Luxury Hotels

St Tropez’ hideaway luxury hotel – The Muse

Bikes and bushes

The Muse, a Hôtel de Luxe above  St Tropez, is the get-away-from-it all luxury hotel. In fact, says the gal, you are only ten minutes’ by the hotel’s own navette – running on demand, 24/7 (yes, even 2 a.m. if you have been partying somewhere) – from the centre of town but there, up in the peace of Ramatuelle, you are in a tranquil oasis. YTL’s Tan Sri Francis Yeoh CBE apparently had always wanted a St Tropez hotel and he bought what had been the 42-room Hôtel du Charme Castel Laudon. Three years and lots of pennies later, it re-opened as the 15-room Muse – Hôtel de Luxe. Read Tripadvisor comments, and you see why people love this place. It is peace, and quiet, and heavenly local pines, and sit-up-and-beg bikes that hide among the sweet-smelling undergrowth.

GM Karim Chaouane and hat

Everything is unique about this place. There are no sounds of the outside world. There is no time-frame (want a meal? They start serving breakfast at 7 am, lunch at 12 noon, dinner at 7 pm but nothing finishes until all who wish to eat have eaten). This is what you want, when you want it. No wonder many guests come back again and again. Then consider the GM Karim Chaouane, a first-generation Frenchman, from Toulouse, who still has many family in Algeria. He always wanted to travel, and worked with a tour operator as on-site, first in Nairobi and then Luxor. He never had formal hotel training but who cares; he anticipates and reacts and nothing, be it a faulty safe or sitting with a guest at dinner even though he was fasting for Ramadan, caused any hesitation.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

When YTL bought this place they could not alter it structurally, and no new buildings are allowed. I was in Sophia (Loren – all rooms are named after female movie stars) and I thought of her all-time memorable saying ‘all you see is thanks to spaghetti’.  Sophia, the suite, was up 22 stone steps from the ground floor: my suite had a divine Iman Bowie-type standing lamp and the unusual wall mirror that is a feature of many YTL hotels, and on the big terrace, looking down into others’ plunge pools, I had an absolutely-private massage table where Dewi did a truly memorable muscle-relaxing massage. See the video for the suite, and its clever bathroom layout, and Smeg items. The designer is YTL’s own inhouse architect, Baldip Singh.

Carve your own super-bread

No, I did not play boules or take one of the bikes but I did swim (see the pool, its cabanas and their in-water loungers, at the top of the page), and I did some serious workouts in the 24/7 Technogym, with Sudoku. And there was serious eating, thanks to chef Kevin Altier’s menu, which included the local version of bouillabaisse, Aigo boulido, with sage emulsion – the hotel’s own wine labels are both local, Côtes de Provence 2016 Vignobles de Ramatuelle. It was so hot I started with heavily-iced Rosé, went on to the Red. Dinner is pool-side, but at breakfast tables are moved inside, the other side of a glass wall: sensibly there is no proper buffet, other fruits and the brilliant breads that you do not honestly expect to see in France – but you do here, with a Swiss knife that really slices. This is indeed a unique luxury hideaway hotel. NOW SEE THE SOPHIA VIDEO BELOW