Par Margaret Kemp
Since the 1950's Saint Tropez has been jet-set central, the summer extension of Saint Germain des Pres. New hotels open and shut but La Bastide de Saint Tropez is what the French call a " valeur sȗre
", where there's a warm welcome, not kissy, kissy bang bang. The Mercedes is on call to collect you from Sennequier, the plages, Les Caves du Roy or wherever you want, and the " San Lorenzo 72
" super-yacht's available for hire, so you can get away from all the bling.
The hotel is owned by Jeanine and Boris-Serge Sideroff not some big chain and it's their only hotel. " We greet guests as friends, and most of them have become so over the years
", explains general manager, Fabien Delaffon. " There's always a problem because we only have 26 rooms and suites and, bien sur, everyone wants the same room at the same time, we do our best
This year all the rooms have been redecorated in muted tones with lush designer fabrics, furniture's been replaced with some very nice modern pieces. This week the whole Bastide was gobsmacked when an elegant gentleman arrived with his Golden Retriever and took the adjacent room for him! " He paid the same tarif for his dog as for a person, stayed four nights
", confides Delaffon with a shrug.
Kevin Altier is the new young chef at La Bastide's L'Olivier restaurant which spills onto the olive tree shaded terrace in summer. You can also eat by the pool, or on the terrace of your room for a romantic diner a deux.
Altier, from the Seine et Marne region near Paris, says his grandmother's chocolate cake was the reason he became a chef. He's a disciple of Escoffier, and as such part of a group that keeps up the Master's reputation, values, teachings, but obviously with their own century 21 spins and twists, " none of your molecular
", he insists. Kevin's Spring/Summer menu is an ode of vegetables, he thinks fish is what his clients look for in St. Tropez. Of course there's a fine Gigot d'Agneau et son tian d'aubergines and an excellent Côte de boeuf saisi sur le grill, sauce au vin rouge de Provence, pommes ratte et oignons grelots.
The 5-course menu, Autour des Légumes du Printemps is served for lunch and dinner but most eat salads, lobster club sandwiches, pasta, melon jambon with warm fresh bread, tiramisu, under ivory parasols around the landscaped pool.
Begin with Gaspacho Andalou. Then Chartreuse de poivrons confits et aubergines à la brousse de brebis. Drink Château Barbeyrolles " Pétale de Rose
" rosé (55€) and continue with a dish of Petits legumes nouveaux à la moelle de boeuf et baie de genièvre cuit comme un pot au feu. The main could be Filet de bar en écailles de pomme de terre, sauce citronelle et gingembre, escalivade de légumes de Pays - it's a triumph each flavour complements the other, a true showcase for all that's good in Mediterranean cuisine.
Perfectly ripe cheeses are on a trolley with warm walnut bread and a glass of Château Vignelaure. From the dessert card the classic Tarte Tatin is a must, as is Tian de pêche et sa crème légère.
La Bastide de Saint-Tropez
Route des Carles - Tel : 04 94 55 82 55
Rooms from: 260€ (low season) to 580 €
Restaurant L'Olivier Spring Summer menu 65 € + wine
A La Carte Average Spend: 70 €
Voir le site de La Bastide de Saint-Tropez.