2020.

I had perhaps the best take on a Niçoise salad ever; tuna close to Nobu sashimi, with crushed spices around the edge, just enough gooey balsamic reduction and warm truffled quails eggs lightly poached on top. Again, the menu here is designed to nourish in the positive sense, however, I did spot an indulgent chocolate trio that must wrack up a few hundred calories, and you can discuss a more filling alternative with the chef if you are missing your T-bone and chips. The restaurant is not sanctimonious in any way, it's just that the philosophy is all about feeling good; seriously good. There is also a notable wine list, which is not entirely surprising; the owner is also the proprietor of Château Cos d'Estournel, whose 2009 vintage scored 100 points...

Suite Surrender

I honestly think you could just hang out in your suite with your terrace or garden and go no further. They are divine. The beds are like eating an aero bar after lent (peppermint in my case), the bathrooms are slick in the extreme and the lighting is blissful throughout. The interiors are invitingly contemporary and extremely warm, while every one of the 23 suites has either a large terrace or private garden with jaw dropping views across the sea and down to thick umbrella pines and the glistening pool. There are also 19 of the most incredible Provencal-style villas with pools all set in private gardens with stunning sea-views, ideal for a splendid family treat.

Saving up to return

Well, I still go back to near perfection in retrospect. I had a 'signature' back massage (quite beyond anything I have ever experienced); I have renewed my allegiance to Crème de la Mer face cream; I have been to Nobu twice and thought of La Réserve's tuna each time; and I am uncertain whether I will ever find a bed quite as good. I do remember, however, that there is a price to pay for staying, but for those that leave Trip Advisor for the less privileged, this is the place for you.

La Réserve also offers 14 private villas with 3-6 bedrooms which are dotted around the hillside, offering privacy and sumptuous luxury for groups of families and friends. I can't wait!

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant

Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer