By Lauren Jade Hill
This story originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.
While Saint-Tropez had long attracted artists, it was here amid the rolling countryside, golden beaches and vineyards of the Côte d’Azur that Brigitte Bardot became a star in the 1956 movie And God Created Woman, spurring the fishing village’s transformation into a coastal enclave for the jet set where millionaires’ yachts line the harbor.
Club 55 arrived first, set up on the shores of Ramatuelle by Roger Vadim, who came across the beach while seeking out locations for the iconic movie, and it was in 1967, as Saint-Tropez really began to shine, that Hôtel Byblos opened, combining the look of a Provençal village and Marcel Pagnol-style hamlet with elements of the founder’s home country, Lebanon. Positioned on the slopes leading down to the village’s cobbled streets and idyllic harbor, Mediterranean houses with balconies of bougainvillea were built around lush patios, a swimming pool and cobbled square, alongside boutiques, lounges and the nightclub Les Caves du Roy.
Le Byblos soon became intertwined in Saint-Tropez’s role as a playground for the elite, with Les Caves becoming a legendary hangout. Lauded chef Alain Ducasse opened his restaurant at Le Byblos in 2002, the very first Sisley Spa was unveiled here in 2007 and in 2012 Le Byblos was given Palace status. In its five decades the hotel has attracted more than 2,500 international celebrities, from Grace Jones and Naomi Campbell to Donatella Versace, Bruce Willis, Jack Nicholson, and Mick Jagger, who threw his wedding celebration here.
Now, marking its 50th year, the iconic hotel is collaborating with a select group of luxury brands: Audemars Piguet, Dom Pérignon, Goyard, Rolls-Royce, Missoni Home and Sisley. Audemars Piguet has created the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Summer Editions 2017 watch exclusively for the Byblos 50th Anniversary, Rolls-Royce has unveiled the Byblos by Rolls-Royce cabriolet in sunset orange, and both Sisley and Goyard have launched limited edition Byblos bags in celebration. Dom Pérignon created a lavish experience at Les Caves, while Missoni Home transformed the hotel’s sprawling Riviera Suite to reflect the distinct style of the vibrant brand. While it enters another era, the legend of Le Byblos is set to continue.