LILY OF THE VALLEY
An unusual place.
Located on the Mediterranean coastline in La Croix Valmer, the 5 star hotel Lily of The Valley is set in the protected landscape of the Cap Lardier and overlooks Bay of Cavalaire and Gigaro beach, a discreet 5 km beach of fine sand. La Croix Valmer counts a dozen of 19th and early 20th century houses scattered around the small town. Admire Villa Louise and Villa Couadan- its towers above the beach of Sylvabelle and its magnificent decorated façade- which was built for Sarah Bernhardt.
Built among huge umbrella pine trees, Lily of The Valley is situated at the foot of the Maures massif between Le Lavandou and St Tropez- a 30 minute quick drive. A great place for those who want to spend summer days in the area but not far from the bustle of St Tropez. Here, in an exceptional and unique setting, time is devoted to relaxing and regenerating. In addition, the hotel offers an incredible panoramic view over the Mediterranean sea. One of the best places for contemplation in the area. So peaceful.
The hotel- part of Leading Hotels of the World- opened last June and is open all year around. Focusing on wellness experience and the art of living, each season has its advantage to discover this new gold nugget.
A warm architecture signed Philippe Starck.
The hotel was designed by French architect Philippe Starck and he signed here his first realization in the region. He imagined a refuge in the heart of a natural environment without disrupting it. He conceived Lily of the Valley as a hotel that does not spoil nature but rather adapts to it. Inspired simultaneously by Babylon's hanging gardens, the architecture of Provençal abbeys and the design of Californian villas, Philippe Starck has designed forty-four rooms and suites that combine comfort, culture and generosity. Each key gives access to a 37 to a 115m2 space, always extended by a large private terrace. Within the park’s luxuriant vegetation, nature reasserts itself over stone buildings that seem to have been there forever. Raw yet luxurious, the materials intertwine: polished marble complements solid wood, raw concrete blends with natural leather. A luxury getaway in a pure refinement of French Riviera. Nothing is snobbish here, every detail of the decor is warm and elegant.
Step down from the lobby and discover The Village. Located at the heart of the hotel, a 2000 m2 area entirely dedicated to sports and well being. The wellness center includes seven cabins with spa treatments by Biologique Recherche and Estherderm, a vast hamman, two saunas, a snow shower and an infinite 25 meter outdoor swimming pool. A gym equipment by Technogym and an indoor biking room complete the area in addition to a healthy and gourmet restaurant with vegan and vegetarian options.
Wellness programmes are curated specifically for the customers’ needs. (weight loss, detox, relaxing, smoking cessation). Experience a yoga session coupled with outdoor activities like a nordic walk right down the hotel on the Sentier du Littoral. A must on early mornings. Do not forget a good signature massage Lily Wellness!
Comfy and succulent dining spot.
The Vista, the main restaurant is entirely facing the bay of Cavalaire and the spectacular view offered both in the bright midday sun and at dusk is incredible. Just enjoy the moment and spend time in this beautiful place.
Philippe Starck has signed with brio a combined lounge, bar and restaurant located in a vast glass and wood box above the Mediterranean. A multitude of objects, lighting, wood and warm color- the hallmark of Starck- where you will enjoy breakfast by the pool facing the sea, lunch at any time, and winter dinners by the crackling wood-burning stove. Try homemade pasta with seasonal truffles or an excellent beef tenderloin with Lily apples and finish with succulent Tropezienne or the giant chocolate eclair! A delight for an intimate and unforgettable experience.
Set the scene
Wend your way from ridiculously sceney St Tropez through blush-rosé vineyards up to Lily of the Valley, where wellbeing meets Côte d'Azur indulgence. Philippe Starck has designed the hotel (unusually named for a place perched at the top of a sunbathed hilltop) to blend into its surroundings like some kind of utopian version of Babylon’s Hanging Gardens – think villas in earth tones with tumbling greenery and bright blue pools. The idea is you come for the wellness – the poolside gym, the treatments, the earnest health menu. But many will take cocktails by the pool, then jump in a yacht to Club 55, just a private boat trip away.
What’s the story?
Until 2016, this spot was home to a small traditional hotel with a spectacular position. But the Weill family (one of France’s Fortune 500) discovered it on one of their family trips to the area and knew this increasingly ritzy corner of the coast merited something a lot more prestigious. Media big hitter Alain Weill bought the hotel, the land and half of the nearby beach and enlisted Starck (‘he was the only architect I considered’) to fashion something glorious in its place. The French designer claims the distinctive, neoclassical-meets-rustic-modernist vision came to him in a dream, of nature in harmony with endeavour. But for all the prestige associated with the Starck name, and the power that comes with Weill’s, it remains a completely independent family hotel. Little kids potter about poolside, and the atmosphere is relaxed. When the hotel opened, rather than host a party for celebrities, the Weills invited all the local shop owners and tradespeople. Starck’s vision was equally sympathetic to the area – the architecture is designed to blend seamlessly into the geography and culture of the locale.
What can we expect in the room?
Rustic luxury – wicker lampshades, marble bathrooms, rattan rugs and plump bedding topped with Ara Starck cushions – all choreographed with precision. Starck oversaw everything, from the bespoke light switches to the handsome (and entirely superfluous, given the climate) umbrellas outside each room. There’s a coffee machine (no milk, though – take it noir, French style), pouches of hand-blended herbal tea, a demi-bouteille of local rosé and a small selection of home-made biscuits. Mainly it’s all about what’s outside the room – a bed as big as the one in the bedroom on your own terrace, meaning you can follow a personal-training session with lying about in the sun. Wi-fi works indoors and out, and you get your own iPad to book your next treatment.
How about the food and drink?
Vista serves polished Provençal food with an emphasis on local ingredients, served on the spectacular terrace or poolside. Over in the wellbeing area, a second poolside restaurant offers a decidedly un-French healthy menu of smoothies, salads… and frozen cocktails, if you’re throwing wellbeing to the wind.
Anything to say about the service?
None of the froideur you might perhaps expect from a design hotel. The staff are good-looking, warm and relaxed, and don’t mind if you walk into the hotel and leave your shoes by the pool.
What sort of person stays here?
The kind of people who can afford up to £3,000 a night on a sea view. Starck and his wife have their own permanent suite on site.
What’s the neighbourhood scene like?
It’s just 15 minutes to St Tropez, where anyone who is anyone, and knows everyone, holidays (or rather, just off it, in a yacht the size of several townhouses). First made famous by Brigitte Bardot, the area is now the playground of the world’s privileged holidaymakers. But the hotel’s nearest town, La Croix Valmer, is a gentler affair with fruit and vegetable shops instead of Chanel boutiques, and a long golden beach with families set up on the sand. You can take a free shuttle down to Gigaro beach, where LOTV is currently doing up its own mega-star level beach club, or you can mingle with the French on the more humble stretches of coast.
Unusually for the heavily seasonal area, which shuts down almost entirely in winter, Lily of the Valley will be open year round. Open fires and wood-burners are intended to deliver cosiness off-season, and the wellbeing bias is set to draw in guests looking to detox and reset even when the Med gets a little frosty.
What’s the one thing you’d change?
The music. The spa area and poolside played just one playlist on rotation.
Is it worth it? Why?
Yes. It’s a slightly unusual offering – it certainly doesn’t look like any other hotel you’ll see here or anywhere else, but there’s charm shining through the considered design and extravagant setting. And did we mention the view?
Address: Lily of the Valley Hotel, Colline Saint-Michel , Quartier de Gigaro, 83420 La Croix-Valmer, France
Telephone: +33 (0)4 22 73 22 00