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My Style Atlas: An Expert's Guide To Travelling In Style

My Style Atlas: An Expert's Guide To Travelling In Style

From the old-world glamour of St Tropez, to the Caribbean paradise of Saint Barth, luxury hotelier Jocelyne Sibuet has built an empire of discreet, boutique hotels in exclusive destinations around the world. The jet-set flock to her establishments for understated but luxurious holidays in the sun and snow, from the peaks of Val Thorens to the vineywards of Bastide de Marie. By seeking out the distinct flavour and style of each location and beautifully restoring and finishing every residence with hand-picked antiques and artisanal pieces, her spaces feel more like family homes than hotels. They are enchanting and elegant, much like the woman herself. Well-travelled and with a passion for hospitality and culture, she is an authority on travelling in style. We spoke to Sibuet to find out more about what makes the perfect trip. Bon voyage.

The tiered pool at hotel Bastide de Marie surrounded by stonework, lush green trees, tall cypresses and potted plants with green hills in the distance
The tiered pool at hotel Bastide de Marie surrounded by stonework, lush green trees, tall cypresses and potted plants with green hills in the distance


What does your perfect holiday look like?

It usually involves taking the time to discover the country, the local style, meeting new people and also taking time for myself and my well-being.

What is the best meal you’ve ever had whilst on holiday?

A dinner at Bastide de Marie, our hotel in Provence, where the evening was lit up by lanterns, in the shelter of an arbour made by a local wrought iron craftsman. Ah, those little pleasures in life! In the hotel’s village of Ménerbes you can find a multitude of exceptional local products and small producers: market gardeners, cheese makers, breeders that all work in sustainable agriculture and organic farming. Our chef François Martin cooks fresh, seasonal food every day, picked in the morning, mostly in the surrounding fields and orchards.

Where do you find inspiration for your incredibly chic hotel interiors?

My design style changes according to the original spirit of the project. If the hotel is in Provence, I’ll compliment the local style based on the Provençal culture and artisanal crafts. I really want to keep the authenticity and the origins. Like our own houses, we renovate our establishments with this philosophy, using the energy and the ambiance of the place.

Every hotel has a specific style. When we went to Val Thorens, where we launched Altapura, we had a new vision with a touch of Nordic inspiration. For the Hotel des Dromonts in Avoriaz, we had a particular signature thanks to the special architecture in the resort: it’s inspired by the ‘60s spirit with lots of shapes and colors. The concept for Terminal Neige Totem in Flaine was modeled on the Bauhaus style – the source of this project was the architect Marcel Breuer who designed the building in around 1960. We renovated a 19th century building to house Terminal Neige Refuge in Chamonix, and wanted to keep the spirit of the refuge with rustic materials, sobriety and simplicity.

The rustic stone hotel Terminal Neige Refuge in the mountains of chamonix, surrounded by terraces with red deck chairs and umbrellas and the dramatic sheer face on the mountain in the background
The rustic stone hotel Terminal Neige Refuge in the mountains of chamonix, surrounded by terraces with red deck chairs and umbrellas and the dramatic sheer face on the mountain in the background


What is your advice for making the most of a weekend in Paris?

You have to divide your time between exploring the streets on foot, discovering museums and visiting exhibitions. To make the most of the evening, I would recommend a theatre performance and then afterwards, dinner in a little French restaurant. Let yourself be carried away by the magic of Paris.

Where is the most romantic place you have ever been?

Villa Marie Saint Barth, as the view of the sunset from the hotel across the lagoon and the stunning Flamands bay with the surrounding islands is beautiful.

What is your advice for travelling in style?

My key pieces for travelling in style are a Dolce & Gabbana Parrot bag, Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones and A Rosalpina youth mask by Pure Altitude for travelling. What would you recommend people pack when staying at your hotels in St Tropez and St Barths?

Dresses from Lolita Jaca Saint Barth and Zimmermann, shoes by K Jacques, a sun hat, a pearl necklace by Les Bijoux de la Mer St Barth and ‘L’eau d’Herbes à la Mélisse & à la menthe’ facial toner.

Check in to some of Sibuet's favourite travel destinations with his top five below.

Tiered rice paddy fields with jungle at sunset and a view of a blue sea cove on the island of Bali in Indonesia
Tiered rice paddy fields with jungle at sunset and a view of a blue sea cove on the island of Bali in Indonesia


INDONESIA

Indonesia offers so many amazing experiences and landscapes. I fell in love with the town of Ubud on the island of Bali which is known for its crafts. I spent days visiting boutiques and workshops, where I found local antiques and beautiful artisanal pieces to take back to use in my hotels. I’d recommend guests spend a few days here away from the crowded coastline to hike through the rice fields and visit the local villages.

A long sand beach in Thailand with small huts amongst trees on the edge of the sand and traditional Thai longboats moored on bouys at the tideline


THAILAND

Thailand is one of the most exotic and beautiful places I’ve ever visited. I fell in love with the friendly people, the temples and incredible beaches and islands. Bangkok is a truly underrated city with a vibrant food scene. We loved the markets and cooking classes where you can learn all about the fundamental flavours of the region: spicy, sweet, salty and sour. Chiang Mai is also an incredibly spiritual place. I’d recommend taking some time to visit the local tribes and fascinating culture found in Thailand’s Golden Triangle.

A view along a railway track to the vast ssprawling city of Penang with the sea beyond
A view along a railway track to the vast ssprawling city of Penang with the sea beyond


MALAYSIA

Malaysia is another favourite destination of mine. I loved the mix of cultural influences found here that make the country so unique; from Malay, Chinese, Indian and European. The city of Penang is a fascinating mix of influences and here guests can explore the boutiques and home-stores as well as the incredible street food markets.

hot air balloons floating in the sky above the ancient temple complex of Bagan, a landscape of green vegetation and intricate temples and pagodas
hot air balloons floating in the sky above the ancient temple complex of Bagan, a landscape of green vegetation and intricate temples and pagodas


MYANMAR

Visiting Myanmar is like stepping back in time. Its gentle pace of life and traditional values remain unchanged over the centuries. Myanmar is a country of simple pleasures. We spent our days floating down the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River in an old steamer or luxury cruiser and exploring the temples and pagodas of Bagan.

The blue, palm-lined  pool at Villa Marie Saint Barth, surrouded by decking and deck chairs covered in yellow towels with yellow parasols and a blue sky above
The blue, palm-lined  pool at Villa Marie Saint Barth, surrouded by decking and deck chairs covered in yellow towels with yellow parasols and a blue sky above


SAINT BARTH

I continue to discover new destinations, but Saint Barth remains in my heart the perfect stop for an exotic and warm break, a mix between wild beaches and true luxury. My favourite holiday memory is swimming at sunrise on the wild beach of Colombier (it’s only accessible by foot or boat so it’s normally very quiet) and a short hike to swim in the natural pools at Petit Cul de Sac beach - it's a secret address that we only tell a few!

Images: Courtesy of Jocelyne Sibuet / Unsplash