La Réserve! If like me you’re a huge fan of lavish hotels, you must feel a shiver when I utter the name! I had the pleasure of spending a night at La Réserve Ramatuelle during my last trip to the French Riviera, and while it’s very close to Saint-Tropez, this establishment really feels like it’s at the ends of the earth! And the icing on the cake? It’s part of a very exclusive circle of “palaces”, with only 24 members in all of France.
A member of “Leading Hotels of the World,” La Réserve is a unique luxury experience on the coast: the glitz and glamor of St. Tropez has nothing to do with the vision of proprietor Michel Reybier, who also owns La Réserve establishments in Geneva and Paris. Here, the emphasis is on an intimate experience, with the hotel completely surrounded by nature – no one comes here to show off. The personnel, for example, are very discreet, but this in no way stops them from anticipating their clients’ every need, all while offering them as personalized a stay as possible.
Exploring the Luxury Hotel
Once we left our car with the valet, we approached the large doors separating us from the hotel in near ecstasy; when we opened them, we discovered a lobby with ultra-refined décor and an exceptional view of the sea. Forget the check-in counter – imagine instead being greeted in a designer armchair with a glass of homemade iced tea in your hand. We quickly realized that this was a one-of-a-kind establishment!
In terms of design, the architect Jean Michel Wilmotte headed the project to renovate this building from the 70s, keeping the original features of the structure while giving it a much-needed rejuvenating makeover. The result is outstanding, especially the omnipresent windows overlooking the sea. No matter where you are, you can directly connect with nature.
Only a Handful of Rooms and Suites
La Réserve offers only 19 suites and 9 rooms. Each of them has a patio with a view of the bay where you can lie in your deckchair and bask in the sun, unless you’d prefer the heated outdoor pool. I stayed in a Junior Suite which was both beautiful and perfectly comfortable. The décor is fantastic, featuring a chic, natural look accented by ocher, white, and sand-colored tones, and topped off with extremely modern furniture from the most famous designers. As for the view, it fits in with the rest: I was able to enjoy it while lounging in my bed, taking a shower, and even while splashing around in my hot tub. This gorgeous vision never left my sight for even a second, and I was all the happier for it.
The reception in our room was just phenomenal: champagne, a tropical fruit salad, sweets… the products were of exceptional quality, even for a top-notch five-star hotel! If we had forgotten we were in a “palace”, we were quickly reminded otherwise (In France, there’s an even higher distinction than five stars hotels : it’s the “Palace” designation).
Luxury Villas with 5-Star Hotel Service
In addition to the hotel, La Réserve has 14 villas for rent, nestled in a pine forest and offering a gorgeous view of the sea. It’s the ideal arrangement for those looking for a place to spend their vacation with friends or family, and makes for an even more exclusive experience. I visited a villa with six rooms (one of the larger houses) and I completely fell in love! Not only do you feel like you’re right at home, but the villas are also absolutely beautiful, typical of the luxurious estates along the French Riviera.
There’s of course a private pool, but there’s also a number of 5-star hotel services available, including a housekeeper, grocery delivery, concierge service, in-house chef… everything you need to unwind and enjoy your vacation like a VIP! And rumor has it that a big name in fashion reserves a villa here year-round. Privacy is the magic word at La Réserve, so it’s obviously a holiday destination for several celebrities and rich businesspeople looking to escape the outside world for a while.
A Spa with Modern and Exclusive Treatments
For the spa, this hotel has pulled out all the stops! Their spacious and modern center dedicated to health and well-being offers a series of treatments featuring the brands “La Mer” and “Nescens.” I couldn’t resist the desire to try out the most recent addition to their list of in-depth treatments: the destressing Nescens massage. I walked out completely relaxed, having felt truly disconnected from the world during the hour I spent in the expert hands of the therapist. Thanks to a swim around the indoor pool, and the treatment on top of it, I can tell you that I completely let go of all my stress that afternoon!
