The Telegraph Online
This boutique retreat is teasing, low-key, bling-free - a St Tropez insider secret. Hide out in a bohemian haunt in a paparazzi-eluding pine grove above the Gulf of St Tropez. Feel like a film star in a boudoir bedroom, surrounded by gorgeous gardens with cinematic views over the yacht-spangled bay.
This hilltop hideaway feels away from bustle of the Riviera's trendiest fishing village.
Even if it's just outisde town, toward Ramatuelle, it's only a 10-minute shuttle-ride from St Tropez's beaches, bars and boutiques. Enjoy private vistas of Pampelonne Bay, home to St Tropez's sexiest beach. Call into Chateau Minuty vineyard - or simply stay put in paradise.
Style & character
Anything goes in this sun-kissed Provencal villa in the pine groves. It's as much a boho homestead as it is a hotel, dotted with flea market finds and faintly retro lamps. Only the attentive service hints at the luxe behind the scenes. Guests rock deck shoes or diamonds while soaking up the views of endless terraces. Off-duty designers sport St Tropez sandals in the spa while hard-headed businesswomen work the floaty kaftan look in the bar.
In true St Tropez style, there's an element of Marie Antoinette playing at being a milkmaid. But the carefree mood means there's no pressure to pose. It's enough to wallow in an eight-acre oasis of palms, pools, cacti, lemon trees and lavender. The next deal can wait till summer's over.
Service & facilities
Guests are welcomed as old friends with a smile and glass of wine on the sofa. This is cushioned Provence, even beyond the squishy sofas and boudoir bedrooms. Perched on a pretty hillside, this carefree retreat rarely looks as though it's trying.
The seashell-encrusted spa offers jasmine-scented rituals or massages with essence of lavender or pine. The Riviera reverie spills into the landscaped pool framed by rocks and parasol pines. The terraces are dotted with wrought-iron chaires and sofas piled with colourful cushions.
The concierge can charter you a yacht or sort entry to the prized Pampelonne beach clubs. With its movie star views of the bay, Villa Marie needs little in the wayof mundane services. There's a boutique for batik sarongs. Just bring binoculars for bay-watching the yacht in the Gulf of St Tropez.
The 45 love nests often feature four-poster beds and saucy open-plan bathrooms with claw-foot tubs so romance is always on the menu. Cocooning mood aside, these boudoir bedrooms vary significantly, running from a French country-style pastel palette to Italianate elegance or vintage Missoni in the suites.
Room 40, a classic, features a balcony, bleached-wood beams, canopied bed and, of course, that signature open-plan bathroom, with a romantic tub and twin Cassis-stone basins in the bedroom itself. Prudes can slip into the equally lovely shower. Bathrooms are stocked with posh Pure Altitude Spa products, made from Alpine plants, such as edelwiess. Understated French charm can be taken for granted, along with Nespresso coffee machines and snooze-inducing beds.
The bedrooms may be more charming but the suites have the edge on views, taking in Pampelonne Bay. What all share is nonchalant air, as if pretty objects had been had been plucked from a Provencal market.
Food & drink
Breakfast, served on the patio off the cosy beamed sitting rooms, is a leisurely affair, taking in made-to-order eggs, definitly sunny-side-up. Lunch is taken on the terrace overlooking the pool, palms and pines -towards the yachts on Pampelonne bay. Demure, white-clad waitresses dressed in tennis shoes serve tasty Pampelonne mint and feta salads. Come back for mint tea served in a silver teapot.
Over sundowners, toast your stay in Domaine de Marie wine from Villa Marie's sister estate in the Luberon. celebrate with a candlelit dinner at Dolce Vita, a shimmering, glam greenhouse-like affair. Chef Cédric Luisin rustles up punchy Mediterranean dishes on one of the most gorgeous-lokking spots in Provence. For regulars, it's a toss-up between the bouillabaisse, catch of the day and the vegetable risotto.