The Cheval Blanc St Barts - A Luxury Escape
If you are lucky enough to know where St Barths is (it's a tiny speck on Google Maps), and clever enough to book the four flights I needed to take to get there from Los Angeles, you'll find St. Barths one of the most idyllic islands in the Caribbean.
The fifty shades of blue never gets old, the people are genuinely friendly to tourists, and the beaches are mostly small and protected so it's never too windy or rough to swim. On my most recent trip in August, I was politely shown around the Cheval Blanc that flanks the gorgeous Flamands beach.
Whilst I waited for my hostess, the staff greeted me with cool towels and iced cucumber water, and made me feel welcome despite the fact that I was not checking in. I was later made aware by the resident manager Laurent, that the hotel has a culture of service that is exemplary on the island and indeed the world.
What I loved about this property is the intimate atmosphere. The Cheval Blanc believes it preserves its exclusivity and privacy of its guests by thinking small - just 40 rooms, suites and villas on offer.
The Cheval Blanc is luxurious and quaint without being quirky. It felt expensive, chic and exclusive almost to the point of impersonal (perhaps that is a reflection of the French owners - LVMH Group, a family owned business that owns 70 distinguished houses - brands - in six different sectors from fashion like Louis Vuitton to select retail ventures like Sephora).
I was shown through a beach front villa, complete with private workout room, theatre, expansive living areas and three well-appointed master suites with en suites and perfect for the girls weekend I was planning. The villa opened up to a small plunge pool and private access to the dazzling white sand beach. Each villa is equipped with an IPad for regulating the temperature, and also making service requests like more ice for the blender, or late night mini-bar restock.
I passed La Case De L'isle which was just in between breakfast and lunch service on this Saturday in August, and whilst it was only slightly busy, could envision what a dinner with twelve of my besties grazing on fine French cuisine made with locally sourced delicacies would be like.
More white than a Santorini sunset, the restaurant offers al fresco dining facing the sea. The understated elegance of the decor pairs perfectly with the colour and cheerful dishes Chef Yann Vinsot is renown for. My hostess also asked me what my favourite French wine was. I responded Rose because I can find an excuse for Rose with nearly every occasion except breakfast (strickly bubbles before 10am). She assured me that my needs would be well catered for, as this restaurant proudly boasted a wine list of more than 150 varieties in their vast cellars.
The hotel offers a range of bungalows that are elegantly appointed, expansive in size and set in a lush tropical gardens. I witnessed a herd of local indigenous goats grazing just beyond the balcony that did not appear on cue and loved the yoga pergola nested beneath the cool shade of sweeping mature palm trees.
The property offered a distinct feel of serenity, and perfect for families or groups who bring atmosphere with them and might enjoy the beautiful day spa area, well equipped fitness centre, the protected and pristine beach and unmistakable French service.