A magnificent view of the ocean from the Beach Villa Living Room
Feature: Cheval Blanc, St. Barth

By Nichole Osinski - August 1st, 2015

When Columbus first set foot on St. Barthélemy in 1493 it is unlikely that he ever imagined what a sought-after destination it would become. This small island in the West Indies is now one of the premier hot spots for the rich and elite seeking an escape. And luxury hotels like the Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France have only added to the allure of this destination.

An Island Apart The West Indies. Just the name itself conjures up images of sprawling beaches, a vibrant culture, and unspoiled islands. One island in particular has become the favorite of the haut monde and anyone looking to spoil themselves on holiday. The island of Saint Barthélemy, also known as St. Barth, has become a premier spot for indulging in the best the Caribbean has to offer, whether that be azure waters or a five-star hotel with spectacular ocean views. And with more than 20 beaches lining its coast, this eight-square-mile island has no shortage of options if your are planning on having the the very best right at your doorstep. “Inspired by its noteworthy history and tradition the island has become a model of stability in an increasing less predictable world,” said Nils Dufau, vice-president of Saint Barthélemy. “The island...has no mass tourism and is well known internationally for its efforts in developing quality over quantity.”

Nestled in the crook of the northern part of the island is St. Jean beach where water-sports enthusiasts come for the waves and families come to dine and shop. This is also near the airport and one of the most photographed spots when the planes fly in low for landings. To get a feel of what the island might have felt like when fishing villages were still prominent and Europeans were still sailing the Atlantic to colonize the island, head for Lorient. One of the oldest villages on the island, Lorient is home to a turquoise cove framed by red-tiled homes and a recently restored church that sits above a whitewashed cemetery. The church also houses a jazz concert at the beginning of the year that is part of the St. Barth Music Festival in January.

A View of Flamands With so many pristine spots around this island it’s no surprise that when it comes to choosing a place to stay deciding can become difficult. However, situated on Anse des Flamands is one hotel with rooms, views, and services that make the deciding process a bit easier. The Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France is where guests come to be pampered and slip into full-on island mode all while being treated to the best of what the island has to offer. Everywhere you turn—the restaurants, the guest rooms, the pool patios—the airy feel of a tropical retreat is present.

Accommodations may be set overlooking the sea, such as the two-bedroom Fisherman Cottage, or may be tucked amongst the verdant foliage, like the Garden Bungalow complete with a private terrace. One of the hotel’s most spectacular residences are the Flamands Villas, three-bedroom spaces inlaid with marble floors and outfitted with a cinema room, infinity pool, and private beach access. Aside from hitting every note of tastefulness and conviviality the Cheval Blanc also manages to delight guests with its culinary prowess at La Case de l’Isle restaurant. This is where French flavors become fused with Caribbean tradition by implementing al-fresco dining with dishes by Executive Chef Yann Vinsot. Add a selection of more than 150 French wines and champagnes and you have a distinctive pairing for any evening.

The Next Experience Besides the enjoyment you will get from simply lounging at the hotel pool or spa there is an added bonus of having the Alchemist team to take your holiday to the next level. This experienced group of people have been implemented to organize and plan excursions that pass your expectations. An unforgettable trip you can have set up is an excursion on board a 21 meter yacht that takes you to secluded waterways and where you can lunch near the beach of Petite Anse des Salines. Onboard you will have the luxury of indulging in a Guerlain treatment and drinking cocktails as the sun sets. Or, if you feel like burning off some energy, you can have a day of exploring the island with a private tour guide who will take you to some of the islands most beautiful spots while relaying facts about the island itself. “A visiting tourist will immediately realize that there are no tourist traps on St. Barts, that everyone is being treated equally,” said Dufau. “The notion of chic simplicity and unpretentious elegance is the norm.”

You can get in touch with that same island simplicity by trying out deep sea fishing with a local fisherman or have two full days of water activities. An Alchemist can do a number of combinations that include jet skiing, kayaking, flyboarding, and more. And for those who want to focus on the body there are fitness and wellness experiences to keep you on track. Wellness incorporates meditation in the morning and continues throughout the day with vegetarian food, yoga, and a massage while the fitness experience provides a workout personalized to each person’s conditioning level. These experiences only build upon The Cheval Blanc’s mission to create a stay unlike other in a place many only dream of visiting. Because in this corner of the island guests have found a reason to come back and an excuse for never wanting to leave.