Villa Romana, France

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My venture into celebrity-studded nightlife began with a naviette (luxury van) sliding in like clockwork to pick me up at a preset time and place in the port of St. Tropez.

The van was thoroughly discrete … Save for the la Romana emblem adorning its hood and side doors. When I entered the vehicle, the soundtrack playing was eclectic and original-an indication of the scene that lay ahead of me at the restaurant.

We drove off into the lush countryside, where the villa is situated. As we approached the entrance, I was looked up and down by a friendly but firm bouncer. This guy is the real thing, I thought. I also had to give my name to the outdoor maitre d’, who then confirmed my reservation.

The outdoor guard, via his slick radio phone ear piece, then announced me to yet another gatekeeper indoors. After a tense moment of silence, I was given the ok signal for entry.

Upon passing through the heavy ornate front passage, I found myself again in a beautifully landscaped outdoor setting.

At the end of a palm-studded manicured garden was Jean Luc, the club’s owner, with a warm greeting and big smile, (FYI, he only speaks French).

I was thinking that it might have been easier to get into Fort Knox…

Of course, it will become evident seconds after you enter Villa Romana why they have all the controls at the entrance-

The place is backed with celebrities and corporate heads …

Who let loose and dance on tables while ordering magnums of Dom and Cristal champagne, brought to the table with “star wars” theme music blasting in the background.

The boutique models are gorgeous, and just add to the already wild experience as they are more in a state of undress then dress, when they do their nightly lingerie show.

Meanwhile, the staff is a combination of the best of the St. Tropez “originals.”

My favorite is Luigi, who was the original bartender and DJ at the Famous Voile Rouge beach club. He, along with bartenders Massimo and Stephan, make and serve exotic cocktails, in a manner that would astonish anyone. Each time that I have seen these masterpiece drinks brought to the table, the presentation has been unique.

My favorite was a cocktail serving eight people. Set in a bowl, that was nested inside another bowl, with water and three live goldfish swimming around. Eight 3-foot straws protruding from it, all presented by a snappy barman, who was dressed in authentic Louis XVI regalia, chapeau included.

Needless to say, with this type of felliniesque atmosphere, the celebrity clients also become spectators.

As with most celeb-favored nightspots, this experience is not cheap and it is difficult to get a reservation in high season. But it’s a must-do.

La Villa Romana
Chemin des Coquettes
83990 St.-Tropez
France
(33) 4 9497 1550

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