Excitedly anticipating our first swim, we had arrived early and checked-in before our room was ready. What to do? Order a cocktail to accompany the hotel's remarkable wrap-around-sea-view. Perfect start. Until we were informed that we weren't allowed to sit down at the bar or seemingly, anywhere else. The only place for us (with most of our luggage, bear in mind) was the beach. The beach crammed to its fullest capacity? There was nowhere for us to go. Very strange. After this perplexing greeting, unusually tense and plainly rude behaviour towards guests (we weren't alone) seemed to sweep amongst staff like a contagious disease. The internet problems I experienced? Our receptionist's repeated response: "Non". Now, I can hold a conversation in French, but perhaps I needed to accept it was a language issue. The smirks and strange looks towards guests of all nationalities (including French guests), made me think otherwise.
Most striking was the distinct lack of energy displayed by nearly every staff member; a colossal contrast with staff later at Hotel Martinez, Cannes (whose pride in their hotel was palpable). It's not that I am painstakingly sensitive to every aspect of a hotel's service nor highly demanding, but to feel like you're not welcome on your own holiday? That's something I've never experienced before. As for the room, it was full of character (we could have been staying on a boat) with an enviable position on the Med. However, neither room nor hotel lived up to the "Small Luxury Hotels of the World" title, of which you would expect something more special. Regardless of the service.
On the positive side, we explored the coastline, enjoyed swimming, ate wonderful seafood in nearby Bormes-les-Mimosas and spied Sarkozy's summer residence, Fort de Brégançon:
I must say, French women are just as fashion-savvy outside of Paris; Seberg would have fit in very stylishly. Yet, despite devouring French Grazia, I found no explanation for the sudden Riviera outbreak of not-very-macho, extremely gaudy swimming trunks adorning nearly every sunbathing male, with designs resembling psychedelia or Vegas fruit machines! A trend I'm not aware of? A curious place, Le Lavandou. You have been warned.
Images: all my own.