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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
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
  • Get to the point
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

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power