Archive for August, 2010

St. Tropez Voted One of the Top 10 Autumn Vacation Destinations

Friday, August 27th, 2010
A luxury villa rental in St. Tropez is not just for summer fun, but also for fall adventures!

When most people think of St. Tropez, they think of summer; maybe visiting for a couple of weeks in July or for a month at the beach in August, which is Europe’s traditional time for vacations. While the Cote d’Azur is undoubtedly beautiful in the high summer months, it can also be quite hot, congested, and expensive. An alternative to jostling among the summer crowds for a beach chair or restaurant reservation is to book a luxury villa rental and head to St. Tropez as the busy summer season draws to a close. The weather at this time is still mild and the atmosphere is decidedly more casual, two of the reasons The Guardian just named St. Tropez one of their Top 10 choices for autumn sunshine vacations, together with such gorgeous places as Sardinia and Dahab.

Beat the Crowds – Visit St. Tropez in Autumn – Photo via

So why choose fall over summer? For a variety of reasons, the first of which is the weather. Instead of sweltering heat you will be able to enjoy much more moderate temperatures of around 25C while sunning yourself by the pool at your luxury villa rental or taking a stroll in St. Tropez’s town center. Browse through the luxury shops or stop for brunch without being inundated by the summer crowds of jet-set vacationers and gawkers. As The Guardian notes, St. Tropez, the “summer playground of the glitterati, the flashiest seaside resort in the Côte d’Azur takes on a whole new identity come autumn…Most of the crowds are long gone, leaving behind a more laid-back town. Beaches which are usually packed are blissfully quiet, as are its posh boutiques.” So if you really want to enjoy St. Tropez without the bother, then visiting in the autumn could definitely be the right choice for you.

Annual Autumn Event: The Voiles de St. Tropz – Photo via
And don’t think that the end of summer means the end of fun and activity in St. Tropez, either — nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, one of the biggest events of the year here, The Voiles de St. Tropez, takes place in the fall. This year, the Regatta is being held from September 25th to October 3rd, when the Société Nautique hosts about 300 sailing yachts in the annual competition. Teams from fifteen different countries will take part in the race and the entire town will be alight with the festivities that go along with this important yearly event. So don’t worry that once the summer is over, the paparazzi have packed away their lenses and N.E.R.D. stops performing at V.I.P., there won’t be anything to do in St. Tropez.

If you do decide to book an autumn getaway in St. Tropez, then a luxury villa rental, complete with VillaHotel service, (think five-star hotel then add a star, gorgeous grounds and complete privacy) is really the way to go. Of course, if you ever get tired of hanging around your own private paradise, there will still be lots to do in town, from the less busy beaches to new restaurants like Pierre Gagnaire’s Colette in the new Hotel Sezz. So forget the crowds and the sweltering sun–choose autumn for your stay in St. Tropez.

St. Tropez Luxury Villa Rental Scam Reveals Corruption in the Vacation Industry

Saturday, August 21st, 2010
St. Tropez Villa Frauds Makes Booking Through a Reputable Luxury Villa Rental Outfit Increasingly Necessary

The land of sea and sun, St. Tropez is where the wealthy go to get away from it all for a few blissful weeks every summer. Many yearn to be part of the St. Tropez scene and go about booking their vacations well in advance to ensure they will be sipping champagne beachside with the stars come out in July. Unfortunately, for several U.K. families recently, dreams of a fantasy vacation were dashed when they realized the deposits they put down on what they thought were luxury villa rentals were gone. Their money stolen and the villas they rented not in existence, these victims are now beside themselves as to what to do next. This vacation scam is becoming all too common and reinforces the need to book your luxury villa rental vacation through a reputable firm that not only knows St. Tropez well, but personally inspects each luxury rental villa to ensure your vacation will be the perfect, stress free getaway you’ve been dreaming of.

via

According to Britain’s Daily Mail the St. Tropez villa fraud is one of the biggest of its kind in recent memory, with over £250,000 having been stolen from unsuspected travellers yearning to join the jet set on the Cote d’Azur, and others still looking to vacation in Spain or Austria. The newspaper spoke to one couple, Claudia and Keith Louch, who lost £10,000 on a St. Tropez luxury villa rental for a family reunion. Only after arriving in France and driving to look for the villa did Claudia Louch and her husband realize that there had never been a villa at all. Understandably upset, the couple had to call their other family members to cancel the vacation, many of them being forced to lose the price of their plane tickets when they cancelled at the last minute. Worse still for people like Claudia Louch, travel insurance doesn’t generally cover these types of situations.

The problem that many of these duped vacationers are reporting is not being able to tell the real from the fake. The ads they found were on reputable websites that are, however, just listing pages for villa advertising — not a company that checks on the validity of the ads. In many cases ,the villas were also offered at a suspiciously reduced rate, making them irresistible for those who long to enjoy the St. Tropez lifestyle. Now that the truth has been revealed, of course, it seems more of a case of getting what you paid for in the most unfortunate way.

