St. Barths Hotels
Tel: 877 563 7105 (toll free)
Tel: 590 590 29 79 99
If you want to feel like you're rolling into the hottest spot on St. Barths, look no further. From humble beginnings as a small bar atop a rocky outcropping, Eden Rock has been transformed into an absolutely fabulous resort (literally, there are Patsy and Edina look-alikes everywhere). The main building and its two restaurants are located on the namesake hill in the center of the island's prettiest beach, and the accommodations are a collection of suites, houses, and villas. Some face the sea, others are set back in the gardens, and no two are alike. Longtime guests may complain that Eden Rock keeps expanding: 15 cottages, coined the Heavenly Beach Houses, opened in 2005, and in 2009, the hotel added two estates: Villa Nina (with an in-house art gallery) and Villa Rockstar (with a recording studio that includes the console John Lennon used to record "Imagine"). The newer rooms have more contemporary decor than the Hollywood Regency–era accommodations in the original house on "the Rock" (such as the Greta Garbo or Howard Hughes suites, where both icons once stayed). Privacy levels vary wildly, but honestly, Eden Rock is where you stay when you want to see and be seen on St. Barths. A short walk down the sand will bring you to island nightspots such as Nikki Beach and La Plage, but Eden Rock's own informal Sand Bar and dinner-only On the Rocks restaurant, which serve haute California-meets-Paris beach cuisine, bring the scene to you.Updated by Cathay Che
Closed September through mid-October.
Tel: 590 590 27 64 78
A great option for those after location, location, location on the stunning Baie de St. Jean, a stone's throw from the Eden Rock. And it won't blast an enormous hole in your bank account. The Emeraude Plage is a modest complex of bungalows located around the beach and a rough-hewn garden—all within jumping distance of the coveted turquoise waters of the bay. Expect few frills: The rooms are clean and minimally furnished, and there is little in the way of toiletries. Each room has a terrace, though, and a continental breakfast is served daily on the deck by the water. Bungalows D15 and D16 are good picks as they're the closest to the sea, as is the Villa Emeraude, one of the hotel's five two-bedroom suites.
Closed September and October.
Anse des Flamands
Tel: 590 590 27 63 61
This compact beachfront complex is one of the island's best bets for penny pinchers and families. Ten simple rooms are splashed in sea colors and face either the courtyard or the ocean. Don't expect fancy, because the hotel isn't even especially stylish, nor are the rooms amenity-filled. What is worth seeking out, though, is one of the 15 poolside tables at the hotel's popular La Langouste restaurant, a sure bet for French Creole delights (and yes, spiny lobster). The pool is a must on this part of the island; the Atlantic can get pretty rough.
Rue des Normands
Tel: 590 590 29 79 00
You'll pay for the privacy and million-dollar view from this glam property, which sits on a hilltop in the chic capital of Gustavia. Each of the 14 harbor-facing units has its own private terrace and plunge pool, marble floors, tiled bath, dual-jet shower, and kitchenette. Everything looks shiny and well cared for, too, as rooms were renovated in the summer of 2006. The restaurant serves excellent French fare, which you'll work off getting back to your room along a steep wooden staircase. Or head to Shell Beach, about a minute's walk away, which is a choice spot for sunsets or libations at Do Brazil.
Closed September through early October.
Pointe Milou , St Barths
Tel: 590 590 27 63 63
Fax: 590 590 27 92 92
Despite having just 38 rooms, the Hotel Christopher, opened in 2009, is one of the largest and most reasonably priced hotels on St. Barths. Guest rooms have an industrial Asian look (low-slung furniture, concrete floors) and either a balcony or deck with views of waves crashing against the rugged coast. This rocky section of the island lacks beachfront, but the freshwater infinity pool is massive—the largest pool on the island, in fact—and the white-sand beaches of St. Jean are a 10-mintue drive away. While it's 20 minutes to the restaurants and nightlife of Gustavia, the (limited) entertainment options nearby include the hotel's excellent, seafood-centric Taino and bawdy Le Ti, which adds a bit of spice to the otherwise calm comforts of a stay here.—Danielle Contray
Grand Cul de Sac
Tel: 800 216 3774 (toll-free)
Tel: 590 590 27 66 60
St. Barths's only full-service resort is wedged on an isolated peninsula between two beaches, Marigot and Grand Cul de Sac. The fact that the latter—the premiere windsurfing and kiteboarding spot on the island—is reef-protected from the ocean attracts a few families to this glamorous 16-acre retreat. The 68 Easter egg–colored cottages (some with private pools and butlers; all with marble baths stocked with Bulgari and Frédéric Fekkai products), are scattered on a palm-covered bluff. Beach-front units are the most convenient but the least private. The not inconsiderable rates, which start at about $750 in high season, include breakfast and transportation to the airport. The immaculate grounds and lush gardens, which are home to some friendly resort cats, are perfect for a morning power walk before a barefoot lunch at the Beach Bar or poolside at L'Indigo. Open-air Le Bartolomeo restaurant has an island-casual dress code and serves up fine French cuisine for dinner only. A fully equipped gym, two swimming pools, two tennis courts, water sports, and the luxe Clarins Spa make it easy to never leave the property. Updated by Cathay Che
Anse de Toiny
Tel: 800 932 3222 (toll-free)
Tel: 590 590 27 88 88
If money's no object, then Le Toiny's $1,000-plus-per-night tab is a small price to pay for perfection. With just 15 villasall recently renovated in a contempo-French-Caribbean style with teak and mahogany furniture, chic French toiles, and 40-inch flat-screen TVsreservations are tough to get. The same goes for tables at Le Gaïac, one of the island's best restaurants. (The view there, though, is magnificent.) A spa and fitness center were added in 2008. Some say this Relais & Châteaux gem is at the wrong end of the island, on the surf-beaten southeast coast, where beaches are dangerous; but if privacy is paramount, you won't give a damn. It's possible to hole up around your private heated pool and never see another person: You can even skip the checkout desk and settle your bill in the chauffeured car en route to the airport. The transfers, happily, are included in that rate, as are breakfast and laundry; on the other hand, winter rates climb well above the $2,000 mark.
