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Le Mas de Chastelas*****, nr. St. Tropez,
Cote d'Azur, Provence, France.

Hotel le Mas de Chastelas is a celebrated and historic old mansion positioned on a low rise overlooking the neighboring vineyards just on the outskirts of St. Tropez in the Cote d'Azur. Over the last 45 years, it has played host to the intelligentsia of the literary world and stars of the cinema of both Europe and America. It was one of the first luxury hotels in the newly emerging mystic of St. Tropez. Today, with new management and investment, it is once again entering the club of luxury hotels on the peninsula.

Peter and Linda D'Aprix 2012

Entrance jVegetable dish Bedroom Classic
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The Hotel:
St. Tropez developed and glitzy new hotels were built, Le Mas de Chastelas had cruised on little changed and a tad out of step and behind the times; a grand dame enjoying the memories. But all that has changed, or at least this fabulous mas has been given a new lease on life, keeping the best of the character of her history, the enduring evidence of a long life, evidence of the generations who enjoyed her in the past but with rooms and suites brought up to date in their facilities and technologies, modern cuisine with the tastes of the region and a whole new modern annex if the ambience of an earlier, more graceful age is not your style.

Le Mas is once again a luxury hotel, utterly charming with a "slightly shabby-chic" feel that is very appealing enveloping the guest in the warmth of a French country family house, the worn wood and Poolancient tile stair treads, the ancient terra cotta floor tiles, the traditional cool grays of the walls, antiques, prints and the glow of a Provence sun at the end of every hall. The soothing sounds of the several old fountains permeate the grounds and filter into the rooms through the dense vines that shade the thick walls.

Le Mas de Chastelas (which means small castle) first opened it doors as a hotel in 1967. Under new management guidance of the experienced and charming hotelier Olivier Valentin, the grand dame has achieved their five star classification. When we where there, most renovations had been completed including the new dining room which occupies the sun filled solarium in the upper garden level. But with the fantastic St. Tropez weather, it is the outdoor dining on the shaded terrace by the pool that is the most appeal for lunch and for dinner as you watch the light in the sky slowly fade and the lights some on, it is magical.

The 13 rooms and suites in the old Mas are relatively simple and well appointed and have been carefully restored to retain their character and charm. The requisite amenities are offered, free wifi, flat screen TV, pirate safes, mini-bar and modern Salon photoair conditioning. "L’Occitane" products in the bathrooms. Our room was an end corner one that had a lovely private balcony where we could recline and look out over the plain and the mountains beyond shaded by the Wisteria.

In addition to the traditional rooms in the main building, two villas have recently been added. One, the modern annex, "Tuscan Villa", was opened in 2012 while the other, the "Palladian Villa", of a more traditional architecture, was opened as another annex, perfect for families with its own gardens and access to the pool. The two structures add 10 more rooms and suites. In addition to the heated pool, there are two tennis courts and maze of gardens. Its private, complimentary shuttle assures transportation of the guests to Saint Tropez and the beaches of Pampelonne - so no driving and parking irritations to mar the vacation.

We loved the old world style of the gardens, rows of cyprus lining the long driveway, the entrance and Old Photodotted around the property. Statuary nestled on pedestals. The umbrella pins added their sculpture and scent. The swimming pool was filled with families and on the flanking terrace wet bodies soaked up the sun. As you enter the grounds after pushing on the intercom system, the old rusty gates benefit from modern electric motors as the squeel their way open in stately splendor.

Embedded in the fabric of this place are the veils of previous guests; Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu were filmed here in the 80's "I love you al!". Since its inception in 1967, celebrities had becom more and more numerous on the French Riviera of the era. The New Wave of French cinema followed in the steps of the famous "Gendarmes de St. Tropez” filmed in the city of the Bailli de Suffren. The movie “La Collectionneuse”, directed by Eric Rohmer in St Tropez in 1967 and showing scenes shot at Le Mas de Chastelas, received an award at the Berlin Festival in February 1967.

The Restaurant:
Patio dining photoThe Executive Chef Mathieu Hericotte of Le Mas de Chastelas brings to the cuisine a love of the Mediterranean produce and sea food from the markets of Provence and the Cote d'Azur that he renders with his northern French culinary training but holds true to their southern tastes and textures. (See our video up of him preparing a marvelous recipe made with heirloom tomatoes and pesto. Click here). Chef Hericotte has put this hotel and its restaurant on the map for truely superb cuisine with immaculate attention to both detail and balance of flavors of the region in each dish.

Breakfast by the pool in the early morning sun was paradise. A generous self serve buffet breakfast covers a vast range of cultural tastes from cheeses to cold meats, fruits served in every possible fashion, pizza, cereals, breads of all descriptions, pastries, and more. It would be easy to spend all morning enjoying a leisurely breakfast and we noticed many did.

Le Mas de Chastelas is a destination in itself, an oasis of old world serenity. Or it is a jumping off point for any imaginable activity from the shopping in the fashion boutiques of St. Tropez where many of the top fashion houses are represented to beach activities, hiking, boating, exploring, winery tours and tasting (you can start that at the bottom of the drive!) - you name it. The concierge will help you find whatever resources you need and the shuttle will deliver you to their door.

HotelLe Mas de Chastelas*****
Quartier Bertaud
F-83580 Gassin (nr. St. Tropez)
France.
tel: +33 (0)4 94 56 71 71
fax +33 (0)4 94 56 71 56.

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No copying, reuse or partial reproduction permitted without written permission by the authors, Peter and Linda D'Aprix.


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