Top 7 Hotels in the South of France
Hotel de Tourrel, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
The leafy Provencal town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is synonymous with Van Gough who found inspiration in its light and landscapes (he painted Starry Night here). This once-sleepy place is now a chic holiday destination with world-class restaurants and designer shops. Just steps from the main attractions but carefully tucked away in the centre of the village is Hotel de Tourrel, emblematic of the town’s history-meets-modern make-over. The former 17th century palais, is now a boutique bolthole: the seven spacious suites are a clever mix of original features and iconic mid-century pieces from designers such as Eileen Gary and Konstantin Grcic. There’s an innovative menu at the Mediterranean market-inspired restaurant and a welcome rooftop pool that’s totally plungeworthy. Suites from £440 per night detourrel.com
Les Roche Rouges Saint Raphel
This stylish 50s waterside retreat is part of the Hotel d’en Haut group. Inspired by the seascape in front of the hotel, there’s a sleek aesthetic throughout. The interiors are light and bright, with splashes of cobalt and warm terracotta. The relatively minimalist bedrooms all have white-washed walls, polished concrete floors and butterfly chairs on their balcony – the perfect place for sundowners. But the real star here is the 30-metre saltwater pool carved out of the rock and which spills into the sea. There is a freshwater lap pool, plenty of comfy sun beds and two great restaurants, a carefully-curated cocktail list and the cutest Cabane snack hut. The hotel’s spa offers mineral-rich scrubs, there’s petanque and table tennis in the garden, or take to the sea for paddle-boarding and kayaking.
Doubles start at £220 hotellesrochesrouges.com
La Maison Sur La Sorgue
This 17th century property, snug on L’Isle sur la Sorgue and tucked down a side street off a busy square in this charming French town, is a perfect blend of history, art and design. The hotel has a host of hidden treasures; a verdant garden, a swimming basin in the courtyard, sun-soaked terraces, a large lounge with a huge fireplace and spacious rooms and suites. The whole area is a major draw for antiques aficionados with a bustling Sunday market, busy cafés and restaurants along the river bank (there’s no restaurant at the hotel). The hotel’s owners are keen travellers and have bought back many of the furniture, fabrics and unusual finds used here, and there’s even a tiny art gallery and shop on site where you can buy trinkets inspired by the owner’s wanderlust
La Divine Comedie, Avignon
This magnificent town house boasts the biggest private garden in the whole of Avignon. After seven years of painstaking restoration, its Parisian owners have transformed this former Cardinal’s residence into a chic and contemporary space, cleverly combining rescued church relics with chandeliers, whimsical touches and a wonder of original features. There’s a life-sized baby elephant sculpture in the salon, a merry-go-round horse hovering in the stairwell and oil paintings on every wall. The carved stone staircase is a gem, there’s a sunlit conservatory, a stone swimming pool and the ‘Foly’ spa pavilion has a sauna, hammam and rain shower. You can enjoy a private dinner in the orangery, or step next door into the Le Complot bar, a converted barn where the savvy locals soak up the atmosphere. The gardens are a room in themselves, surrounded as they are by high stone walls giving a sense of seclusion and privacy despite the city setting.
Doubles from £310 la-divine-comedie.com
Campagne Les Jameaux, Ramatuelle
Secreted away in a pine forest, metres behind Pampelonne’s yacht-strewn bay, and not far from St Tropez, this low-slung, pink-washed farmhouse looks more like a private villa than a boutique B&B – which is just what its owners intended. Laid back and luxurious, its appeal is its simplicity – and location. There are just five stunning rooms here, all with white-washed wood walls and stone flags, works of art on every wall, an outdoor basin pool and lovely sun terrace, but the highlight is the Pampelonne is St Tropez’s ‘crown jewel’ of a beach just 300 metres through the woods. With five kilometres of white sand, boats bobbing in the Med, a handful of good restaurants to enjoy, and absolutely no high rise developments crowing the shore.
lecampagnelesjameaux Doubles from £140 Campagnelesjameaux.com
Le Pigonnet, Aix-en-Provence
Cézanne loved the gardens here, and they remain a major attraction at this hotel. It’s hard to imagine you are in the heart of Aix-en-Provence in this extraordinary spot, surrounded by chestnut trees, statuesque pines, lilacs and climbing roses. All 40 rooms overlook the hotel’s courtyard or gardens, there’s a sizeable swimming pool surrounded by lush greenery, a spa suite and heart-stopping views from the terrace. The well-thought-of restaurant serves a Mediterranean-inspired menu and there’s a bistro for more relaxed dining, but there are of course plenty of dining options within walking distance in Aix itself.
Rooms from £141 per nighthotelpigonnet.com
Village Castigno, Assignan
Uniquely beautiful, this Languedoc hotel is the brainchild of Belgian owners Tine and Marc Verstraete who have transformed a clutch of local stone houses into the most perfect place to stay. In the heart of Saint-Chinian wine country, the hotel reflects its surroundings with pink and purple hues prevalent both inside and out. The quirky interiors cleverly combine contemporary art and ancient objet with wine-toned furnishings. There are three serious restaurants, a spa, a café and pool. The jewel-toned rooms are a delight and whilst a no-wifi policy might irk some initially, we challenge anyone to worry once they have embraced the amazing Village Castigno way of life. Book an outdoor massage in the secret garden, follow the chef into the herb garden and learn to make infusions, or (and this is our favourite) pack a musical picnic – the hotel provides the picnic and a battery-powered turntable for you to take into the surrounding countryside.
Doubles from £115 chateaucastigno.com