Closed September and October.
Baie des Flamands
Tel: 590 590 27 61 81
Tel: 800 810 4691
Year after year, you're likely to see the same clientele. No wonder moneyed Americans and très cool French are devoted to this stylish yet laid-back property on Baie des Flamands beach. Management is equally devoted to pleasing their guests and delivering a consistently excellent experience. The 12 ocean-facing rooms are the most popular and priciest; consider asking for a second-floor unit, away from the noisy pool area. Four large (1,500-square-foot) Beach Suites debuted in late 2008; located directly on the beach, they have private plunge pools, full kitchens, and indoor/outdoor showers. The rest of the 37 rooms are housed in the garden across the road. These roomy cottages are pretty desirable themselves, as they feel secluded among all the greenery. All have terraces and simple, pared-down French decor, with whitewashed walls, sky-blue accents, and faux-antique furniture. What "scene" does exist is unpretentious and centered on the swimming pool. At lunch, wannabes who couldn't score a room here savor pan-fried foie gras and Parmesan risotto with sautéed mushrooms at the excellent La Case de l'lsle restaurant.
Closed September through mid-October.
Baie de Lorient
Tel: 590 590 52 03 00
La Banane is a lush hideaway for hipsters near secluded Baie de Lorient beach. Completely refurbished in white and pastel shades by its Belgian owners, this hot spot features nine one-bedroom bungalows. Extras like outdoor bathrooms, private verandas, Casa Milano beds, and Artemide halogen lights grace each unit. The glam guests work on tans around the multilevel pool. There's no restaurant, but you can order room service from chichi K'fe Massaï next door.
Closed September through late October.
Grand Cul de Sac
Tel: 888 537 3736 (toll-free)
Tel: 590 590 29 83 00
Formerly the Sereno Beach Hotel, this remade, rebranded property opened in 2005, looking to match the cast of other high-enders on the island. Located in the bay of the Grand Cul de Sac, it shoots for simplicity and understatement, as evidenced by Christian Liaigre's design. A whitewashed beach-cabin look can be found in all 37 of the rooms and suites. The sea here is not quite the bluer-than-blue fantasy to be found in other places, such as St. Jean and La Saline, but it's a popular spot for water sports, and the long sunken pool just off the beach is hugely inviting. The Grand Suite Plage rooms (numbered 1 through 4) have full sea views, and the Villa du Pêcheur has its own small pool. The more compact (and less expensive) suite terraces are quite charming, each with its own garden and glimpses of the sea. In summer 2009, Le Sereno opened three additional Liaigre-designed, four-bedroom villas, each with over 6,500 square feet of space (indoors and outdoors), a private pool, a full kitchen, 24-hour butler service, access to the hotel's amenities, and a price tag upwards of $9,000 per day in high season.
Closed September and October.
Plage de St. Jean
Tel: 590 590 27 53 13
It's always a party at Thierry de Badereau's beachside boutique hotel. The same hip crowd that dances on the tables at the owners' wildly popular Le Ti St. Barth bar also holds court nightly at the hotel's Casbah-style outdoor eatery, La Plage, site of occasional (and wacky) theme nights. The 12 rooms (two on the beach) match the mood, with bright colors, chic canopy beds, high ceilings, and tiled baths. All have private terraces or patios. Not recommended for those seeking seclusion.
The only thing better than being a tourist on St. Barths is being a local. Since there are few hotels on the island, about 80 percent of visitors to St. Barths rent a private villa and play house—renting a car, stocking up for the fridge at local French grocery stores (the cheese is to die for), and lying out topless by the pool. WIMCO, an international luxury villa rental company based in the United States, partners with Brook and Roger Lacour's Sibarth Real Estate, the largest rental agency on St. Barths. There are some 250 properties to choose from, ranging from the Japanese-style one-bedroom Villa Iku overlooking Marigot Bay to Villa Wik in Gustavia, which has six bedrooms and an infinity pool. High-season rates start at $1,600 per week for one-bedroom villas; two- and three-bedroom villas start at $2,500 and range up to $29,000. While Sibarth handles all on-island arrangements, reservations are made through WIMCO; WIMCO also provides concierge services and can arrange staff (nanny, private chef, etc.) for your villa. Housekeeping every other day is included in the rate.Cathay Che