Five minutes from the beaches, bars and the emblematic port of Saint-Tropez is Lou Pinet. Travel writer Georgie Bentley-Buckle has settled in this elegant little hotel which invites discreet guests to live like a real local.
Reopening for the summer months, Lou Pinet is privately owned by the Pariente family. Their portfolio of five-star properties (otherwise known as Maisons Pariente) embodies these convivial values through the exceptional addresses they have selected. This includes Lou Pinet, a peaceful property on the perimeter of Saint-Tropez with a sought-after setting that offers a quiet retreat, just about a kilometer from the town centre.
Inaugurating in 2019, the family called on the architect François Vieillecroze to consciously maintain the original Saint-Tropez spirit of the property. This alongside designer Charles Zana whose design pays homage to the creative flair of famous French artists from the region (namely Matisse, Calder and Picasso). This partnership creates a property that prides itself on the artistic soul of the French Riviera with bright artwork, antiques and furnishings inside and out.
Hop aboard the hotel’s shuttle to reach the city center in five minutes. Here, you can discover the market filled with fresh local produce and the large sandy beaches of the Bay of Pampelonne. If you are in search of culture, take a look at the Annonciade art museum, the maritime museum of the Citadel or even the cinema museum which retraces the Hollywood heritage of Saint-Tropez.
No stylish city is without a fashion scene and shopping is a popular option. Designer boutiques with international brands are front and center while the less obvious side streets reveal independent boutiques popular with locals. This includes the famous Rondini store, which sells the best sandals on the French Riviera.
Lou Pinet looks more like an exclusive family villa than a boutique hotel. Centered by the understated yet chic pool that surrounds the villa-style property, this intimate hotel is a place where friends and family can quietly reconnect. This extends to each of the rooms and public areas that make it feel like you’re just staying at your (most stylish) friend’s house.
Through French doors, most of the hotel’s 34 rooms and suites open directly onto Lou Pinet’s manicured garden filled with fragrant honeysuckle and mature olive trees. This also includes private outdoor spaces, separated by soft cotton curtains that allow natural light to stream in, while maintaining privacy. Characteristic artistic touches at Charles Zana’s hotel include handmade tapestry headboards with colorful abstract patterns and custom-designed glazed ceramic lamps. This one fits in a palette of light and earthy colors for a soft and sunny atmosphere.
Choose from a variety of six room types. It starts with the superior room of 30 m² with queen size or twin beds, the prestige room of 40 m² located on the first floor with direct access to the aromatic garden or the swimming pool, up to the prestige suite of 80 m². With its own private entrance and sleeping up to four people, this suite has two terraces and a large bathroom with tub and roll-in shower to spread out.
Food and drink
This small, simple hotel offers only one restaurant, with high credentials. Despite its location on the outskirts of a fishing village, Lou Pinet’s restaurant is aptly named “Beef Bar” with a dynamic menu of the best beef in the world.
American Black Angus Prime, Australian Wagyu WX and certified Japanese Kobe beef; the dishes feature both Asian and Italian influences. These include Kobe beef teppanyaki, Black Angus carpaccio or Wagyu bolognese. If you fancy fresher Mediterranean dishes, you can choose the Cycladic salad of capers and cherry tomatoes, the grilled sea bass or the tuna ceviche.
Beef Bar was born in Monaco in 2005 thanks to the entrepreneur Riccardo Giraudi. Moving to Hong Kong’s Lou Pinet (where it received a Michelin star in 2017), the all-day dining restaurant is where breakfast and lunch are served. Alongside bright artwork that features bold primary colors of red, blue and yellow, devour avocado on toast with rich poached eggs under the shimmering shade of garden trees.
Despite more relaxed than reliable service issues, it has become the best steak spot in St. Tropez. Its carnivorous offering can also be enjoyed in glamorous outposts of Mexico City, Tulum, Dubai, Mykonos, Budapest and Paris.
Spa and wellness
Lou Pinet’s spa gives the impression of entering a hidden cave. Tucked away behind the property with a small fitness room, the spa with soothing cream stones offers a ‘timeless getaway’. With products from the American brand Tata Harper Skincare, the spa works with the brand’s effective natural formulas that are highly concentrated in active ingredients.
Treatments including specialized body, face and gentleman rituals are carried out in one of the two rooms or in the hammam. This includes all the regular massages that are popping up, plus the “tailored relaxation massage” I’ve been booked into, a great option that suits how you’re feeling that day. Launched last year by Parisian beautician Martine De Richeville is also the “Remodeling” body treatment, recognized as the spa’s secret weapon for achieving a youthful and energized physique.
In a word
Live like a local in Saint-Tropez at this vintage hotel inspired by the 1960s. Embracing the creative roots of the famous French city, the colorful property offers a low-key setting in which to recharge, moments from the excitement of weekly markets, lively bars, popular beaches, restaurants and nightlife.
Address: 70 Chem. du Pinet, 83990 Saint-Tropez, France
Call: +33 4 94 97 04 37
All images used in this article are credited to: Mister Tripper