Saint-Tropez is known for being the showy playground of jet-setting fashionistas, but dig a little deeper and youâ€™ll discover plenty of ProvenĂ§al character. From the Place des Lices, the central square where traders tout local produce, itâ€™s a short stroll up to the 17th-century Citadel. From here, gaze out over the terracotta roofs of pretty yellow townhouses and admire the coast as it curls around the Gulf of Saint-Tropez to nearby Sainte-Maxime. Indeed, the best beaches are a little further out of town, including Plage de Pampelonne where a bikini-clad Brigitte Bardot put Saint-Tropez on the map in the 1956 film And God Created Woman. When it comes to accommodation, the townâ€™s glamorous reputation inevitably pushes prices up, but with exquisite design, gourmet cuisine and jaw-dropping settings, theyâ€™re well worth the splurge. More reasonable rates can be found if you hunt a little harder, though be prepared to forego the same level of luxury.
From the sun-infused vegetables to the morning-fresh fish, chef Arnaud Donckele is spoiled by the local larder for La Vague dâ€™Or, his three-Michelin-starred restaurant that looks out over Cheval Blanc St-Tropez‘sÂ cypress-shaded terrace. The acclaimed restaurant is the highlight of this hotel, but with a sublime Guerlain spa, an infinity pool and a private beach where therapists apply your sun cream with a facial massage, there are even more reasons to stay. With just 30 rooms, the interior design draws on cobalt-blue, white and neutral tones, while also celebrating the work of local ceramist Roger Capron, a contemporary of Cocteau and Picasso. The service, meanwhile, is impeccable.Â
Rooms: From â‚¬600 (ÂŁ508), room only.Â
Summer is when Saint-Tropez really swings into life, so a number of hotels shut up shop for the winter season. Villa Cosy, however, just a short walk from the centre in the townâ€™s hilly suburbs, is one of the few thatâ€™s open all year. Its 23 rooms are decorated in natural colour schemes, with wooden floors and stylish furniture, and are set between several mansions and their courtyards. Several of the rooms offer terraces that open onto the hotelâ€™s courtyards and two swimming pools â€” both kept a balmy 28C all year. The courtyards are a sun trap, too, and so are ideal for breakfast al fresco. Thereâ€™s a small spa with a hammam and sauna, along with two treatment rooms with Sothys products.Â
Rooms: From â‚¬230 (ÂŁ192), room only.