Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Travels with The Style Saloniste: La Réserve Ramatuelle — The Chicest New South of France Escape

My new travel find — it’s owned/directed by the same Swiss hospitality/wine company as the wonderful Jacques Garcia-designed La Réserve Paris. I wrote about La Réserve Paris earlier this year. 

Six miles from St. Tropez, La Réserve Ramatuelle is nestled within a Mediterranean garden overlooking the Côte D’Azur and feels a world away from the crowded coast.

The 28-suite, 14-villa property is designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, known for his work on the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Floor-to-ceiling windows slide open to bring the outdoors in. The calm and tranquil interiors reflect the relaxed mood of the South of France – neutral tones, soft terracotta tiles, and contemporary furniture upholstered in linen. Each new villa on the property comes with its own wine cellar and services include a butler, chef, private trainer, and grocery deliveries.

Luxurious La Réserve Ramatuelle offers new modern décor, a program of superb spa treatments, and hiking trails in the lavender-scented hills nearby.

Situated on a sheltered promontory overlooking the Mediterranean, the ultra-private and newly renovated La Réserve Ramatuelle Hotel, Spa and Villas is an elegant luxury escape for guests who want to rest and relax in an escapist natural setting.

Pine forests and wild garrigue flourish on the hills surrounding the property, and the brisk scent pine wafts on the breeze as guests arrive at the private entrance.

This luxurious five-star property includes a hotel with nineteen suites and nine rooms, and a spa and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. New villas offer a heightened sense of service and privacy for families and friends.

Recently renovated by French star architect-designer, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the hotel is a celebration of contemporary lines, with floor-to-ceiling windows for all rooms and suites, and private terraces with views of the Mediterranean.

Twelve Provencal-style villas were created by French interior architect, Rémi Tessier. Tessier is known for his award-winning sleek designs for ultra-luxe private yachts, as well as international hotels and residences.

New is a second six-room villa dedicated to families and groups of friends, its spaciousness ensuring privacy. Perched at the top of the private estate, the new villa and private pool has dramatic views of the Mediterranean. 

Décor throughout the hotel is calm and elegant, in palest tones of ivory, chalk white, palest grey and natural off-white.

Hotel interiors include natural pale grey stone or dark wood floors, and furniture designed by leading Italian architect-lead companies, including B&B Italia and Flexform. There’s a hint of Scandinavian influence with classic furniture by Hans Wegner, and re-editions of vintage Danish and Swedish furniture. Some pieces are covered in white leather, others linen.

Carpets are by Paola Lenti and Tai Ping. The spacious and luxurious rooms open onto a sheltered terrace or a garden with a spectacular view of the sea and the magnificent Provencal landscape. 

With exclusive spa treatments and specialized health programs, the spa invites guests to stay for a week and seldom leave the property. They enjoy the hotel/spa setting and views of the Mediterranean.

Some guests venture to the nearby Medieval village of Ramatuelle, and others love hiking through the pine woods. And it’s perfect to simply relax around the pools, read on a private terrace, or take a long, leisurely lunch at the restaurant.

The architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte enhanced the untamed environment with natural materials in suites, including light-as-air linen and cotton curtains by Marc Geisen and Dominique Kieffer. Some suites are a superb orchestration of contemporary furniture by Finn Juhl, Moroso, Poltrona Frau, and Roda.

Designer Rémi Tessier took a similar approach in La Réserve’s private villas. They are, in a sense, private residences—with excellent service and cuisine.

Each individually designed villa is like a private residence, with open terraces, and its own unique atmosphere. 

At the hotel, lunches and dinners are served in the La Voile restaurant, with views of the sea, where the chef Eric Canino interprets Mediterranean flavors through light, finely balanced cuisine. 

The low-key style is set upon arrival. There is no reception desk in the lobby, only a salon where the visitor is welcomed as a friend.

The spa’s ‘Better Aging’ program offers a personalized bootcamp. It begins with a full medical assessment and is complemented by a light culinary program.

The seasonal Provencal spa cuisine of chef Canino is created without the addition of any fat or refined sugar. Many ingredients, including fruit and herbs and vegetables, are grown organically on the property. It’s garden to table, and guests are welcome to accompany the chef into the garden or the orchard to harvest fresh, ripe ingredients.

Trainers conduct classes in yoga, Pilates, and aquabike, a favorite French low-impact water exercise.

The state-of-the-art gym is dramatically cut into the limestone cliff face and overlooks the sea. Also on offer are cardio sessions and the great workout of Nordic hiking along hidden coastal trails, across the early morning local terrain and across along hill tracks that trainers insist the Romans walked across in the region’s fascinating history.

La Réserve is the new and privileged way to enjoy the Mediterranean. And it’s easily the healthiest and most luxurious way to experience your own delicious and glamorous Provencal lifestyle, The hotel closes for the season at the end of November and reopens in March (like most hotels in the region). Oh, and be sure to request Cos D’Estournel wine for a special treat. Michel Reybier, the owner of La 
Réserve Ramatuelle, is also the proprietor of this esteemed and very hard to find Bordeaux winery, which was notably a favorite of Maharajahs in India. That’s why there’s an elephant on the label.


Courtesy La Reserve Ramatuelle

Monday, October 1, 2018

Exclusive Design Report: RH Opens a Dramatic New Design Gallery and Rooftop Restaurant in New York

In the heart of the super-cool Meatpacking District — with architecture by California-based Jim Gillam of the architectural firm Backen, Gillam & Kroeger — RH opens a dynamic new space that includes a dramatic rooftop restaurant and bar, interior design consulting, a new art offering, galleries of chandeliers and lighting, along with spectacular accessories and antiques. You won’t want to leave.

