Chateau de la Messardiere is located outside of the fishing village (yes there are still fishermen with their nets in St. Tropez) but within a stone's throw and the hotel has a regular shuttle to take you anywhere in town without the worry of parking, then will pick you back up. A few years ago the hotel was down at the heels but new management has spruced the entire place up from tower to toe, installed a Michelin starred chef, Chef Christian Farenasso who learned his art from such notables as Michel Bras, Trama and Sanderens and who brings his Piedmont and Corsican roots to offer up a southern cuisine overflowing with flavors and colors and above all, the taste of Provence. (click here for more on the food)
With its luxurious spa, gardens, pools and peace, it is the ideal place for a get-away but close enough to the night life to dance till sunrise at the "Caves du Roi" if you so prefer and then sleep it off in quiet.
With its Umbrella Pines scenting the air and providing framing for the tableau of vistas and its 25 acres of immaculate gardens, pathways, statuary and fountains and even a duck pond that supplies a chorus of frog song to lull you to sleep, it almost does not need the recently installed spa with its Jacuzzi, indoor pool, steam rooms, treatments of all kinds, massage and exercise gym. But they are there. The spa even has its own terrace and water garden. (You never get far from the soothing sound of water squirting, falling or burbling on this property.) The Spa uses both "La Prairie" and "Cinq Monde" products due to their high quality and purity. Beauty treatments are available as well as a full time hair dresser who is on staff making it easy to enjoy the beach, spa and pool and still arrive at dinner perfectly coiffed.
The Chateau is an official French Bird Protection Reserve and their song too soothes the soul with the occasional brace of sea gulls voicing their complaints. Nestled in and among the trees, bushes and lush plantings are winding pathways with benches for sitting and soaking up this rare property and with its un-matched views watched over by the stone and terra cotta statuary with the occasion bronze to keep them honest. With the hot sun, the perfumes of the pines mingle with that of the lavender. Truly a place of the sense. (You may be getting the idea that we love this place!)
The lobby and public areas are rich in color and grandeur. Stained glass windows, mosaics and elegant fabrics create a richness seldom experienced not to mention the Persian carpets scattered outside to sooth the feet over heated by the hot pool area tile. The outdoor terrace for dining is vast and looks out over the beaches of Pampelonne. On a warm evening with delicious food and wines along with its breathtaking views, it is indeed magical especially as the light begins to fade and change, so do the views. It is a mesmerizing entertainment between courses. Twilight falls and the candles are lit. It is also impossibly romantic. In the morning, breakfast is also served here with a lovely buffet. The early sun shines right into the terrace, so you have a completely different visual experience along with your "pain au chocolat" and coffee.
The large pool is surrounded by a much larger sun terrace filled with rattan furniture so it becomes part pool area and part outside lounge. There is a pool bar and food service from the "La Terrasse" restaurant. With wifi everywhere you can spoil yourself and keep in touch with the office if you absolutely, positively have to. Or not.
Along with the physical revamping of the chateau and its satellites, the staff received a complete makeover as well. When we were there in 2009, we had received an indifferent reception bordering on snooty. This time, even though they did not know us as journalists until later, we were warmly and yet professionally received from the instant we stepped out of our car. This carried through the entire experience from reception to restaurant, from spa to pool. Service in all the dining arenas from formal dinner to casual daytime meals was without exception immediate, attentive, warm and efficient. It is hard to achieve such balance. In a five star it should be, but so often isn't.
Our room was spacious and extremely appealing. It was sunny both in light and decor. It utilized some of our favorite colors - rosy reds and sunshine yellows and golds with soft yellow tinged cream for the walls and much of the furniture. The private terrace looked over the gardens and the bay on one side the beaches on the other just viewable throughout the pines. All the mod cons from easy to use cable TV (even I could find CNN!) to the walk-in closet and well appointed bathroom. Even more closets were cleverly worked into the room set up so there is enough storage for a nice long stay or someone who travels well equipped. All the small but important details were anticipated and provided. Lots of space on and under the counter top in the bathroom, for example, to store away your toiletries.
The 45 suites and 73 rooms are scattered around the estate and each with its own character. Some in a long annex that lines the driveway and looks out over the bay of St. Tropez. Some are in the original 19th century Chateau itself, others frame the pool with still others just below. Four square "pavilions" hold even more. Two levels of rooms extend below the dining terrace. All rooms and suites have private balconies or, on the garden level, their own access to the gardens. (Our video will give you a good idea of the different character of all of these so you can pick your pleasure - click here.)
