For unfettered access to that blue, blue Mediterranean Sea…
Staying at Les Roches Rouges is like living in a Slim Aarons photograph, or strolling around a stylish 1960s French film. In a word? It’s cool. The white modernist building was built in the 1950s and maintains that era’s icy, contemporary detachment. It may not be much to look at, but that’s entirely missing the point of Les Roches Rouges. All eyes should be trained outwards, at that unparalleled sea view.
The vibe here is simple, stylish and nonchalant but with a vibey edge to it matched in its young clientele. Most guests were friendship groups and honeymooning couples. We sat next to one during dinner, who were incidentally having the exact same nauseating wedding chat we were. There’s yoga or pilates on alternate mornings, live music on Tuesdays and Fridays and an outdoor cinema on Thursday nights. This is where to head for fresh, no-frills luxury that is nonetheless dripping in atmosphere.
Set the scene
Like a good whiskey, the hotel is on the rocks. It is set across several levels, cut into the cliff face of the Massif de l’Esterel, with the bar on the roof, the restaurant on the terrace and the pools – both the smaller narrower one and the vast seawater beauty, separated from the Med by artfully staged stones- are on another level down. Its name is taken from the very same red rocks that you can also spy from the hotel, and the tower on red, craggy Isle d’Or, which is the only building you can see in the distance.
And that’s the thing about Les Roches Rouges: the view. Wherever you sit, lie or swim, there is a quilt of deep blue around you. The Mediterranean is the star attraction here, within that unique salty pool, accessible from the hotel’s private pontoon and everywhere you look.
In keeping with the aesthetic, rooms here are white and simple but extremely comfortable and well appointed, including chic straw totes for the pool. Curved lines dominate (especially in the bubble, column shaped shower) and the only colours which poke through are the warm burnt umber shades in the rugs, the blue tones in the art and the striking orange butterfly chairs on the balcony. Oh, and the vast blue you see from your window. Yes, it’s the sea again…
Food & Drink
There are two restaurants here: the gastronomic, more formal offering at Récif, the main, more laidback charm of La Plage and the food available all day at the bar and poolside. A reservation at the hotel does not guarantee access to Récif, which boasts one Michelin star and is open to non-hotel guests, so booking ahead is essential should you want to sample some of executive chef José Bailly’s exemplary cuisine.
If you miss out on Récif, the dishes at La Plage are hardly a mere consolation prize. The wine and cocktail list is extensive and the fare is excellent. There is obviously a great selection of seafood, from octopus salad to the hotel’s signature, locally-caught shellfish soup, but the roast rosemary and sage chicken is a knockout and the pasta and risotto dishes are equally enjoyable. Breakfast, also served at La Plage, is a brilliant buffet of hot and cold dishes and endless pastries.
It was built as an unassuming motel in the 1950s, under the same name, and was transformed into its current more glamorous get-up when it was bought by French hotelier Valéry Grégo in 2017. When Grégo left, his hospitality group was rebranded in 2021 as Beaumier. The hotel collection retains its commitment to revitalising historic properties with charm and cool, something overwhelmingly in evidence at Les Roches Rouges.
The hotel’s culinary focus is on seasonal, local produce, with sustainability, as it is across the hotel’s approach, always in mind.
The hotel does not scream family friendly but that is not to say it’s not. There were several young families staying while we were and the smaller (non-seawater) pool played perfect host to them, as did the gardens nearby, full of shade and toys. There are family suites available, and most superior rooms can host a cot or extra camp bed. The staff were overwhelming friendly, but noticeably so to their littlest guests.
The spa, like much of this hotel, is catnip, not only for those in search of zen, but for any lover of design. Its mid-century modern aesthetic is on full display in its terracotta loungers in the relaxation spaces, and the low-lit treatment rooms. There’s a respectable range of treatments on offer, all with Kalmar and Holidermie products and Therabody technology, from lymphatic drainage to facials. You can also get outdoor massages overlooking the sea.
The wellness offerings extend to yoga and pilates and an outdoor gym with natural wood Nohrd equipment in the hotel’s gorgeous garden. Here you can swap cheesy gym soundtracks for the chirping of the cicadas and the lapping of the Mediterranean.
The more adventurous will note that there are plenty of water sports options available, as well as experiences, from diving to catamarans, which can be organised through the hotel. Those in a sailing mood who prefer sipping rosé to donning scuba gear, can also hop on one of Les Roches Rouge’s private boat experiences. They will even pack you a 5-star picnic.
Les Roches Rouge’s immediate access to the sea is not the only benefit of its location. It is set within the charming coastal town of Saint Raphaël which is worth a visit. It is also easy driving to some of the Côte d’Azur’s finest destinations: Cannes, Nice and Saint-Tropez are all nearby or you can opt for a more rural escape to the red trails of the Estérel, if you can tear you eyes away from the Med.
Les Roches Rouges is an hour’s drive from Nice Airport and there are regular flights from London on British Airways, EasyJet, Ryan Air and Air France.
To Book: beaumier.com
Related Article: Honeymoon Review: Hotel Byblos, Saint Tropez