Archive for October, 2010

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

Friday, October 29th, 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

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.

Luxury Villa Spotlight: VillaHotel Imana in St. Tropez

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Although the new trend in St. Tropez is supposedly “authentic luxury,” the new crop of ultra-contemporary hotels there seem to be out luxury villaof place. But this luxury villa really combines a modern interior with a traditional exterior for total luxury throughout.

Search the web about St. Tropez these days and you’ll come across a lot of coverage about the new boutique hotels that have been appearing there, just in time for the peak summer season. The Muse Hotel has made a lot of news: with its 15 little “villas,” its layout is supposedly a reflection of the trend toward traditional, authentic St. Tropez luxury , much in the way that Bardot discovered it back in the day.

But these new hotels are about as authentic and traditional as the Guggenheim Art Museum.

The manager of the Muse recently was quoted as saying, “We want to build a brand of boutique hotels that offer refinement and culture and puts excellent Asian service into a French cocoon.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but Asian service — regardless of what you may think of it personally — is most certainly not going to give you an authentic St. Tropez experience.

Similar questions can be raised about the other new players in the St. Tropez boutique hotel market: La Réserve Ramatuelle is another contemporary art masterpiece — impressive, no doubt, but about as quintessentially St. Tropez as Disney World.

The fact is, luxury villas are the only real option for experiencing St. Tropez the way it used to be. And what’s for, if you still have a thirst for contemporary decor, you can both.

Set amid the rugged terrain of the countryside, VillaHotel Imana offers an exquisite blend of traditional French elegance with modern décor and amenities. Private, garden-lined terraces invite you spend your days outside on the manicured lawn or pristine, Olympic sized pool, or entertain into the night with an outdoor barbeque and covered lounge.

This luxury villa features large windows and an open floor plan that give you an exceptional view of the gardens, pool, and outdoors around every turn of VillaHotel Imana, while the villa’s traditional exterior design gives way to sleek, minimalist contemporary décor inside. In addition, the living and dining rooms as well as the 4 bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms are all remarkably unified in their furniture and decoration, offering a mix of artistry and comfort. The kitchen and bathrooms all feature contemporary appliances and fixtures that will captivate your senses, while the rest of VillaHotel Imana offers plenty of space and comfort.

And because the VillaHotel Imana features Villazzo’s industry-leading VillaHotel services, you get the perfect combination of five-star hotel services with the comfort and privacy of a traditional luxury villa in St. Tropez.

So, if you’re looking to experience the authentic St. Tropez holiday, be sure to choose a luxury villa like the VillaHotel Imana — it’ll give you the best of both worlds.

Luxury Villa Spotlight: V Villa Julia in Miami Beach

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Luxury villas are a dime a dozen in Miami Beach, and few really stand out among the crowd. But Villazzo’s V Villa Julia’s design, décor,

Luxury Villa V Villa Julia

A view of Villazzo's V Villa Julia - a luxury villa in Miami Beach

and features bring the very best that Miami Beach has to offer to your own vacation experience.

Few luxury villas in Miami Beach capture the sun, sea, and warmth quite like V Villa Julia. Decorated in bright, inviting textures and featuring an open design both inside and out, this luxury villa lets in the light and natural beauty of this 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom bayside property seep into your luxury vacation. Large windows highlight the living and dining areas as well as the kitchen and bedrooms, giving you an enchanting view of the bay, pool, and terrace night and day. Luxurious bedrooms with sitting areas and en suite bathrooms making going to sleep and waking up a pleasure.

Outside, V Villa Julia luxury villa features a multi-level terrace – perfect for outside dining and entertaining – as well as a vanishing edge pool with cascading waterfall, barbeque area, and a bayside dock. And because it’s just 5 minutes from the beach, V Villa Julia has everything you need from a luxury villa to experience the very best of Miami Beach.

Luxury Villa V Villa Julia

The living and dining areas of luxury villa V Villa Julia

In recent years, the contemporary design movement has overtaken Miami Beach, and though this exclusive neighborhood of luxury villas boast modern, sprawling, mansion-sized homes, many of them appear as pastiche recreations of authentic contemporary Miami properties. Julia, however, features a layout that is seldom seen in recent luxury villas in Miami Beach: it connects the interior with the exterior by way of its capacious windows and tasteful decor.

Around every corner, you’ll find a minimalist yet inviting set of furniture, housewares, and design elements, most of which are done in white or beige. This bright, blank color palette, however, perfectly complements the rich, colorful palette of the outside landscape, which pours into virtually every square foot of this luxury villa by way of its windows. As you can see from the photo to the right, palm trees, blue skies, and the bay serve as the color throughout V Villa Julia.

Article by Michael Nace

Small, Boutique Hotels In St. Tropez Seek To Compete With Luxury Villa Rentals

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

The recent opening of the Muse Hotel in St. Tropez illustrates how luxury villa rentals have the set the tone for exclusive vacationing along the French Riviera.

Although the resort town of St. Tropez is world-famous, it still remains a small, quant town that is dominated less by mega hotels and more by exclusive luxury villa rental properties. Perhaps that is why the most recent hotel launch in St. Tropez was not a massive Hilton, Ritz Carlton, or Four Seasons, but rather the botique Muse Hotel.  Located on the Ramtatuelle ‘route de plages’ road, the Muse is minutes from the Place de Lices as well as the famous sunny beaches and azure waters of St. Tropez. However, the Muse isn’t catering to throngs of average vacation goes, but rather the same set of wealthy, famous jet-setters who would otherwise stay in a private luxury villa rental.

With only 15 villa-style rooms and a wealth of luxury features that are designed to appeal to people looking for a luxury villa experience, the small villas at the Muse feature large walk in closets, luxurious, spa-like bathrooms, and the latest in-room technology, including a 42” Loewe plasma screen with over 100 channels, Playstation, an iPad, and and iPhone. Add to this a list of exclusive guest services, such as Bentley shuttles to the beaches, butlers, and other hospitality, and you get a perfect synthesis of hotel and luxury villa rental.

Services like these, however, are not a new idea in St. Tropez vacationing, but rather a reaction to keep up with the burgeoning luxury villa rental industry there.

The fact is, luxury villa rentals in St. Tropez have boasted hotel-like services along with their privacy, luxury, and exclusivity for years. In recent years, luxury villa rental companies such as Villazzo have taken the promise of offering luxury villa rentals with five-star hotel services even further by creating “VillaHotels.” These VillaHotels offer the same level of exceptional services that you’d find in a small boutique hotel, while offering a level of privacy that a hotel simply cannot offer.

Because these luxury villa rentals have become increasingly popular, hotels in St. Tropez have gone out of their way to make their premises and facilities feel as much like a real luxury villa as possible. The result, however, has been met with mixed results: many wealthy and famous visitors to St. Tropez seek larger, private amenities, away from the thousands of gawking vacationers. Hotels — no matter how private and exclusive — simply cannot offer the level of privacy and service that this level of clientele is searching for.

So, as you read more and more about these villa-style boutique hotels opening up in the French Riviera, remember that the true VillaHotel experience can only be gotten by staying in a luxury villa rental that offers comprehensive, 5-star hotel services.

Article by Michael Nace