Like a fine wine that just keeps getting better (of course, it's French) Hotel Byblos in St. Tropez is the kind of place you will return to again and again.
Like the perfect set of wheels in fact, and what could go better with the South of France than the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Indeed, it will turn heads and in St. Tropez that is exactly what you want.
Even if it is one of the sexiest cars around, it also drives as good as it looks too. Take note, while most folks only look at the exterior of the Corvette, the suits over in Corvette world decided a full redesign might get folks talking about all things Corvette again and so it did.
The result is not only the powerful V8 engine that Corvette fans have come to expect, but an upgraded interior and more room in the cargo area.
You can choose the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray in either the coupe or convertible option.
From there you get two trims either the base or the Z51.
Under the hood is where the 2014 Corvette shines with a 6.2-liter V8 engine in rear-wheel with a whopping 455 horsepower and 460 pound feet of torque, that is an increase from years past and that includes more pound feet of torque too.
The transmission is a seven-speed manual with a six-speed automatic option as well. Another thing to take note in regard to the engine is the fuel injection, variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation.
Worth a mention, the seventh gear takes on the job of improving fuel economy since it acts as a cruising gear. Beyond that, the manual option shines with automatic rev-matching for up shifts and downshifts, ala, easier to take the road with confidence.
The estimated fuel economy on the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a combined 21 miles per gallon with 17 in the city and 29 on the highway or with the automatic transmission 16 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway.
The quality of the material inside this year's version of the Corvette is softer with the leather taking center stage and therefore upgrading the look and feel all over.
It's also worth mentioning the seats that offer more support and feel more like a sports car should, but the 15-feet of cargo space offers a standout upgrade from in years past so it's a sports car with a twist for traveling.
For the convertible option the top is not only power-operated, but it's up and down in a mere 20 seconds and even then the trunk still offers 10 cubic-feet with the top down.
Now for driving the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, you won't be disappointed since hit the gas pedal and you'll be off like a rocket. It sounds like a rocket too so people not only see you coming, but they also hear you. Refined for 2014 and still a touring car since there is room enough for luggage, the seats are comfortable and the feeling on the open road can only make you feel like you not only own the road, but the entire world and really, who can argue with that at $73,525.
Part of the allure of Byblos is that it has been around for so long, since 1967, in fact. And, as if more allure were needed the place is always packed with high-profile celebs. Even so, the real draw is the attention to detail and the wonderful General Manager who has been there awhile (as in, why would he ever want to leave). GM Christophe Chauvin makes sure guests feel welcome and at home and that keeps folks coming back year after year.
After all, Saint-Tropez, France is where folks on holiday can hobnob with many of the world-famous jet-setters, celebrities and artists and Byblos is the definitively "most" exclusive address and destination in this small seaside town.
As for the look of the place, it's low-key and classy. Picture a grouped together look of houses in terra cotta on the hillside of this charming seaside village in Provence's southern France, but at night, this little jewel of a place comes alive no other seaside town in the Cote d' Azur. The why is the famous Les Caves du Roy located right onsite with lines snaking up the stairs to the entrance and even around the corner on most nights in season too.
There is also a well-known multi-Michelin star chef Alain Ducasse concept restaurant on site, Rivea and since the last time I was there the Byblos folks have redesigned the area where the restaurant is located. Architects for the new concept were Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel and even before entering for your remarkable meal there are large glass windows set to beckon you inside. At once you will notice the excellent kitchen décor where you can view the food preparation, ala the flavors of the Mediterranean done simple and unadorned.
Alas, even if you don't keep up with the pages of Vogue, you're still welcome in this little seaside town's primo address on the French Riviera for food, drink and once you get inside the building you will definitely feel right at home. The common area and reception space is well-appointed with a variety of old Persian rugs, mother-of-pearl-encrusted Moroccan furnishings and Iranian mosaics, in fact, it could be likened perhaps to the "The Arabian Nights," but only in looks. As the season gets going this place is flanked with the best of the best in town. At night too, the poolside area bar features the crème de la crème live entertainment in the midst of expensive cigars, hookahs and a variety of martinis in hand.
Byblos, since 1967, is all about what folks dream St. Tropez should be, so come summertime plan a visit, but book well in advance because this little "best kept secret" is hard to keep secret since jetsetters just can't seem to get enough and neither will you once you experience the place just once.
On ne vit qu'une fois!
Photos by Russell Dandridge and Gold Cook