St. Tropez’s culinary scene: where $5,000 reservations meet 20% mandatory tips. Are superyacht billionaires fueling this extravagance, or is high-end dining in the Riviera simply redefining luxury for all?

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With billionaires flocking to St. Tropez to make the most of their summers on superyachts, the coastal town on the French Riviera is turning into a haven only meant for the ultra-rich. How else does one explain the outright outlandish demands of restaurants for a minimum spend of $5,000 to get inside an eatery? It doesn’t even end there. They will also keep a record of your spending habits and tips. A wealthy Italian was chased down by an enraged French waiter for leaving him with a 500 euro ($550) tip after his meal in Saint Tropez.

Via Unsplash / @vbk_media

Being thankful is out of the question; the waiter instead educated the Italian customer that his tip wasn’t enough. This was followed by an insulting action of taking him back inside to shell out another 500 euros in tips to meet the ‘minimum’ tip amount. A friend of the Italian man said, “He thought he had been generous by leaving 500 euros; instead, he was reprimanded. The waiter told him that it wasn’t enough and that he could still make a small effort to reach 1,000 euros ($ 1,070) because it was more consistent in approaching 20 percent of the total amount of his bill.”

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No matter how incredible the food at the expensive restaurant would’ve been, this behavior certainly left a bad taste in his mouth. It was bitter enough for the customer to claim he never wanted to set foot in Saint Tropez again. An exciting night out at this top-shelf vacation destination seems to be the cup of tea of only A-listers like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Visitors who aren’t part of the crème le da crème complained tables are denied at upscale restaurants because they can’t guarantee a $5,000 minimum spend.

The Michelin star La Terrasse at the Cheval Blanc St Tropez

“When booking, you’re told: ‘We have a table at €5,000 ($5,441), is that okay?'” one would-be diner told the local Var-Matin newspaper. “If it’s not, well, there are no more tables.” Things have got so bad for those with thin wallets or no desire to spend unreasonably that the mayor had to intervene. The mayor of Saint-Tropez identified the issues and stated, “These accusations are extremely shocking to me because they are unfortunately true,” Sylvie Siri told reporters, adding that these “despicable practices” are “ruining the town’s image.”

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The Cheval Blanc St Tropez.Via Facebook / @Cheval Blanc St-Tropez

Siri warned restaurants extorting and stiff-arming patrons into paying high tips or keeping customer databases could bid adieu to their late-night operating licenses. The mayor turned out to be a man of action as more than 1,000 stickers were handed out to tourists to contact the town hall and the consumer fraud service if they feel intimidated or ripped off by a restaurant. It will not be an easy ride, especially as megayachts continue to anchor off the serene Saint-Tropez coast and send their high-profile guests via tender to popular seaside restaurants.

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With over 15 years of experience in luxury journalism, Neha Tandon Sharma is a notable senior writer at Luxurylaunches. Her expertise spans luxury yachts, high-end fashion, and celebrity culture. Beyond writing, her passion for fantasy series is evident. Beginning with articles on women-centric gadgets, she's now a leading voice in luxury, with a fondness for opulent superyachts. To date, her portfolio boasts more than 2 million words, often penned alongside a cappuccino.