At a Glance
A modern art-and-design wonderland within a biodynamic wine estate in a corner of Provence, Villa La Coste is an extraordinary retreat and open-air museum. The property offers 28 sophisticated rooms emphasizing natural light—while the hundreds of acres that surround them are studded with works by the likes of Richard Serra, Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando and Renzo Piano, which can be viewed from winding forest trails. Pieces from the owner’s collection—including a unique Charlotte Perriand bookcase—are also on display throughout the main building. In addition to taking in these treasures (and eating well all day long), guests come to Villa La Coste to lounge by the cypress-encircled pool, re-energize at the spa, and sample the terroir at Château La Coste. Not to be outdone on the art front, the Château also features a Tadao Ando–designed cultural center and gardens by Louis Benech. Santé!
The Standout: Tasting and touring at Château La Coste, the 600-acre biodynamic wine estate containing the hotel, and the adjacent organic farm producing olive oil, honey and lavender
Don’t Miss: Visits to Les Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux-de-Provence and the LUMA Arles foundation
- The ever-expanding art collection (so travelers can return and experience the property anew)
- The luminous, minimalist suites, the finest of which have plunge pools
- Restaurants, including the one-Michelin-star Hélène Darroze
Le Puy Sainte-Réparade—a sleepy village less than 10 miles from Aix-en-Provence—suddenly found itself on the map in 2011 with the opening of Château La Coste, a 600-acre wine estate whose hillsides hold not only vineyards but also a collection of stunning artworks. Five years later, the eagerly awaited Villa La Coste debuted, a strikingly contemporary 28-room hotel that is as much a work of art as the pieces that are scattered around the surrounding landscape.
Owned by real estate magnate and champion of the arts Patrick McKillen, Château La Coste is a cultural project focused on cultivating the terroir in every way possible. Its ever-expanding offerings include biodynamic vineyards; three restaurants, one housed in the Tadao Ando–designed visitor center and another helmed by lauded Argentinian chef Francis Mallman (his first eatery in Europe); a wine-tasting café; and gardens masterminded by Louis Benech. But the biggest draw are the trails that wend through the property’s contemporary art–infused forest, passing by sculptures and pavilions created by such artists as Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Serra and architects including Frank Gehry and Renzo Piano.
From afar, the estate’s hotel—a low-slung assemblage of rectangles in beige stone—blends into its surroundings. This is no coincidence. McKillen and his team have been planning every detail since he acquired the vineyard in 2003. From the moment you arrive, you are struck by the villa’s distinctive touches, like the old-fashioned wagons made of braided branches on which the staff members load your bags.
The wow factor kicks in in the villa’s suites. Luminous and airy, they each feature a minimalist living space, but perhaps the most striking feature is the mix of Asian influences, evident in the marble tubs from Vietnam; modern design, in such touches as the Jean Prouvé desk lamps and white four-poster beds. The floor-to-ceiling windows open to a dining terrace, some of which have plunge pools for guests who wish to enjoy the sun from the privacy of their room. Pieces from McKillen’s collection of museum-quality art—a Charlotte Perriand bookcase, a Damien Hirst painting, a Pablo Picasso mosaic, to name a few—appear throughout the main building.
The hotel’s impressive culinary choices include restaurants helmed by three-Michelin-star chef Gérald Passadat and Argentine celebrity chef Francis Mallmann, as well as a bistro, where one can enjoy paella and roasted chicken. The property also offers an abundance of art-de-vivre options, including a cypress-lined pool, a wine-tasting room, a pampering spa and a fitness center.
Paul Cézanne said, “Art is a harmony that runs parallel to nature.” Like the artworks that surround it, Villa La Coste appears to have sprung out of the earth and provides a unique perspective on the nature of luxury.
Who Should Stay
Contemporary art and design lovers will be impressed with the well-styled property and art collection. Both couples and families with older children will appreciate the sophisticated yet unfussy atmosphere, and the staff, which is accommodating and friendly.
— Lanie Goodman
Written by Indagare