Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

The Beauvallon Beach Club, Ste-Maxime: 04 94 55 78 88

Dominating the coast road between Ste Maxime and Grimaud stands an imposing, pink Belle Epoque palace housing one of the region’s most expensive luxury hotels. You can’t miss it.

But most people have no idea that it fathers a stunning, colonial-style Beach Club, hidden below the road, perched on decking above the blue, lapping sea, with a fabulous view over the Bay of St Tropez.

It will re-open mid-March (till mid-October), and with Easter early this year, it could provide just the day out for your guests to treat you to.

Leave your car in its spacious carpark and stroll past the gym and the ultra-turquoise 25m overflow swimming pool (with Saracen-style tents giving shade to the comfortable loungers) into a fabulous Malaysian-looking bar with its wood-tabled, bamboo-chaired terraces facing out to sea. The attractive restaurant (no set menu) serves dishes with a Thai influence — satay, spicy grills, salads. The carte is quite simple — choose between about 6 starters, average price 18€, &/or 6 main courses at about 20€ (puds are c.12€). The presentation is excellent and the dishes substantial, though we found the quality variable — some were superb, others (eg. Caesar Salad with Chinese Crispy Duck) slightly disappointing. The fish can be pricy — beware. But the bar offers light snacks “for grazing” if you’re not prepared to splash out. The service is splendidly welcoming and attractively all male!

In my opinion the view and ambience are worth every euro — but it doesn’t stop there. The best thing is the ‘navette’ to St Tropez. Having wined and dined, sign up for the 3pm departure (18€ return). It’s no ordinary boat — a chic white leather-lined speedboat rockets across the bay bumping and spraying, to deposit you in the picturesque port. And just think — no parking fees in St Trop and, above all, no snailing it down that dreadful road. Having arranged a pick-up time in the evening, you’re free to visit the Annonciade, then (giving a wide berth to the so-called painters fringing the port) head towards the end of the harbour wall and follow the sea-path along to the relatively unspoiled Ponche Quartier and the superbly sited cemetery (“a tomb with a view”)…up to the Citadelle, down and around the old town, shopping as you go.

Then you’ll be zoomed back in style to the Beach Club, to sip a final Margarita, watching the sun set over the dock (and the bay), the harbour lights of St Tropez twinkling in the distance…

Juliet Young

REVISITED summer 07
Still a super venue. The food is presented with the style and exquisite presentational beauty of a Japanese banquet, and the sous-chef is, actually, Vietnamese, accounting for some Eastern dishes. Starters are around €12 these days, and there is lots of choice. Main courses are more expensive €24+, but you could easily eat well on 2 starters. The return boat trip now costs €20 per head.

Copyright © 2005 Anglo-American Group of Provence