Photo courtesy of Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France
Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France
The famous Hotel St-Barth Isle de France officially became a Cheval Blanc property in 2014, reopening as the Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France. In addition to updated decor by Bee Osborn, the hotel has the only Guerlain spa in the Caribbean, adding Cheval Blanc’s trademarked "alchemists"—staffers whose sole purpose is to tailor-make memorable experiences for guests. While the resort is always popular with couples, the clientele shifts depending on the time of year. Around the holidays and spring break, the hotel attracts families (and offers a “Pour les Bébés” menu of homemade baby food for little ones). In the late spring and summer, honeymooners are drawn by poolside champagne tastings.
A laid-back beachy vibe with a compelling overlay of French style is the hotel's hallmark. Comfy rattan furniture is set off by a palette of blues and light shades, and rooms are stocked with custom Leanor Greyl products to protect from salt and sun.
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Those wishing to explore can walk the trail leading to the secluded Colombier Beach, accessible only on foot or by boat. It's the sort of dreamy setting that defines the Caribbean. Guests can tour the rest of the island by car, visiting the historic port Gustavia, which is the place for upscale shopping.
Need to Know
Rooms: 40 rooms and suites. From $650. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: There are two restaurants, La Cabane de l’Isle and La Case de l’Isle. The former is a cabana on the beach, perfect for an afternoon sandwich or cocktail. The latter is ocean-facing and overlooks the pool, offering seascape views during the day and nighttime views of the moon rising over the waves. The cuisine is Caribbean-inspired French, and the wine list is long. Spa and gym details: Cheval Blanc is home to a Guerlain spa. Signature treatments include the St-Barth Solar Escape, created to soothe skin after a day in the sun. The fitness center overlooks the ocean, as does the pool.
Who's it for: Luxury-seeking yet pretension-avoiding couples and families. Our favorite rooms: The three-bedroom Flamands Villa offers a private infinity pool, ocean access, cinema room, fitness center, 24-hour butler service, and in-villa kitchen. Circle the island: The “Big Blue Escape” is a full-day tour on a 69-foot yacht with a catered lobster lunch on the beach, snorkeling, and an onboard Guerlain spa experience. If the resort wasn't so nice, you might never want to return.