“Restaurant Les Trois Saisons”:
Now to the food (to share our meal video click here). You need never leave the Chateau if you don't want to. Chef Farenasso has brought new live and energy to their gourmet restaurant "Les Trois Saisons". He also has completely remade the poolside restaurant "La Terrasse" and revamped the 24/7 room service menu. But it is "Les Trois Saisons" that really caught our fancy. It was a little chilly when we were there so we had a table right by the wall of floor to ceiling seamless glass windows that are also fold away doors for indoor/outdoor dining. So our view was uninterrupted.
Peter and I started with an Amuse-Bouche of an exceptional Gaspacho with a crispy sweet basil leaf balanced on the side. Peter who had the "Provence Menu" followed with three islands of a Creamy Brandade of half-salted Rouget with an olive caviar while I enjoyed a dish of local green asparagus sautéed with spring vegetables and olive oil served with Foie Gras and Fleur de Sel along with grilled leaves of Pata Negra Ham. A feast for the eye as well as the mouth.
Peter's next course was a Small Bouillabaisse made from Poisson du Roc with the "stew" poured over and around the fish that sat on a small bed of saffron potatoes. The Rouille for the "toasts" and the grated parmesan were sever on the side and seemed to find their way closer to me than to Peter. Meanwhile I had the tender local lamb "noisettes" roasted and served with artichoke risotto, an artichoke "Barigoule" with a drizzle of the lamb juices enhanced with green olives.
We both chose light desserts. I ordered an off menu dish of "fruits rouges", an assortment of berries all in perfect ripeness. Peter had the "Nougat Glassée" with candied fruit and almonds server with a sauce of "fruits rouges". By this time, night had fallen, the candles lit and a moon lighting the scene high above the Chateau. So Peter finished with an espresso after letting the last of the sweet dessert wine melt on his tongue. Throughout the meal we were served a different wine for each dish that was designed between the chef and the sommelier that were a wonderful tour of the local vineyards of Provence in and of themselves. (You can see their current menu on their web site.)
It is very satisfying to be able to revisit such a magnificent establishment that had previously not been living up to its potential and and report that it is revitalized and living up to expectation and beyond. With its large capacity, it can accommodate large events and with its attention to detail and the individual, it also offers a personalized welcome to a party of one or two.
For a little history:
La Messardière's name goes back to the era of Charles Martel. Numerous marriages related the family to the Royal, Carolingian and Capetian dynasties from 640 onwards.
After a series of feats of arms and royal decorations, the dynasty's official Coat of Arms first appeared in 1669, when Renée, daughter of Seigneur de la Messardière, wedded Count Léonor Le Brun.
for the rest, click here.
CHATEAU HOTEL DE LA MESSARDIERE
Route de Tahiti
83990 SAINT TROPEZ
Tel. +33(0)4 94 56 76 00
Fax +33(0)4 94 56 76 01
skype : messardiere
Member: Leading Hotels of the World
Member: Leading Spas
The Spa incorporates treatment and relaxation areas. The relaxation area features a tide pool and jacuzzi, men's steam bath with showers and changing room, women's steam bath also with showers and changing room. The adjoining fitness room is equipped with cutting edge Technogym cardio-training and bodybuilding machines built to encourage effort, with treats such as Ipod docking stations and touchscreens for access to 25 TV channels. Spa guests are welcomed by our Spa Manager Anne Milan, then taken in hand by one of our 4 qualified beauticians or specialist masseurs.
Face and body treatments, massages and hand & foot beauty treatments are enjoyed in the Spa's 4 rooms: the Thai massage room, hand & foot beauty room, outdoor cabin or mixed treatment room with steam bath.
The Spa offers a delicious range of specialist massage products from around the world by Cinq Mondes and face treatments by the famous cosmetics brand La Prairie. La Prairie has also created 2 exclusive care products for La Messardière, including the Soin Radiance Or Pur du Château formulated using pure gold drops . . .
La Môle airport 15 km
Toulon-Hyères Airport 55 km
Nice-Côte d’Azur airport 90 km
Grimaud Heliport, 20 mins from Nice and 15 mins from Toulon
Saint-Raphaël TGV (high speed train) station 35 km
A8 highway (Saint-Tropez/Le Muy exit)
RN 98 road towards Saint-Tropez via Sainte-Maxime
”Leading Hotels of the World” and “The Leading Spa” hotel chain.
Also a member of the GPCA (Palaces of the Côte d’Azur Group)
and of the "Var Prestige" Club.