It is said Saint-Tropez practically invented the summer vacation. The chic resorts and white sandy beaches along the French Rivera famously attracted American and European celebrities for decades. One lasting resort, the elegant and stylish Hotel Épi, was a favorite holiday spot for celebrities like Bridget Bardot and Madonna. But sixty years later the owners of the petit-maison decided to rebrand the once exclusive hotel with a focus on wellness. Now, the smart, eco-friendly resort caters to holistic wellness vacationers and promotes environmental sustainability. The culture shift maybe dramatic, but it may be what ushers in a new Golden Age in Saint-Tropez.
An Iconic Renovation
The stone walls and wooden planks are the same as they were in the days that Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn vacationed there. Italian interior designer Monica Damate replicated the hotel’s summer fresh feel from original photography and vintage furniture from the 1950s and ’60s as inspiration.
The renovation maintains the ten original cabins. Inside, vintage wicker furnishings and elegant artwork decorate the rooms. Outside, hiking and running trails as well as the many shades of blue reflected by the ocean decorate the hotel’s landscape. There are also two swimming pools at the edge of the iconic Pampelonne beach, fringed by yellow parasols and elegant cabanas.
A Hol-istic New Approach
In its heyday Hotel Épi was the place for overwhelming glitz and glam known for its babes and boats. But today it’s all about nature immersion and the art of rejuvenation.
An inter-disciplinary program of holistic group classes, including movement and meditation, surfing, and yoga are available daily. Épi 1959 employs global experts in sports, yoga and mindfulness to develop customized wellness packages for guests.
The charming resort is surrounded by a lush Provençal garden where the morning dew mixes with the sweet smell of pines. The scene was created by American landscaper Madison Cox, a plant virtuoso who designed some of the most beautiful gardens in the world, including the Majorelle garden in Marrakesh.
A Dining Evolution
Also located on the property in a small garden is the internationally acclaimed restaurant Chotto Matte St Tropez. Chotto Matte is new to France but known to London, Miami and Toronto. The restaurant’s international cuisine is an evolution of Japanese-Peruvian fare, where each dish and pairing plays on a multitude of colors and flavors.
Hotel Épi 1959 may have the original vibe of its 1960s parent but the owners are re-writing the story into something more magical.
“Épi was, and still is, real, imperfect, human. It has a soul and a culture that makes it truly unique, thus something we can all associate with.” – Épi1959.com