St. Tropez at Night

A solution for those longing for the experience of a luxury rental villa in St. Tropez, but don’t want to worry about who they are handing over their money to, is to go through a reputable rental company. There are only  a handful of truly specialized luxury villa rental providers in the exclusive St. Tropez area, and you want to look for one where the managers check each property before the keys are handed over to guests. The reputable firms are also well versed in the local culture. Aside from this intimate knowledge of St. Tropez, these reputable rental companies also offer “value added” services that make you feel as though you are sleeping in a hotel, but with a ton much more luxury. Think gaggles more privacy, gorgeous grounds, a refreshing pool, and a staff that can cater to your needs just as if you were staying at an upscale hotel. A win, win it seems.

Most long for the pristine beaches and vibrant nightlife of St. Tropez, but if you’re planning to head out to the Cote d’Azur take care where you decide to stay. Many would understandably prefer a luxury rental villa over a hotel for their stay, but choosing the right one is fraught with pitfalls as the stories out of the U.K. tell us. If you want worry free vacationing then turn to a reputable villa rental company, which will work around the clock to ensure your stay is not only as perfect as possible, but tha you never want to leave.

New St. Tropez Hotel Uses a Luxury Villa Rental Approach to Accommodations

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Hotel Sezz St. Tropez

As luxury villa rentals are becoming more and more favored among elite St. Tropez vacationers, hotels are switching to to a “villa” format.

In most of the world’s most famous and exclusive vacation destinations, hotels usually become the predominant tourist infrastructure for vacationers. Ranging from economy to ultra-high pricing, you can usually find a wide range of hotel accommodations, offered by the world’s most popular hotel chains. This is most directly seen in Florida and California in the U.S. and in places like the Algarve in Portugal as well as many of the Spanish tourist destinations.

St. Tropez, however, has always been an exception to the rule.

Because St. Tropez has always managed to retain its small-town personality — in spite of the fact that millions of people visit the town annually, there are less than 6,000 Tropéziens that live there year round — large hotel chains have never been able to fully dominate the St. Tropez vacation experience. Add to this a new movement to tear down clubs and businesses along Pampellonne Beach in order to preserve the natural beauty of St. Tropez, and it becomes even clearer why Hilton, Sheraton, or Marriott has not been able to stake a claim to its tousrist market.

The hotels that dominate St. Tropez tend to be more of the boutique hotel and bed and breakfast variety. No mega-hotels, to be sure. But what has been the strongest vacation tradition in St. Tropez are luxury villa rentals — magnificent homes on the beach or overlooking the sea that give vacationers to St. Tropez the full native Tropéziens experience. From quaintly traditional to neo-contemporary, these luxury villas span the entire spectrum of size, decor, and price.

The popularity of luxury villa rentals in St. Tropez is clearly not going away anytime soon. In fact, some luxury villa rental companies are beginning to offer luxury hotel-style services, turning the villa living experience into a combination villa-hotel vacation.

As a result, new hotels in St. Tropez are beginning to take on the look and feel of luxury villas. Take, for instance, the Hotel Sezz Saint

A bird's eye view of Hotel Sezz

Tropez — the newest addition to luxury hotels in St. Tropez. At first sight, Hotel Sezz seems like many other boutique hotels in St. Tropez: 37 rooms, designed by architect Jean Jacques Ory and designer Christophe Pillet, modern architecture and décor, spa complex, champagne bar, and soon-to-be Michelin-rated gourmet restaurant headed by chef Pierre Gagnaire.

At closer look, however, the Hotel Sezz is set up more like a cluster of small luxury villas — not a “hotel complex” alla The Ritz-Carlton or Hilton. The 37 rooms are classified as bungalows (30m²), cocoons (40m²), or actual “villas” (90m² with private pool), and each of them offer direct access to the hotel’s facilities, such as the swimming pool, garden, and terrace.

The only problem is, no matter how much Hotel Sezz or any of the other boutique hotels in St. Tropez try to offer their guests the luxury villa experience, the shared, public facilities never offer the same privacy and exclusivity as a true luxury villa rental. And because luxury villa rental companies like Villazzo now offer VillaHotel services that rival the finest five star hotel services, it remains to be seen if even

luxury villa rental in St. Tropez

Villazzo's St. Tropez Luxury Villa Rental "La Forge," complete with VillaHotel services.

these small, exclusive luxury hotels will be able to keep up with the luxury villa rental industry in St. Tropez.

Furthermore, as St. Tropez’s city council continues to move in the direction of natural preservation of the town and beach, private luxury villas will continue to be favored in new construction permits over hotel complexes, since single family dwellings ultimately offer less erosion to natural beauty and minimal increase in the use of resources.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that luxury hotels are going anywhere in St. Tropez. To be sure, many people stay in them each year and continue to keep that portion of the travel industry up and running. More and more, however, guests in these boutique hotels look to stay in luxury villa rentals for next trip to famed St. Tropez.

Modesty the New Trend on the Sands of St. Tropez?

