I have been looking at and reading about Hôtel Les Roches Rouges for a couple of years, but it has never worked out to stay there. Last year the credit card points were all lined up, the train tickets from Paris all set, and then something came up which made it all impossible. So my obsession with this lives on unsatisfied.
If you have ever been to this part of the world in summer, you will know it really is a remarkable place. The light, the weather, the food; there is a reason Picasso and Matisse came here.
This particular hotel strikes me as being lifted out of the ’50s glamour of a Slim Aarons photo — not the stuffy Cannes variety, but the cool Nouvelle-Vague-film-star kind of place. It could be the recent renovation, excellently done by Paris-based firm Festen Architecture. The 40 bedrooms are furnished with vintage midcentury finds, and there’s access to a private beach. The rooms are almost directly over the water; the building itself seems to be cut into the rocks of the Mediterranean shoreline.
The garden is described as “worked with rather than against nature, planting myrtle, pomegranates, rosemary and lavender in the shade of fragrant pines, and a thicket of scented scrub that looks as though it has grown there since time immemorial.”
Then there is the pool. This is not some chain hotel with its turquoise blue tiled pool and lifeguard towers. This is a dark sexy pool cut into the rocks at the edge of the sea. It looks like a set piece from a modern noir film. To further the reference, they show French films outdoors by moonlight.
Even the sign on the building is a spectacular use of font and shape. I can imagine Gianni Agnelli strolling through the front doors fresh off his helicopter.
Sometimes it can be so satisfying to go to a proper summer leisure hotel, where thoughtful-yet-stimulating design reigns king. How about some old-time glamour? How about some well-thought-out luxury? How about staying someplace drop dead gorgeous? Maybe this summer, hopefully, we can make it.