Dreamy interiors at a little St Tropez gem
Let me make this review super-quick for you. Pastis Hotel is one of the most beautiful boutique hotels I’ve ever stayed in. Its highlights are many, but the gorgeous art, stunning interior design and fabulous courtyard pool top the list, and in a town where luxury is in plentiful supply, don’t even consider staying anywhere else.
It had been a bad hotel week ahead of arrival. In Cannes for the Lions festival, we had found ourselves stuck in a hotel that had the front to use the word ‘palace’ in its name, but was a Cote d’Azur version of Fawlty Towers. Notable low points included the man from reception insisting there really was wifi in my room as he pressed my mobile phone up against the very top corner of one of the windows – “ici!”, and responding to my request for maybe some shampoo in the bathroom, by kindly pointing me in the direction of a local newsagents… at 11pm at night.
The arrival at Pastis when it finally came couldn’t have been better timed. I actually did a little dance as the door to our bedroom closed behind us. And then jumped up and down when I saw the bathroom.
This is a boutique hotel which genuinely lives up to the adjective: just ten rooms, either in the converted and refurbished old town house, or tucked behind and clustered around a shimmering swimming pool that delivers both pool and tile envy.
Despite numerous Cannes visits – all for work, you understand – I’d never been to St Tropez before, so the point of visiting was really to explore. Except we didn’t – unless you count tripping over the road to the beach or the 8-minute walk into town in the evening for dinner. In fact, we only made it to the beach twice in our three days such was the pull of the Pastis pool (and, let’s be really honest, its rosé-stocked bar).
It wasn’t all about the water and wine. Our bedroom, overlooking the pool at the back of the property, was beautiful: all fluffy towels and Ortigia products in the bathroom, slouchy leather chairs and linen drapes inside, and Adirondack chairs on the sun-trap balcony outside, which I spammed my Instagram feed with for the duration of the weekend.
The interiors everywhere are gorgeous, thanks to British owners Pauline and John Larkin, who have packed this little spot with fabulous art and dreamy Provençal touches. The art really is something else. Stylish photography, iconic prints and fabulous African art pieces don’t so much dot the walls here as cover every inch. One review site described the hotel as a gallery with rooms, which isn’t far off the mark, but makes it sound way more serious than it is. Certainly no one raised an eyebrow when I wandered in from the pool in just my bikini on the hunt for more wine and the atmosphere in the hotel is more chic, laidback lunch spot than stuffy museum.
St Tropez itself I was less fussed by. The town square filled with boules-playing families and bling-free bistros was perfect, but the Lamborghinis driving around it and the dolled-up, face-lifted passengers inside less so. Still, I’d go back for Hotel Pastis alone, and next time won’t worry about leaving its wall at all.