Sum­mer siz­zle in the south of France at MUSE Saint Tropez

YTL Life - - Contents - Words MARK LEAN

For decades, Saint Tropez’s re­laxed glam­our and high style has been a mag­net for the in­ter­na­tional jet set. At MUSE Saint Tropez, guests en­joy the best of th­ese two worlds.

The jury is still un­de­cided on whether it was Brigitte Bar­dot who vaulted Saint Tropez to world at­ten­tion after the re­lease of her ca­reer-defin­ing 1963 film When God Cre­ated Woman. Or whether it was the for­mer slum­ber­ing fish­ing town on the Côte d’azur that set the scene for the French ac­tress’s as­cent to su­per­star­dom. Re­gard­less of what the an­swer may be, nei­ther the celebrity nor the town has been the same since.

By am­bling through Saint Tropez’s cob­ble­stone paths that line its streets six decades later, one still de­tects a charm­ing Bo­hemian fris­son. This ex­tends from hip­pie-chic fash­ion be­hind win­dow dis­plays to shops ped­dling quirky ob­jets d’art and posters, en­cour­aged by Bar­dot in those early years, when the magic was just be­gin­ning.

Here, bou­tiques that coined the term re­sortwear long be­fore such shows be­came per­ma­nent fix­tures on the fash­ion world’s cal­en­dar sit along­side art gal­leries pay­ing homage to art styles the town is known for around the world. There are also pas­try shops such as La Tarte Tropézi­enne and its epony­mous cream-filled brioche, which was put in the spot­light by the When God Cre­ated Woman film crew who came for their af­ter­noon tea breaks, and en­joyed by count­less other peo­ple since.

In­spi­ra­tions are aplenty in this charis­matic lo­ca­tion. First-time vis­i­tors are never the same once they leave.

Saint Tropez (or if you’re lo­cal, St-trop) in­vari­ably sparked the ge­nius of artists, painters, pho­tog­ra­phers and writ­ers, all of whom were drawn to the town’s cre­ative en­er­gies in their mul­ti­tude of forms. In the process, th­ese in­di­vid­u­als, the likes of whom in­clude Paul Signac, Matisse, Pierre Bon­nard, Al­bert Mar­quet, David Hock­ney, Don­ald Sul­tan and Ste­fan Szczesny, be­came le­gends.

A short dis­tance from Place de Lices, known around the world as an epi­cen­tre where the in­ter­na­tional jet set con­verge, along the route de plages, is the

more re­cent but equally leg­endary MUSE Saint Tropez. The el­e­gant 15-suite prop­erty is gift-wrapped in a stun­ning well-tended tiered land­scape. Tow­er­ing cy­press trees, pine forests, olive groves and rose bushes sur­round this ul­ti­mate sanc­tu­ary for the dis­cern­ing.

The area’s vis­ceral beauty is matched by the ho­tel’s clas­sic min­i­mal­ist in­te­ri­ors, colour­co­or­di­nated in whis­pers of light caramel and creamy white. Each suite ( 10 of which have pri­vate plunge pools) pays fit­ting trib­ute to 20th-cen­tury muses and their first names — Jean, Au­drey, Sophia, Edith, Juli­ette, Greta, Cather­ine, Co­lette, Josephine, Ella, Gala, Lau­ren, Grace and Ava. The fur­nish­ings in the suites are the work of Hen­ryot, the com­pany that de­signed pieces for France’s for­mer royal house of Ver­sailles, while bed­ding com­prises sub­lime 800-thread­count Egyp­tian silk and cot­ton-blended sheets.

In­trin­sic to MUSE Saint Tropez’s phi­los­o­phy of well-be­ing and joie de vivre, some suites are equipped with spa ameni­ties in­clud­ing mas­sage tables. Ther­a­pists, trained in clas­sic spa tech­niques and in­formed by in­tu­ition, utilise herbs and plants preva­lent in the ho­tel’s vast gar­dens, dis­till­ing through a tech­nique known as hy­dro­lat, the purest oil ex­tracts com­bined with a wa­ter base. This process en­sures that the oils de­liver max­i­mum health­ful ben­e­fits and that guests de­rive the best restora­tive ex­pe­ri­ences from their treat­ments.

Guests at MUSE Saint Tropez are known to stay for as long as two weeks – am­ple time to set­tle into Saint Tropez’s easy rhythm and al­most ef­fort­less rou­tine of lan­guid after­noons and evening glam­our, if one so de­sires. The ho­tel’s heated pool is its so­cial heart with an ad­ja­cent bar fac­ing ca­banas and lounge chairs per­fect for sinking into. To keep cool on hot after­noons, re­quest the bar­tender to rus­tle up a MUSE cock­tail. Or try a deca­dent Ladurée glace in flavours such as cho­co­late, lemon, caramel, pis­ta­chio and vanilla.

Meal­times, too, are cel­e­bra­tory af­fairs at M, which serves break­fast, lunch and din­ner. The menu is fo­cused on lo­cal gar­den pro­duce and herbs as well as seafood. For in­stance, Mediter­ranean red mul­let, flavoured with sun­dried toma­toes, served with Venere red rice and diced with chorizo Iberico.

An art­fully plated dish of cod with shell­fish sauce and mous­se­line of sweet potato of­fers cel­e­bra­tions of colour, con­trast­ing flavours and the fresh­ness of just-caught seafood. Desserts are all about lo­cal fruits — red berries with Saint Tropez rosé along with nougat ice cream sprin­kled with nuts from Pied­mont, and dried fruits. All dishes from the menus at M are also avail­able for in-room din­ing if guests pre­fer some alone time be­cause at MUSE Saint Tropez, ev­ery whim is en­ter­tained and ev­ery re­quest ful­filled.

For more in­for­ma­tion, please visit www.muse-ho­tels.com

MEAL­TIMES, TOO, ARE CEL­E­BRA­TORY AF­FAIRS AT M, WHICH SERVES BREAK­FAST, LUNCH AND DIN­NER. THE MENU IS FO­CUSED ON LO­CAL GAR­DEN PRO­DUCE AND HERBS AS WELL AS SEAFOOD.

This chic re­treat re­flects the laid-back glam­our of the Riviera.

THE AREA’S VIS­CERAL BEAUTY IS MATCHED BY THE HO­TEL’S CLAS­SIC MIN­I­MAL­IST IN­TE­RI­ORS, COLOUR-CO­OR­DI­NATED IN WHIS­PERS OF LIGHT CARAMEL AND CREAMY WHITE.

From a warm wel­come on ar­rival to the sun­dap­pled re­treat to concierge ser­vices for or­gan­is­ing he­li­copter trans­fers or res­tau­rant reser­va­tions, the ho­tel is ded­i­cated to meet­ing ev­ery guest’s needs around the clock.

TO KEEP COOL ON HOT AFTER­NOONS, RE­QUEST THE BAR­TENDER TO RUS­TLE UP A MUSE COCK­TAIL.

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