At the foot of the Esterel massif, on a Mediterranean beach, the Hôtel Les Roches Rouges has just opened. A fifties modernist jewel with 50 rooms and suites, revamped by the Festen architectural duo, entirely open to the great blue. Scented by the pine trees…
A steep succession of crystalline creeks and fine coves, the coast of Saint-Raphaël gained, in 2017, one of the prettiest hotels in the south of France. Called Les Roches Rouges, the place decorated by the architects’ studio Festen, in a tasteful 50s spirit, almost gives the impression of putting one’s suitcases on a boat, so much so that the Mediterranean waves are everywhere to be seen. From the lobby, with its rough concrete walls, where you can contemplate them, installed on the “DS 600” De Sede leather sofa that winds its way around or outside, on Airborne’s “AA” armchairs, while waiting for check-in, an aromatic cocktail in hand.
In the 44 immaculate rooms and suites, filled with books and vintage photos, where visitors fall asleep lulled by the surf. At the edge of the two swimming pools, facing the horizon, where you only have to walk a few metres on the pontoon to dive in and meet it. But also and above all from the restaurants where each table overlooks the translucent waves. Especially if you sit upstairs, in the heart of the Reef.
Facing the string of ochre rocks of the Golden Island (which is said to have inspired one of Hergé’s Tintin albums), visitors can choose from a 7-course menu, named 40 degrees North, 6 degrees East (the hotel’s maritime location), which celebrates local fishing and the Mediterranean. The second menu evokes the chef’s culinary history and the land of Provence (with, in particular, a wolf accompanied by peas and green beans as a signature dish, a nod to his grandfather’s vegetable garden).
Taking advantage of the summer to revamp the décor and menu of this gastronomic table, we discover two inspiring menus imagined by José Bailly. A chef from Plougasnou, who first worked with Alain Passard and Arnaud Donckele before taking the helm of this starred restaurant.
“You mustn’t forget where you come from. To serve only fish or vegetables is my choice. I come from Finistère where I also opened my shutters on the sea, I worked, when I was younger, in the fields. There is no need to cook meat in this region, you have to be consistent. Committed and concerned to rehabilitate a seasonal cuisine, which respects the environment, he invites us to review our consumption intelligently. From the appetizers, where the tuna tartar, coiled on spoons, is presented on a bed of mini pebbles, shells and bits of polished glass like those found almost everywhere on the beaches of the coast. “It’s vital to be aware that we can’t go on as before. We have to go back to basics. I cook by instinct, the most important thing is the taste and the product. I use them with simplicity but conviction, like when I combine swordfish with celery or tomatoes in different ways.