Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France
Provençal, pampering, stylish
Baie des Flamands 590-590-276-181 www.stbarthisledefrance.chevalblanc.com
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At a Glance
This forty-room hotel on Flamands Beach epitomizes the island’s laid-back style.
- Weekly fashion shows on Tuesdays feature guests and locals
- Fantastic location on the picturesque Flamands beach
- Proximity to the shops and restaurants in Gustavia
Commonly called the Isle de France, the property’s main white building has a plantation-style design with wide verandas and an oft-photographed breezeway that frames a view of the Caribbean. The hotel is set on ten acres, with beautiful Flamands beach on one side and a grove of palm trees on the other. Many fashion photographers shoot on this stretch of beach, thanks to its picturesque backdrop. The iconic property was purchased by LVMH in 2014, following a three-year renovation and entirely new interiors by British designer Bee Osborn.
The guest rooms feel less like hotel accommodations than the bedrooms of an elegant Provençal family. White dominates—on the walls and floors and in the sumptuous bed linens—but is warmed by a soft pinks and taupes that are featured throughout the hotel. Colorful lampshades and exquisite quilts from France add indulgent touches. In the main house, book one of the six rooms on the top floor. All have balconies overlooking the main deck and views of the sea. The downstairs junior suites also have terraces, but they are on the first floor and open directly onto the pool deck so provide less privacy. For families, a villa is the way to go. A few of the garden villas have their own pools, but the ultimate splurge is one of the three-bedroom Flamands villas. There are two – one upstairs and one downstairs – and each features three bedrooms, a media room, a large living/dining area plus full kitchen, a small gym and a private pool.
Throughout the property, blue-and-white Chinese ceramics line bookshelves in the hallways that offer a mix of old and new novels just as you’d come across in a summer house. There’s an offbeat refinement to the bar area as well, with white painted wicker furniture jazzed up by blue-and-white ikat-print pillows; and the locals who come to lounge on them at the end of the day are clearly a cool crowd but friendly too. Every Tuesday night at 6:30 pm, hotel and restaurant guests are treated to a fashion show featuring resort wear from the closet-sized yet fabulous boutique. Stocked with everything from straw hats and necklaces to caftans, vibrant Pucci bikinis and comfortable wedges, the shop is the ultimate place to add something chic to your beach outfit. Disco music plays as local beauties strut their finery, with even young hotel guests participating.
The Isle de France is a small resort but not without amenities. The resort boasts the only Guerlain spa in the Caribbean, with a number of treatments including the St-Barth Solar Escape, designed to soothe the skin after sun exposure. While the subterranean location of the fitness center doesn’t make for inspirational workouts, people watching on the beach loungers offer the best sport anyhow. The entire property finished a three-year renovation in 2013 in impeccable Isle de France style, complete with pristine white bedspreads, Bose iPod docks, flatscreen televisions and expansive marble baths with deep soaking tubs.
Who Should Stay
Travelers who like to feel as if they’d arrived in the midst of a convivial house party at a property that manages to be at once glamorous and welcoming.
- Melissa Biggs Bradley