One Perfect Stay - Tom Beach Hotel St Barths
If you are fan of Ben Stiller and remember the cult classic, Along Came Polly, you'll love Tom Beach Hotel on St. Barths for a number of reasons. This classic scene with Hank Azaria (The Scuba instructor) and Ben Stiller is a classic laugh-out-loud scene, despite the cheesy Jamaican steel drum music that you'll hear nowhere on the island, at all.
St. Jean is one of the first beaches you'll spot if you approach St Barths in the air - you fly directly over it to land on this gorgeous gem of the Caribbean. The tiny airstrip can be a bit daunting for travellers not quite used to puddle jumpers (small propeller planes used for short flights between islands) but the pilots are incredibly experienced and confident - just ask them how many flights they have made in their lifetime as you wait to board the plane.
St Jean is not just one beach, it's two separated by the Eden Roc Hotel which juts prominently out in the centre. Eden Roc Hotel is famous for rock stars and reality tv show luminaries and shares the beach with Tom Beach Hotel and Miami institution and day party venue Nikki Beach Club.
Tucked just off the St. Barts runway, Tom Beach Hotel is a bespoke boutique hotel offering understated elegance, a great beach bar, plenty of loungers and umbrellas for day hire and a fabulous boutique. The superior rooms offer guests either balconies or terraces perfect to take in the endless delight of fifty shades of blue or relax in the shade the tropical gardens generously offer. The hotel also has deluxe rooms on offer (approximately $546 USD per night for two guests) that offer larger, more discreet unadulterated views of St Jean bay from sweeping terraces equipped with deck chairs.
During my most recent visit, a few of my friends were guests in the hotel and invited me to spend the afternoon with them for lunch and a swim.
What I loved about the Tom Beach Hotel was the intimate atmosphere and the vibe complimented by the lush tropical garden walkways between the lobby, the pool and the beach, and the staff. It was a great place to enjoy St Jean Bay and spend an afternoon.
Tom Beach Hotel also is home to an iconic beachside restaurant that I highly recommend - La Plage. Our group of ten guests dined on fresh seafood that was well presented, and delicious - offering local delicacies like a yummy lobster salad with mango and champagne dressing, grilled lobsters by the kilo (enjoyed by the men at the table), and a few Asian fusion dishes including a cold rice noodle salad and fried rice.
The restaurant also provides impromptu entertainment, with a 'fashion show' as models ambiently roam around in chic outfits and accessories available for purchase from the hotel's boutique. After a few magnums of Rose, my friends parted with Euros and took home outfits inspired by afternoon's entertainment.
Also of note about the Tom Beach Hotel is the calibre of its guests. Whilst there were many French speaking guests (French is the first language spoken on St Barths), I met a group of girls travelling from New York City who owned a villa on the island and were regulars, an adverturous couple from Omaha and a cute pilot with a drone. The crowd Tom Beach attracts is non-pretenious, friendly and made me feel relaxed as a solo traveller.
Saturdays during high season, La Plage offers a Bikini Brunch -- a bit more of a themed brunch and party atmosphere. Expect plastic hot pink flamingos, lots of rose, and a party vibe. It was fun.
Tom Beach Hotel is indeed a beachside boutique hotel that knows its a hippo - a happy hippo and does not try to push the envelope to be anything more than a relaxed, intimate property that caters for guests who aren't try hards. St Barts doesn't cater to the budget conscious traveller, and Tom Beach Hotel offers great value and experience for money.