Halfway between Cannes and Saint-Tropez is a little enclave of luxury you may never have heard of. Saint-Raphaël, a small town on the French Riviera, may not attract as much press as its glitzier counterparts, but discerning European It girls have put the coastal destination on the map—and for good reason. Hôtel les Roches Rouges opened its doors last month without much fanfare (on this side of the pond, at least)—and it's promising to be the new hot spot where everyone will be in the South of France this summer.
We can thank a few stylish influencers for cluing us into this slice of paradise. Bloggers like London-based Lucy Williams, French influencer Camille Charrière, and American It girl Olivia Lopez were some of the first to flock to this nautical modernist French Riviera resort—and others are already following suit. Take a tour of the hottest hotel of the season—we bet you can't get to the bottom without booking a room and a plane ticket.
Throw on a bikini and a linen shirt, and grab an Aperol spritz because this place screams ultimate barefoot vacation. Two restaurants and three bars serve local food and drinks, and the local fishermen personally deliver daily catches, so you'll never go hungry (or thirsty)! Come nighttime, the outside bar comes alive with a nostalgic French coastal soundtrack and cocktails by Dean Shury (of Chiltern Firehouse fame).
In the guest rooms, the décor is effortlessly chic—just like a French woman would be if dressed for her ultimate summer vacation. Jute rugs, white linens, and polished concrete floors serve as a backdrop to the colorful modern art and terra-cotta lamps, which reflect the beauty of the natural coastline and the expansive views outside the window.
Courtesy of Les Roches Rouges
Every aspect of the décor reflects the local fauna and flora. The primary colors—azure blue, pure white, and red ochre—are not only a reflection of the French flag but also speak to the natural tones of the Estérel region on the Provence coast. Every detail pays respect to the natural surroundings.
The property boasts "simple but noble materials," as Hugo Sauzay and Charlotte de Tonnac of the architecture firm Festen explain to Design Hotels. Polished concrete, aged oak, terra-cotta ceramics, and woven baskets are just a few of the design details that make up Hôtel les Roches Rouges.
Outside, the view is no less impressive. Two pools—one is a swimming lane, and the other is a natural seawater swimming pool cut directly into the coastal rock—provide plenty of space for guests to take a dip or lounge around while taking in the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Beyond simply curling up with the perfect beach read, residents can enjoy a vast variety of activities, from sunset pétanque to an open-air cinema, even snorkeling. So whether you plan to have an action-packed vacation or do nothing at all, you'll have everything you need at the tip of your fingers.
In the spirit of a classic experience worthy of golden-era French Riviera, guests can also take a dip in the fresh seawaters via a (very Instagrammable) ladder on the dock—iconic photographer Slim Aarons would approve.
On the deck, ochre butterfly chairs and white umbrellas blend into the background. It is mission accomplished for the architects, whose task was to create the ultimate barefoot retreat while respecting the integrity of the original modernist building and the natural surroundings.
The natural textures and casual simplicity continue throughout the entire property and into the restaurants, where the view is directed outward. Thyme and laurel branches are sprinkled throughout the property, bringing the outdoors in and contributing to a full sensory experience.
The hotel's common areas are the perfect places to lounge around—and the bookcases are filled with local literature. While surrounded by the beauty of modernist classics by Charlotte Perriand and others, it's hard to even decide between inside and out.
Everything on the property pays homage to the original 1950s building and the local joie de vivre. This is not a glitzy hotel but one that strives to respect the local culture and embrace French artisans and designers. It's a wonderland for people who want to appreciate the rich cultural history of the South of France at its most authentic in a paradisiacal environment.
Leave your high heels and your evening gowns at home, and get ready to really relax—this place will transport you to an alternate universe filled with culinary and visual delights. Better yet, all you'll need to pack is a bikini, your best linen clothing, and poolside slides. Bonnes vacances!
Next up, read about where cool British girls vacation in Europe (and why you should too).