A mountain escape for wine-lovers, Ultimate Provence is an unexpectedly cosmopolitan take on the French rural hotel, thanks to its refined design by Monaco-based Humbert & Poyet
With its inviting pink glow and eminent drinkability on a scorching summer’s day, Côtes de Provence rosé is one of the South of France’s best-known exports. And the terroir is just as much of a draw as the wine itself, something that local winery Ultimate Provence knows only too well: its 46-hectare estate includes a 34-room hotel designed by Monaco-based Humbert & Poyet where guests can enjoy overnight hospitality as well as a drink.
Steering clear of the usual signs that you’re in a Provençal hotel – whitewashed furniture and wall-to-wall toile – the practice has created a much slicker proposition. Ultimate Provence “approached us with a vision of creating a unique place, translating the classic codes of a vineyard into a modern and urban space. We were attracted by the opportunity to tell a new story and create a new experience in Provence,” says Emil Humbert.
In a way it makes sense to amp up the industrial feel – a winery is, after all, an industrial facility – and the choice of materials reflects that, with concrete floors, metal pendants and bare bulbs a-plenty. “We combined raw and contemporary elements such as concrete with more noble materials like aged oak, marble, brass and leather. This combination reflects the connection between the urban environment and the traditional craft of winemaking,” says Christophe Poyet.
The colour palette, meanwhile, was inspired by the verdant surroundings – “notes of sage and sepia, reminiscent of the colours of the landscape, its soil and green vineyards,” as Poyet puts it. Aegean-blue walls unite the public spaces such as the lobby and restaurant; in the tasting room, painted the same colour, a brass light fitting snakes about the ceiling, with the entire wall behind the bar given over to neat shelves of wine bottles.
Ultimate Provence approached us with a vision of creating a unique place, translating the classic codes of a vineyard into a modern and urban space
Large steel-framed glazed doors offer inviting views out to the estate beyond; at the entrance, barrels have been hung floor to ceiling on the wall, a configuration that’s echoed with a wall studded with circular brass lighting in the library.
The bedrooms have a softer touch, with wide, fluted upholstered headboards that wrap around the bedside tables, softly draping curtains and rattan-fronted wardrobes. Rebonds, a bold looping fabric that Humbert & Poyet designed for Pierre Frey’s Le Manach line, upholsters a classic Cassina Lady chair.
Outside, sheltered seating areas give out to the pool area, clad in monolithic black stone that contrasts sharply with the rising hillsides behind it.
Humbert & Poyet may be better-known for its work in urban environments – from The Hoxton’s Paris outpost to the glitzy Beefbar international restaurant chain – but Ultimate Provence may well tempt the same city-lovers that frequent its other venues into the countryside for a glass or two.