Cool in the Tropics

A revamped retreat from the French luxury group LVMH is just as haute as you’d expect

At Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France white-cushioned deck furniture surrounds a lagoon-green pool that sits above the bay.
At Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France white-cushioned deck furniture surrounds a lagoon-green pool that sits above the bay.
Courtesy of Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France

As Caribbean destinations go, St. Bart's has an unimpeachable cachet. The yacht traffic in Gustavia Harbor rivals that of St. Tropez and Monaco; the restaurants have sister hot spots in Miami and Mallorca; and hotels come in boutique rather than mega sizes, with an emphasis on service and privacy.

The spa’s relaxation pavilion is nested into the jungly hillside.
The spa’s relaxation pavilion is nested into the jungly hillside.

What does it take to be the poshest spot on an already impossibly swank island? The hideaway formerly named Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France has long been considered a prime example of Caribbean hospitality, thanks to its waterfront location and private-home atmosphere. Located on Baie de Flamands, the widest beach on St. Bart’s, the resort has 40 expansive rooms, suites, and villas, as well as La Case de l’Isle, a coveted dining reservation. (La Cabane de l’Isle, the beachfront lunch spot, hosts a daily fashion show.) When the property was acquired by LVMH in 2013, it got a new name, Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France, as well as a chic face-lift that makes its debut on October 15.

Whiter Shade of Pale

Cool in the Tropics
Bathrooms feature modern soaking tubs and Leonor Greyl amenities.
Bathrooms feature modern soaking tubs and Leonor Greyl amenities.
Chaise longues overlooking a guest room's private pool.
Chaise longues overlooking a guest room's private pool.
Orange piping and stripes emphasize the white interiors.
Orange piping and stripes emphasize the white interiors.

Spoiler alert: the updated getaway is worth the wait. Interiors by London designer Bee Osborn are at once restful and contemporary, in a palette of crisp whites and soft taupes with blush-pink accents. Custom hair products by French line Leonor Greyl, a supermodel favorite, now grace the light-filled salles de bains. The four-room spa features signature treatments by Guerlain as well as a hammam and fitness center. And a majordome, or butler, is on call to tailor a sail aboard the hotel’s 69-foot yacht or a private cocktail hour in the garden. Paradise? For those with the wherewithal, it lies right this way. —Sarah Storms 

The allure of St. Bart's is its juxtaposition of natural beauty and worldly polish.
The allure of St. Bart's is its juxtaposition of natural beauty and worldly polish.
I'm the former Style Editor at Lonny.
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