Let me give you a cast-iron tip: if you’re going to St Tropez in the holiday season, don’t even think about a day-trip. On a busy summer day, some 100,000 visitors head for the place. There’s just one main road in, and the same road out. You may imagine the jams.
You’ll be queuing for at least a couple of hours each way, and a lot more if you’re unlucky. Then there’s the nightmare of parking. All that, for perhaps four hours in the resort, most of which will be spent worrying about when to leave to avoid the crowds.
It’s madness, to be avoided unless you want to end up slaughtering your fellow passengers. To do the job properly, you need to think longer-term. In truth, you need to book into one of the hotels in St Tropez.
That way, you can relax, appreciate the place properly and also become a semi-insider, so looking down your nose at the day-trippers. (Locals call them “ice-cream lickers”.)
Granted, St Tropez hotels are not cheap (if you wanted cheap, you wouldn’t be in St Tropez in the first place) but they are numerous: more than 60 in the district for a permanent population of 6,500.
Because there are so many, competition is acute, especially in crunch times and especially at the top end, for this is a top-end location. Luxury hotels in St Tropez can’t afford to be left behind in the matter of standards, service or innovation. Show me a Tropezien hotel without all-round WiFi, walk-in power showers and a smiling, anytime attitude to serving food - and I’ll show you a hotel going bust.
Pressure will be compounded with the 2010 and 2011 opening of yet more four and five-star establishments, currently under construction. They’ll all vying to be among the best hotels in St Tropez.
You don’t have to be a movie legend to benefit. Most people – notably in what pass for cheap hotels in St Tropez (ha!) – are no more glamorous than you or me. They’re simply revelling in the spin-off glitz and the warm pleasures of a Mediterranean evening…once the ice-cream lickers have gone.