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Les Roches Rouges

As the relationship between art and hospitality has grown over the decades, a new breed of boutique hotels has emerged over the last years offering new ways of experiencing contemporary art and hospitality together, with the concepts often originating from the hotelier´s passion for collecting and showcasing art and design. This is the first story in our edit of hotels that highlight those special aspects.

Azure blue, pure white, red ochre, rosé and scenic routes. This is the old-school glamour of the French Riviera at a glance. Though the Riviera is often associated with the luxury and celebrity spots like Cannes and St. Tropez, the reality is that it can often be overcrowded and overpriced. But there´s another side to the region — one that´s charming and a little rough.

Hotel Les Roches Rouges nestled on the coast of Saint-Raphaël was bought by Valéry Grégo the founder of French boutique-hotel chain Les Hôtels d´en Haut, who gave its original modernist architecture a five-star upgrade. The riviera might be a tricky place to do low-key chic, but he aimed to create an idyllic spot where guests could experience the province the way it´s meant to be. 

Renovated by Paris-based firm Festen Architecture, the 50-room hotel strikes a balance of luxury with a pared-down aesthetic, accentuating its floor-to-ceiling windows and long, straight lines with an all-white palette.  

We looked back to the 1950s when the Riviera was really chic and glamorous, and we asked ourselves, what do we want? says Hugo Sauzay, one half of Festen, in an interview in Vogue in March.

Restaurants and suites are richly decorated with iconic furniture like the Transat chairs by the modernist designer Eileen Gray and a nice collection of handpicked vintage design brings you back in time.

The midcentury design furniture was sourced by antique dealers Benjamin Desprez and Héléne Breheret, who have over 10 years of experience dealing in furniture by French designers from the second half of the twentieth century. The team also fell for the work of Guy Bareff, whose wall lights adorn the walls of the restaurant. Other gems uncovered by the hotel include a pair of cement garden armchairs by Willy Guhl, says Sophie Salata, who represents the hotel.

Art specially commissioned from young emerging artists such as  Caroline Denervaud and Jean André  decorates the walls of the hotel. Some are painted directly onto the walls, as Le Corbusier did in the iconic Eileen Gray designed Villa E1. While Denervaud was inspired by the play of colour and light and worked with multiple shades of blue and red that harmonise with browns, pinks, yellows and ochres, André was inspired by the wall frescos of Cocteau, le Corbusier, Matisse and Man Ray. The art is frequently abstract, in warm glowing colours recalling the Mediterranean light that has inspired so many artists through the centuries.

Hôtel Les Roches Rouges, with its barefoot riviera luxury is where one would like to spend lazy summer afternoons between naps and taking dips in the salt water pool, sipping on rosé to the sound of the waves.

See more of the hotel on Instagram.

WORDS Ingunn Eyþórsdóttir & Sara Torcato
PHOTOS  Les Roches Rouges