The 90,000-Square-Foot, Six Level Retail Experience Features a Rooftop Restaurant by Brendan Sodikoff and, “New York Night” a Dramatic Art Installation by Alison Berger

In a project that took a decade, and six years of design and planning and permits and complex construction, the gallery is true to the location. It’s a building within a brick wall shell, a dramatic re-invention.

Originally owned by John Jacob Astor in the late 19th century, this historic landmark building has been re-imagined with a modern steel-and-glass structure rising five floors through the meticulously preserved original brick façade, with cast-iron I-beams evoking the neighborhood’s industrial past.

RH New York, The Gallery in the Historic Meatpacking District is located at 9 Ninth Avenue (at corner of Little West 12th St) and can be reached at 212.217.2210.

The Rooftop Restaurant, Wine Vault and Barista Bar were created by celebrated restaurateur and founding president of RH Hospitality, Brendan Sodikoff.

Hours of operation (for both the gallery and Rooftop Restaurant) are Monday through Saturday from 10am to 8pm, and Sunday 11am to 7pm.

The 90,000-square-foot building/ interior integrates all of RH’s businesses with entire floors dedicated to RH Interiors, Modern, Outdoor, Baby & Child, TEEN and Interior Design – and marks the brand’s continued foray into hospitality with a Rooftop Restaurant and Wine Terrace as well as a Barista Bar by celebrated restaurateur and Founding President of RH Hospitality, Brendan Sodikoff.

Design Services
For the first time, RH is imbedding an Interior Design Firm into its retail experience. As you step onto the second floor, you will see RH Interior Design offices, as well as five private client presentation rooms with discreet VIP entrances and state-of-the-art technology.

About RH
RH describes itself as a curator of design, taste and style in the luxury lifestyle market. The company offers a wide range of design at many price points. In particular, in the last five years RH had gathered a world-class coterie of designers and specialists in lighting (Jonathan Browning, for example) and designers for outdoor furniture, rugs, chandeliers, linens, and a broad range of furniture and accessories.

The company offers furniture, art, fabric, rug, accessories, lighting and many other collections through its retail galleries, Source Books, and online at,,,, and

Founded in 1979, RH operates a total of 85 retail Galleries consisting of eighteen Design Galleries, 44 legacy Galleries, two RH Modern Galleries and six RH Baby & Child Galleries throughout the United States and Canada, and fifteen Waterworks showrooms throughout the United States and in the U.K.

Upcoming is a new multi-faceted gallery, restaurant, and collections site in Yountville, which will open in October in the heart of the Napa Valley and a two-minute walk from The French Laundry.

The new Yountville gallery/multi-faceted compound was designed by the great architect, Jim Gilliam, who also designed and imagined RH Meatpacking. It’s discreet and fits perfect into its country town setting, and yet is designed and decorated with daring and bravado.

A year-round, sky-lit garden escape, the Rooftop Restaurant offers Sodikoff’s seasonal menu in a space layered with crystal chandeliers, Asiatic jasmine, and dozens of pleached London plane trees. Seamlessly extending from indoors to out, the restaurant opens onto a beautifully landscaped Park & Wine Terrace, framing iconic views of downtown Manhattan, One World Trade Center and the Hudson River. Influenced by the great classical gardens of Europe yet contemporary in spirit, this one-of-a-kind destination features a series of intimate garden rooms with overhead canopies, sculptural evergreens and the sound of trickling fountains.

To reach the upper levels, visitors can also ascend a grand double staircase illuminated by a spectacular art installation, New York Night, by Alison Berger. Composed of 120 hand-blown crystal teardrop pendants majestically cascading 90 feet through the six-story staircase, the piece evokes a downpour at nightfall, engaging the viewer in an ever-changing pattern of expansion and compression. Set against a backdrop of lavish polished charcoal Venetian plaster, which amplifies the light's amber glow, the composition renders mirrored pools of light and captures the city’s landscape in reflection.

New Art, Bold New Ideas
General Public, a first-of-its-kind art curation and publishing company was founded by award-winning actress and artist, Portia de Rossi.

The company creates exacting 3-D reproductions of original works by a select group of emerging and established artists across the globe.

Gary Friedman, RH Chairman and CEO commented, “We are advocates of Portia’s quest to transform the art world, and proud to partner with her and the General Public team to make great art accessible.”

General Public's SynographTM is a 3-D print that captures texture and brushwork in such detail that it is nearly indistinguishable from the original. Like a photograph, this unique marriage of art and technology enables the artist to create multiple reproductions of an original, thereby making it available to the general public, as opposed to just one collector.

General Public features paintings from artists Koen Lybaert (Antwerp), Kali Sanders (Los Angeles), Seb Sweatman (Johannesburg) and Paul van Rij (Amsterdam).

Prices start at $641.

The collection is prominently featured throughout the Spring 2018 RH Interiors and RH Modern Source Books – including a dedicated insert with artisan profiles – and can also be seen at, and at select RH galleries across the U.S. and Canada. 

RH New York marks Chairman and CEO Gary Friedman’s ongoing collaboration with design architect James Gillam of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger. Over many years, Gillam and his colleagues have been recognized as one of Architectural Digest’s Top 100 architect and design firms in the world


Images courtesy RH.

For more information or to request a catalog: