Enjoy Saint Tropez in NJ

Head to the Bungalow Hotel and Avenue Le Club in Long Branch to experience a taste of the French Riviera on the Jersey Shore.

On the beach at Long Branch, the beach club at Avenue restaurant.
On the beach at Long Branch, the beach club at Avenue restaurant.

To kiss summer bye-bye in grand style, the Bungalow Hotel in Long Branch’s Pier Village and its beachfront playground, Avenue Le Club, aim to provide the feel of the French Riviera at the Jersey shore.

They call it “Saint Tropez in NJ.”

View from Avenue's veranda.

View from Avenue’s veranda.

Booking one of the Bungalow’s 24 boutique-style rooms, complete with kitchenette and fireplace, gives guests the opportunity enjoy the luxury of the private beach club for $25 per day per person. Cabanas may be reserved for $75 (Monday-Thursday) or $250 (Friday-Sunday).

The perks include access to the palm-tree lined sands, private cabanas, terrycloth-covered beach beds, luxury locker room, plush towels and rooftop pool.

Cabana at Avenue.

Cabana at Avenue.

Avenue's beachfront.

Avenue’s beachfront.

And you can order delicious cocktails and food from the French Brasserie-style Avenue restaurant, which sits on the Boardwalk and overlooks the beach.

Cocktails at the beach bar include frozen wild-berry vodka lemonade and the signature Le Bungalow, a strawberry, basil and citrus mix over ice.

cocktail

Although Avenue’s French cuisine can be delivered to your lounge chair, you may want to enjoy lunch from the restaurant’s spacious second-floor veranda for a bird’s-eye view of the beach.

Open for lunch, brunch and dinner, the 10-year-old restaurant is operated by founding general manager Thierry Carrier, who was born, raised and trained in hospitality and culinary arts in eastern France, almost on the squiggly Swiss border, and indeed just north of Geneva, Switzerland.

Carrier grew up in the hotel, Le Rucher, run by his grandparents, Emile and Clarisse Carrier, in Divonne Les Bains. Carrier’s mother, Marie Claude Carrier, served as innkeeper, and his father, Andrew Carrier, was chef of its Michelin-starred restaurant.

With three decades of hospitality experience on cruise ships, in South Beach, the Hamptons and Manhattan, Carrier has been the keystone of the staff since Avenue opened.

His background has helped him make “the beach club a mix of Miami and the south of France,” he says.

Long-time sous chef and New Jersey native Josh Sauer, who was recently promoted to executive chef, has been bringing his own style to the menu with dishes like a refreshing crab salad with frisée, avocado, red onions and diced peaches; and seared halibut on a bed of chanterelle mushrooms, peas and pickled radishes.

“In the south of France,” says Carrier, whose last name, properly pronounced, rhymes with Tropez and NJ, “you would sit on the beach and enjoy a cold glass of rosé and a tuna nicoise salad. Here in Long Branch you can do the same.”

Labor Day weekend festivities at Avenue include an open-to-the-public beach party on Sunday and pool party on Monday, when the grills will be fired up and so will the DJ spinning French club music.

Day passes to the beach club also can be arranged for those who might be interested in buying a seasonal membership for 2017.

Bungalow Hotel
50 Laird Street
Long Branch
732-229-3700
bungalowhotel.net

 Avenue
23 Ocean Avenue
Long Branch
732-759-2900
leclubavenue.com

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