A perfect blend of French savoir-vivre and Caribbean charm, St Barths offers endless white-sand beaches, sophisticated restaurants, enticing shops and a number of seriously good hotels. Mary Lussiana introduces you to four of the best.
The Best Hotels in Blissful St Barths
1. Eden Rock
The red roofs at Eden Rock, so beautifully set off by the surrounding deep blue waters of St Jean Bay, are the first thing visitors to the island see as they sweep in low over the resort in small, sleek jets. It’s love-at-first-sight, which only blossoms on closer inspection of the hotel; the tagline ‘Life is Eden’ strikes an entirely possible note. Just 37 rooms cluster around the rock, all different, all colourful havens of sybaritic pleasure, from the six-bedroomed Villa Rockstar with its private pool to the cosy Rock Rooms that jut out over the sea. Amenities include Diptyque ‘ylang’ room spray, the hotel’s signature Red Rock nail varnish and Dr Barbara Sturm lip balm. Head to the new spa to iron out any worry lines that might remain – perhaps from the difficulty of choosing between Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s signature truffle and fontina cheese pizza and his crispy salmon sushi. But everything is delicious at Sand Bar, where the waves are your soundtrack. Just don’t miss a visit to the Rémy Bar for a ginger margarita first.
BOOK IT: Rooms from €900 B&B plus taxes. oetkercollection.com
2. Le Sereno
A lesson in stylish simplicity, the clean-lined, contemporary Le Sereno sits on the edge of crystal clear waters in the beautiful Grand Cul de Sac bay. White clapboard exteriors open to breezy, white-on-white interiors where ceiling fans whir above four-poster beds and vast bathrooms, with handsome tubs set on wooden floors. The 39 newly renovated rooms spill out onto terraces with sea views, a spa offers body and facial treatments with Valmont products and there is a 24-hour gym. The restaurant, Al Mare, offers al-fresco dining and the best of the Italian kitchen courtesy of chef Raffaele Lenzi. Weaving fresh local ingredients into traditional favourites, dishes to pick include lobster spaghetti and risotto with lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange, topped with caviar. Swim it all off in the Instagrammable pool that runs down towards the sea, framed by soaring palm trees.
BOOK IT: Suites from €850. serenohotels.com
3. Villa Marie
Exuding Caribbean charm, tropical chic Villa Marie is a colourful gem hidden away in the lush green interior on the west of the island. The 18 rooms and three villas come in turquoise, bougainvillea pink, canary yellow and sky blue with bespoke furniture crafted with mother of pearl and shells. The bedrooms, many with four-poster beds, spill out onto wooden terraces with sweeping views of the sea and a swinging wicker chair to enjoy it from. Dip into the spa for a locally inspired hot shell massage and take time to laze by the pool, where breakfast is served in the morning. The François Plantation restaurant blends French and Caribbean influences and ingredients; try the scallops with sea urchin butter and Colombo spice blend or black cod cooked in bamboo leaves with coconut milk. A recent addition is the buzzy Gyp Sea beach club where you can enjoy a tartare of local wahoo fish with your feet in the warm sand.
BOOK IT: Doubles from £400. en.saint-barth.villamarie.fr
4. Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle-de-France
One of the largest hotels on St Barths, this outpost from the expanding Cheval Blanc group seriously impresses from its in-room amenities (think ‘ocean extract’ bespoke bath bombs in Tropical Chic scent from perfumer Guerlain) and impeccable housekeeping to its enticing cuisine and Guerlain Spa. There are shops for diehard fashionistas and luxury brand pop-ups. Situated on Flamands, what is considered by many to be the best beach on the island, luxurious rooms and suites with interiors by Jacques Grange overlook the sea or are dotted around the garden. The group’s trademark ‘alchemists’ design experiences and activities to dust your days with magic, but really what could be better than early morning walks on the empty beach, lazing by the pool, lunches of mahi-mahi hot dogs, afternoons of rejuvenating facial sculpture in the spa and dinners of yellow-fin tuna with a glass of perfectly chilled Chablis?
BOOK IT: Doubles from £625. chevalblanc.com