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Well-heeled travelers amid the luxury villa rentals of St. Tropez now seem to prefer covering up to baring all

St. Tropez is known as a place of glamorous excess, where the rich frolic in the sunshine and party well into the night. In the past it was also quite famous for its topless beaches, a Cote d’Azur tradition that seems to be in decline in recent years. Vacationers from yacht owners to those staying in luxury villa rentals will have noticed that fewer and fewer women are daring to bare their breasts lately. French sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann has been following the issue since the 1990s and has published books about his findings. Kaufmann has recently updated his old data with interviews with a new generation of women and has not only confirmed the trend, but has attempted to work out the reasons for the cultural shift.

Only fifteen years ago, when Kaufmann first conducted a study on the popularity of toplessness on the Cote d’Azur, he found that the majority embraced le monokini (bottoms only) for their beach wear. The style was especially popular in St. Tropez where topless and nude beaches have been all the rage since they were introduced in the 1960s. Tahiti Beach, for instance, is constantly showing up on Top 10 Lists, from one of the best beaches on the Cote d’Azur to one of the world’s top nude beaches. The secluded Plage de Tahiti is located about four kilometers from St. Tropez’s city center and can be found along the north part of famous Pampelonne Beach. Yet, even on beaches where topless women were once everywhere, a marked downturn can be seen. The recent trends in swimwear–like the cut-out one pieces so popular in 2010 and seen in St. Tropez on the likes of Paris Hilton–also seem to support this new keep-the-top-on modesty.

Kate Hudson debuted an array of stylish cover ups in St. Tropez this summer.

Kaufmann’s new interviews have led him to draw the conclusion that, “cultural reference points have completely changed in the last fifteen years. What was once fashionable has now become old-fashioned, and young women in particular no longer think twice about stigmatizing in a very emphatic manner the ‘old women of 50’ who dare to take off their bikini tops.” Furthermore the sociologist has found the reasons for this new way of thinking include keeping a semblance of modesty as a form of seduction, the fear of skin cancer and out-and-out shyness.

Supermodel Heidi Klum is stylish in a modest black cover up – Tropez 2010

According to RUE89, which published an article based on Kaufmann’s findings, it is not nudity itself that makes modern women blanch, but outright public nudity. “A tiny inlet or by a river or somewhere like that where there’s only me and maybe some people I know very well,” one woman told the publication about where she would be comfortable bearing it all. “I don’t feel at ease on a beach.” It seems that the current generation of women would be much more comfortable going topless poolside at a secluded luxury villa rental rather than a crowded St. Tropez beach.

While toplessness in the 60s was a sign of the Love Generation revolution and women’s lib, this new modesty seems to be the take of the new feminists who, while comfortable with their own bodies, prefer to only show them in more private places, like around the private swimming pool of a luxury villa rental. While everyone has their own ideas about what is fun and appropriate it seems that more and more women are choosing to cover up when in the glaring sun and the public eye.

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Luxury Villa Rental Vacationers Await Beachfront Club Closings in St. Tropez

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Famed Nikki Beach Club in St. Tropez- Photo via NikkiBeach.com

Locals from yacht owners to luxury villa rental vacationers anticipate proposed eco-inspired  changes to one of the world’s most exclusive strips of sand

Well-heeled jet setters look forward to their summers in St. Tropez and don’t mind paying exorbitant sums for sun chairs, not to mention hundreds of euros for drinks and food, at the exclusive local beach clubs in the area. While this has made St. Tropez a glamorous haunt for the rich and famous for decades now, that the glitzy nightlife of St. Tropez’s club scene is now threatened by a new ruling by the council that oversees the area. These exclusive clubs, like the famed Club 55 on Pampelonne beach, are facing being shut down in the light of this ruling and are making the option of a private pool in your own luxury villa rental seem like a better option every day.

According to The Australian, the council of Ramatuelle, which rules over matters that affect the St. Tropez area, has decided that the beach clubs that cater to the likes of Paris Hilton and Eva Longoria Parker are an environmental hazard. The twenty-seven businesses located on celebrated Pampelonne beach are thought to be damaging the nature in the region. The plan is to reduce the businesses on the stretch to twenty-one and to make the structures both smaller and portable, so that they can be packed away in the winter months. Not surprisingly this has both the business owners and locals, many of whom depend on tourist dollars for their livelihoods, steaming mad.
The chairwoman of the owners’ association, Carole Balligand, spoke to The Australian about her outrage at the proposed changes. According to the paper, Save Pampellone, Balligand’s organization, is not going away without a fight and is determined to block the proposed changes, which will not only change the look of the beach, but will also turn this land of sun and relaxation into a building site for the foreseeable future. For now only questions remain–about whether this proposal will indeed go forward and what, if anything, this means for businesses and vacationers in St. Tropez in the future–and will only be answered by the final ruling, which will be made by the French government.

Club 55 in St. Tropez - Photo via TaraBernerd.com

Regardless of the decision that is made, it seems clear that St. Tropez will always be a favourite vacation spot for those looking for a little glamour and exclusivity to go with their sun and sand. Perhaps, though, it will mean pulling up stakes from the beaches, and leaving the €20 beach chairs behind, for some real privacy and first class service at a luxury villa rental, where a pool can be enjoyed without the threat of cranes or protests.