Industry Update
External Article16 July 2019

Why Philippe Stark Calls This New Saint-Tropez Wellness Resort One of His ‘Most Successful’ Projects

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When French media magnate Alan Weill called up the superstar designer Philippe Starck, asking him to redesign the hotel he had just bought on the Saint Tropez peninsula, at first Starck turned him down. He did not like the Côte d'Azur, and had not stepped foot in Saint Tropez in 50 years. But when Weill told him about this particular area, La Croix-Valmer, where his family had gone for generations, Starck agreed to check it out.

Immediately, Starck fell under its charm: the quiet, sandy Gigaro beach, the expansive sea views, the wild green nature reserves, and none of the flashiness of Saint Tropez. "I rented a scooter, I went everywhere and I thought: it's not possible!" he recalls. "It is like this place has been protected under a glass dome."

The man known for designing everything from a squid-shaped lemon squeezer to the world's most futuristic yacht says he receives about 100 offers to design hotels per year, and rejects 95 percent of them. Not only did he ultimately accept to design the Lily of the Valley, he became its artistic director.

He recommended tearing down the existing 1970s hotel and starting afresh. As always, he sketched out his design quickly and intuitively, in a day and a half. When it was fully built, he realized that unconsciously, he had re-created the idyllic universe of 1920s neoclassical paintings, with their Mediterranean architecture, Roman arches and people in togas playing lyres. "You get the impression it has always been here," Starck says—and yet, at the same time, the hotel is absolutely contemporary.

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