Single night stays mean you can get all the vacation vibes without taking time off work. Stylist contributor Samantha Silver enjoys some rapid R&R on the Côte d’Azur.
Sometimes even 48 hours for a weekend away is more than you can manage. But that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a restorative break for the border if you consider Nice airport is a two-hour flight from London, and St Tropez just a 90-minute cab transfer from there. For me, that means my 7am flight from Heathrow has me feasting on a pain au raisin and a frothy cappuccino in the sun-dappled courtyard of the Byblos hotel before noon.
Built 50 years ago by a Lebanese businessman in a bid to woo Brigitte Bardot, and recently redesigned by Missoni, the Byblos’ ice-cream coloured walls and cornflower blue shutters mean it’s impossible not to fall into holiday mode the moment you check in.
With everything you need for a stylish break – a swimming pool, Sisley spa, ‘Les Caves du Roy’ night club and fine dining restaurant by Alain Ducasse, it’s also super starry, having hosted Cher, Jack Nicholson and Beyoncé, plus Mick and Bianca Jagger on their wedding night. So you might want to pack your finery into your carry-on. Fold it neatly, though – irons aren’t provided and getting a T-shirt pressed costs £9.
Rue Gambetta and Rue François Sibilli, which feature big designer names from Céline to Dior, are dangerously close by, but stroll on towards the port to find cobbled streets lined with smaller independent boutiques. We missed the market that runs every Tuesday and Saturday but I’m told that the straw basket game is strong and if you’re after vintage homeware, the back streets are littered with boutiques selling retro furniture and home accessories.
As the sun drops, the scent of jasmine fills the hotel courtyard and an aperitif down, we take the hotel’s advice and return to the port to watch the sunset. After a cold glass of rosé at one of the street-side tables at Le Gireler, we move on to French-Asian restaurant Le Quai (lequaisaint-tropez.com) for supper. Book a table outside to yacht-spot and whatever you do, don’t miss the tuna sashimi. If you’ve got the stamina, Le Quai turns into a nightclub that’s open until 3am, though we admit defeat at 1am.
After a well-earned lie-in on Sunday, we head to legendary beach club institution Le Club 55 (club55.fr) for a lunch involving more rosé, seafood, steamed artichoke and the famous crudité platter (less of a platter, more of a farmer’s market on a plate). Book ahead and wear your best bikini as it’s very sceney but don’t worry about towels – the Byblos provide theirs in a canvas bag and lay on shuttles for the 10-minute drive to and from Le Club 55.
With packed tables under a shaded canopy and an infectious party vibe, it’s easy to forget it’s your last day, and after a browse at the ludicrously pricey kaftans in the club’s boutique and a lounge on the beach, it’s time to head back to the airport. My 9.40pm flight means I’m in London in my Uber home by 11pm, refreshed, sun-kissed and ready for the week ahead. I’m calling it: micro-breaks are the new mini-breaks. “”
Classic double rooms at the Byblos hotel cost £424 a night; byblos.com. Flights from Heathrow with British Airways start at £70; ba.com
Images: Byblos Hotel