The Hotel Kube is a temple to modernism and youth, located on the main road into St Tropez. As I am neither a modernist nor in the first flush of youth, it took me a while to accustom myself to its particular charms. But, upon arriving in my hired motor car, even I could appreciate that, from its elevated site, it enjoys splendid views across the Bay of St Tropez. A walk through the manicured lawns brought me to my apartment in one of the five, two-storied, cube-shaped villas which, together with the taller and larger original block, comprise the hotel complex. If you think of the campus of a new university, you will have a sense of the architecture.
My billet – designated a ‘Klub Room’ and therefore 400€-930€ a night, according to season – was on the ground floor. (The rooms are in two styles, Kool and Klub, with the former being the more sharply modernist.) It had a pleasant outlook, through its sliding glass doors, onto my own little outside decked area and onto one of the hotel’s three swimming pools. (Some of the rooms on the first floors of these villas have sea views.) Its modernity confused me easily. I pondered long and hard about which of the signs provided to hang outside my door – the “In” or the “Out” – was meant to convey a desire not to be disturbed. Did the “In” mean I was in my room and ready to receive visitors, as it did for my set of rooms at Cambridge? A call to the Reception desk, and I was told it did not. And then the light in the separate loo came on automatically, which was good, but also went off automatically, which was not good at all. If no movement was detected within, an entirely inconvenient darkness descended.
Still, I liked the generous space, the use of natural wood, the effective air conditioning, the tiled floor and the well-placed dressing mirror. But if, like me, you cannot sleep under a duvet, you should be aware that the hotel possesses no blankets. The duvets, however, were useful for softening the bed for my ailing back.
A sliding door gave access to the bathroom, wherein I found toiletries by Carita, a good bath tub (with a shower over) and one of those wash basins – much liked by designers nowadays – with a ‘plug’ which does not stop the running away of water. (I am used to these now, and know that hot water – for shaving etc. – can be retained by unscrewing the cover and stuffing a face flannel into the plug hole.)
The hotel has two restaurants. The smaller, by the Reception villa, offers the cuisine of Peru. I confined my attentions to the larger, La Table du Kube. Here Chef Julien Burbaud offers straightforward French cooking, based on good ingredients and traditional recipes. I found it to my taste to sit in one of the modern chairs on the extensive terrace, because the view out across the bay was so captivating – particularly when the sun sank and the lights of Ste Maxime on the opposite shore began to twinkle.
Of the dishes I ate, I enjoyed the terrine of duck foie gras with beetroot chutney, pan-fried scallops with orange sauce, a healthy portion of beef fillet, a large lamb chop and the milk rice pudding. The last was improved enormously when I had it warmed up. It was then really delicious. (Allow around 80€ for three courses at dinner.)
The wine list has 60 offerings. All but four are French. Prices run from 26€ for a Provençal rosé to 600€ for a magnum of Cristal champagne. 8 wines are offered by the glass. Two bottles caught my eye: 2001 Hermitage, La Petite Chapelle, Paul Jaboulet (220€) and 2013 Elephant Hill merlot/malbec, Hawkes Bay (65€).
I returned to the same table each morning for breakfast, and marvelled each time at the lovely panorama. Once the canned music had been extinguished for me, these breakfasts were civilised occasions – much helped by the solicitous service of the keen young waiter, Hippolyte. All the comestibles I obtained from the buffet were of high quality, but I was particularly impressed by the tarts – of fig and of apple. But nearly as good were the boiled eggs (brought to me, with toast ‘soldiers’), the bacon, the scrambled eggs, the cheeses, the raspberries, the pineapple, the croissants and the marmalade (from Wilkin & Son of Tiptree, of course). I do not rush breakfast, and these breakfasts deserved the time I gave to them.
The five-star Hotel Kube has 68 rooms and a swish new spa (pictured).
13 chemin du royon de la Valette, Route de Saint-Tropez, 83580 Gassin, France.
Telephone +33 (0)4 94 97 20 00
Fax +33 (0)4 94 97 34 39
Double rooms from 265€-590€ according to season