24-hour room service: La Réserve Ramatuelle, Côte d'Azur, France

Decadent pampering in a super-rich setting

St-Tropez has been synonymous with jet-set glamour ever since Brigitte Bardot filmed And God Created Woman here in 1955, popularising both the French Riviera and the bikini in one sultry swoop. Today, it remains the place where film stars, rock stars, footballers, supermodels and the super-rich step off their mega-yachts to preen and be seen. But once the partying is done, and the long lenses start to pry, where do the well-heeled turn for privacy and respite?

Tucked around the headland on a secluded forested hill overlooking the Mediterranean, away from the glitz of St-Tropez and the party beaches of Pampelonne, La Réserve Ramatuelle is the perfect place to hole up for some first-class pampering.

This well-hidden, exclusively priced and exquisitely presented luxury spa resort is the newest stablemate of the Geneva and Paris hotels of the same name, owned by the French industrialist, hotelier and winemaker Michel Reybier.

Opened on the site of a former 1950s resort last year to a stunning design by French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the buildings convey a nostalgic kind of futurism reminiscent of the Thunderbirds' headquarters. The beige concrete lines and swooping half-pipe of a roof leave you wondering where the hidden launchpads are – beneath the long, narrow infinity pool, perhaps? Or somewhere in the belly of the building, where the 1,000sq m spa and fitness centre are carved out of the rock? You can certainly imagine Lady Penelope coming here to get her strings unwound.

In keeping with the utopian architectural style, the staff are effortlessly poised and polite, informally attired yet smart as a button. The restaurant service is impeccable, the food light and delicious, and the concierge the most helpful man in France. You might imagine that such exclusivity would breed snootiness in hotel staff. Not here. When I arrived with my wife and baby daughter in our 10-year-old VW Golf – the windscreen cracked and smeared with every flying insect from Calais to the Côte d'Azur and the paraphernalia of new parenthood bursting out of the boot – it was never going to be the most stylish entrance. Yet the welcome we received was grace personified. The concierge tracked down a windscreen repair service in minutes, a task which was taking my insurance company days to accomplish.

La Réserve was to provide two nights of luxury on our French driving holiday, and it didn't disappoint. Even a 33cl bottle of Evian gets treated like royalty here: ask for some water by the pool and the little chap arrives in its own clear plastic bag of ice with a draw string, accompanied by a can of Evian face spray – just in case the water alone is insufficient to cool you down (price: €5). This is decadence of the highest order, where the sublime and the ridiculous happily blur – so long as money is no object.

Location

A 15-minute drive from St-Tropez, and an even shorter drive from the beautifully crumbly Provençal hilltown of Ramatuelle, La Réserve surveys the Med from a nature reserve on the south of the St-Tropez peninsula. The estate is dotted with villas that are also available to rent, all serviced by the hotel. The nearest airports are St-Tropez (28km, with flights only to Geneva), Toulon (63km) and Nice (122km). Hotel transfers in a chauffeur-driven car from Toulon and Nice start at €280 one way. The nearest train station is Saint-Raphael, 40 km away, from which transfers are offered for €180 one way.

Comfort

Minimalist, muted, coolly lit and eminently stylish, the seven rooms and 16 suites range in size from 50 to 100sq m, and frame the panorama perfectly. They are all south-facing, with sea views from private terraces or gardens. Our garden room (number 50) had a huge double bed, a large comfy beige sofa, a Bose iPod dock, a ceiling-mounted flat-screen TV and a white leather swivel chair that any Bond villain would have been at home stroking a cat in.

The bathroom, which ran parallel along the whole length of the room behind a dividing wall, featured a giant spa bathtub and a monsoon shower. This exceptional en-suite aqua-therapy was trumped only by the hotel spa; a subterranean haven with 12 treatment cabins, fitness centre, a series of seaweed baths, an indoor pool with jet streams to swim against or pummel stubborn muscles into submission, hammam, sauna – and a glass model of a shark projecting its own moving image on to a wall.

La Réserve Ramatuelle, Chemin de la Quessine, Ramatuelle, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur, France (00 33 4 94 44 94 44; lareserve-ramatuelle.com)

Rooms 5 stars
Value 3 stars
Service 5 stars

Doubles start at €650 including breakfast. Spa treatments from €60

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Sport
Wayne Rooney warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane
football
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Administrator

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
    DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
    Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

    How we met

    Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

    Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

    Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
    The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015