Glitz and glam­our live on in St Tropez

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An­thony Pere­grine

As I ar­rived at the By­b­los Ho­tel in St Tropez, an­other guest was be­ing asked to leave. “It hap­pens very rarely but, when nec­es­sary, we are de­ci­sive,” said man­ager Stéphane Per­so­n­eni. What had this fel­low done?

“Over­stepped the mark.” How? Mr Per­so­n­eni smiled. I wasn’t go­ing to find out – but, given that well-dressed ex­cess has been stan­dard at the By­b­los for 49 years, I’m guess­ing he’d turned mildly mys­te­ri­ous links be­tween the By­b­los and Brazil’s high so­ci­ety. And the ho­tel’s sum­mer party was ser­e­naded by Seal (for younger read­ers, he’s a soul singer, not a slip­pery item play­ing

on a trum­pet). I was there at a qui­eter mo­ment, pre-Voiles. Even so, Bill Gates had re­cently left. So, ap­par­ently, had the Emir of Abu Dhabi. And the chap who in­spired Leonardo Di Caprio’s

film was still around.

That doesn’t sound like de­cline to me. In truth, St Tropez’s achieve­ment has been to keep ahead of the game, hotspot-wise, for decades. Ev­ery­one still goes there. They’re more dis­creet but they’re there. And it might be said that the By­b­los has been the in­car­na­tion of em­i­nence for half a cen­tury.

Un­rav­el­ling down its hill­side in what looks like a cas­cade of Provençal vil­lage façades, the By­b­los was opened in 1967 as a palace wor­thy of Brigitte Bar­dot by a Le­banese chap who ad­mired her. In 1971, the ho­tel hosted Mick and Bianca’s mar­riage – talk about PR! – and was off. No one world-fa­mous has not been there. For the 50th, they’re re­do­ing the pres­i­den­tial suite, and have linked up with RollsRoyce, the Sis­ley spa peo­ple and other mega brands. Frankly, I wasn’t re­ally lis­ten­ing, be­ing too busy drink­ing, eat­ing and hop­ing the as­tound­ingly po­lite staff didn’t see through me. I was play­ing at this. Then again, so per­haps were they – very con­vinc­ingly. It’s a grand game. Just leave the flares at home.

For An­thony’s full re­view of the By­b­los go to telegraph.­b­los

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