Lucie Weill, Founder of Lily of the Valley, is Bringing Joy to Wellness

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The Modern Travel Agency


    a woman in a red sweater rights in a green notebook

    Images courtesy of Lucie Weill and Lily of the Valley

    At Lily of the Valley, a luxe wellness retreat in St. Tropez, everything centers on pleasure. You may be there to lose weight, age well, increase athletic performance or detox... But regardless of your goal, the experience will be pleasurable. This was paramount to Lucie Weill, Lily of the Valley’s radiant founder and owner.

    “You feel like you are at home,” Lucie said recently. “And it was really important to us that you feel at ease at the hotel. You don't feel like you are in a clinic and like you are sick.”

    There are no doctors at Lily of the Valley (although they consult top doctors when designing their programming). The aesthetic, courtesy of renowned French designer and architect Philippe Starck, is warm, inviting and exceptionally chic, rather than cold and clinical. 

    Lucie wanted to create a space in which people could look after their health without feeling deprived, punished, sick, broken. She sought to offer an alternative, uplifting definition of wellness.

    “Your health is a gem,” she said, “and you have to take care of it.” But taking care of it need not be overly complicated or painful for guests — or anyone, for that matter. “We want their experience around wellness to be associated with pleasure,” she added.

    Building the dream

    a bedroom terrace with chic wooden furniture overlooking the sea

    Image courtesy of Lily of the Valley

    Lucie was always attracted to a career in luxury. She loved celebrating excellent craftsmanship, and helping others do the same.

    “What I love in luxury is building the dream,” she said. “There is a special feeling when you buy something that is valuable.”

    She worked in marketing at both Bell & Ross, the luxury watch brand, and Givenchy. But she started to feel disconnected from what originally drove her to the industry.

    “When you work in Paris in an office for luxury brands, sometimes you can feel like you're a little bit far from the dream you are actually building,” she said.

    She was ready for a change, and even considered transitioning to retail, where she could physically be with the customer. But hospitality was calling her name; it was a natural fit. 

    “Hospitality is very concrete,” she said. “The decision you make immediately produces results for your guests. You make them happy. You offer them memories, experiences.”

    It was this desire to craft memorable experiences that eventually led Lucie to open Lily of the Valley.

    Truffles and caviar and lobsters

    an outdoor eating area overlooking the sea

    Images courtesy of Lily of the Valley

    St. Tropez was the obvious choice. Her father, now in his 60s, had been going there with his family since he was three, escaping the rainy weather of Brittany, on France’s northwestern coast. When Lucie and her siblings were born, the family kept visiting each year.

    “It's a place that we love, that we know, that we cherish,” she said. “It's a magical place.” 

    Lucie wanted to create a place where guests could take care of themselves, achieve their goals and nurture their health without feeling the sense of deprivation and brokenness that often accompanies wellness-oriented getaways. It’s all about anticipation, Lucie said, and being “dans le préventif et pas dans le curatif.” In other words, Lily of the Valley is about prevention rather than treatment, which reflects Lucie’s personal approach to wellness. 

    When she was eight, Lucie learned she was lactose intolerant; from an early age, she had to be scrupulous about what she chose to eat. France at the time was not the most accommodating place for someone with a dairy allergy, and there was very little information available. Lucie became intuitive by necessity.

    “I just try to feel connected with my feelings and with what I need, what I want,” she said. “I don't want to create frustration.”

    Over the years, Lucie learned what her body could and could not handle. (Butter, to her delight, is low in lactose, and blissfully tolerated.) She stays active and eats lots of vegetables (broccoli has been quite popular lately, as she and her husband make all the food for their baby, and they have another one on the way). But she also loves the occasional hamburger. 

    This freedom is integrated into Lily of the Valley. Again, here is not a place someone comes to feel restricted and punished. It’s not about yo-yo dieting, boomerang effects and quick fixes. Instead, the mindset is one of abundance and sustainability. 

    “At Lily of the Valley, you lose weight eating truffles and caviar and lobsters,” Lucie said. “People don't really realize that they can actually lose weight the French way of losing weight, meaning eating absolutely incredible food and even having a glass of champagne or wine every day.”

    That is, if losing weight is your goal. Everything at Lily of the Valley is personalized, and meal components and portions are titrated up or down according to what you’re after. (If you’re on the athletic performance program, for instance, you’ll be eating a lot more protein and carbohydrates.) Wellness advisors — “guest nannies,” Lucie said — stay in touch with guests throughout the day, and check in on them during meal time to make sure they're not eating too much or too little.

    The food is utterly delicious and nourishing. A quinoa salad studded with seasonal vegetables, slow-cooked sea bass with purple artichokes, grilled beef ribs with Provençal stew and black-truffle potato gnocchi showered with Parmesan are but some of the available dishes. Dessert is a must, too. Lucie recommends the vegan chocolate mousse, made with creamy avocado. Nothing is off limits.

    “If you ask for French fries, we will do them,” she said.

    Beyond the trend

    white lounge chairs under umbrellas surround a luxe pool

    Image courtesy of Lily of the Valley

    The wellness world is awash with trends. Lily of the Valley is not concerned with the fad du jour, however. The hotel regularly consults Dr. Jacques Fricker, a nutritionist focused on sustainable, holistically beneficial habits, and who has a decade’s worth of experience at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) under his belt.

    “He doesn't write a book about gluten and then fasting and then, I don't know, sugar,” Lucie said, adding how he remains consistent in his method, not bending to the whims of the wellness world. “Every time we have a question, we call him to make sure that we are solid in the whole interpretation of the trend.”

    At Lily of the Valley, guests spend much of their time outdoors: kayaking, biking, hiking, lounging by the beach or pool — all preventative treatments for aging well, we might add. Another must-do treatment, Lucie says, is a facial, which is easily overlooked. The hotel has partnered with the clean French beauty company Biologique Recherche, which Lucie loves and uses herself. (If you need further convincing, her glowing skin should do the trick.) 

    The spa is also equipped with a cryotherapy chamber, a hammam, a hair salon and soothing treatment rooms where guests can surrender to the hands of expert massage therapists. Additionally, the staff are exceptionally friendly, generous people dedicated to making guests happy.

    “We want people who are staffed to take pleasure making pleasure,” Lucie said.

    In 2026, Lily of the Valley will open an alpine sister property, also open year round, in Courchevel. Now the French Alps will benefit from the Lily of the Valley lifestyle: full, beautiful, nourishing, long-lasting. 

    Lucie has discovered what works, and eagerly shares that knowledge and joy with others. Because we could all be a little bit more in tune with our bodies, untethered to societal pressures and expectations. Lily of the Valley is about tuning in. There’s nothing to fix.

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