For my next stay at La Réserve in Ramatuelle (that’s right, I’m already planning to go back!), the spa’s 3 to 6 day personalized programs have caught my eye. They combine spa treatments with physical activities and adapted meals specially prepared by the Michelin-starred chef. It’s an utterly relaxing experience for your body and soul, and in a much more luxurious environment than the typical thalassotherapy clinic. The brand new 3 to 5-day “Mind and Body Nescens Retreat” is pretty tempting: yoga and pilates sessions, Nordic walking, massages, cosmetic treatments, and a carefully adapted meal plan. It’s a great way to treat yourself!
La Voile: A Michelin-starred Restaurant with Light and Delicious Cuisine
In the evening, we headed for the gastronomic restaurant “La Voile,” which has been awarded a Michelin star! In a beautiful setting, this restaurant is an institution for southern French cooking. At noon, the restaurant features a more casual, café-style menu, but the gourmet menu comes out at dinnertime. At the range cooker is chef Eric Canino, whose objective is to offer an innovative menu that combines healthfulness and self-indulgence.
As we wanted to learn more about the chef’s universe, we tried the Côté Jardin (“Garden Side”) set menu: it featured light cooking, with an emphasis on vegetables in surprising recipes. The seven courses followed in quick succession, with each dish as good as the last—a true delight! I especially fell for the Avocat et Framboise (“Avocado and Raspberry”), which was both healthy and sinfully delicious. The drinks chosen to accompany the meal allowed us to discover wines from hotel owner Mr. Reybier’s own vineyards, based in France but also Hungary. Now, experience has taught me that the sommelier is often the wet blanket in starred restaurants – too stiff, with complicated explanations, almost as if he or she only cares about serious wine connoisseurs. But I have to say that the young sommelier, Alexandre, really won us over! Not only was he extremely nice, but he actually talked with us rather than lectured, and we tried some excellent wines. By the end of the evening, we were thrilled with our gourmet meal, enhanced by the thoughtful and attentive service.
A Healthy and Tasty Breakfast
Breakfast at La Réserve is along the same lines as dinner: you can enjoy a delightful meal without guilt, as the products are light and healthy. It’s a modern and stylish start to the day! I’m a total fan of the concept, and felt full of curiosity as I headed to the dining room that morning.
The breakfast buffet offers healthy and balanced options: a lovely display of fresh and dried fruits, freshly-squeezed juices with new recipes every day, and a sizeable gluten-free section. A real focus is put on healthy foods, leaving out croissants and other hard-to-resist treats. However, you can have anything you want on request: eggs, crepes, pancakes… We personally stuck with the balanced breakfast options, all of them delicious!
La Réserve Ramatuelle is one of the most exclusive destinations in the world. Its location is exceptional, only a short distance from Saint-Tropez, but in a calm pine forest right alongside the sea. We could gaze at the water every moment of the day – in our suite, at the restaurant, or in one of the spa treatment rooms, the panorama instantly drew our attention. This exclusive hotel experience offers its own private and authentic vision of luxury, and I was truly captivated by the concept.
As for the spa and restaurant, both offer a modern philosophy based on the desire to take care of yourself and your body, without forgetting your enjoyment! I’m 100% behind this vision, and will certainly come back to this paradise on earth.
- The ultra-VIP service: confidential, discreet, and attentive
- The Michelin-starred cuisine, with an emphasis on light meals
- The omnipresent view of the sea
- There was no boat, but in their defense, the coast is a protected site and boat travel is not allowed
- Junior Suite available for 1400 € in early May 2018. It’s pricey, yes, but absolutely worth it. The cost includes: breakfast, use of the mini bar, access to the spa, and a shuttle service to Saint-Tropez or Ramatuelle.
- More information available on their website
Thank you to la Réserve Ramatuelle for the invitation to explore their establishment. Of course, the content of this blogpost was left entirely up to me!
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