St Barths is an extraordinary place to visit. Even just starting with the arrival… We flew in from Anguilla on the tiniest plane – not much more than a metre wide, with flip down bench seats – and within minutes of passing St Martin, the red rooftops of Gustavia popped into view. Once we’d passed overhead, the hilltop loomed and the pilot cut the engines to drop down to the runway, slamming on the brakes to come to a stop before we hit the beach… We’d arrived and the excitement didn’t stop there. We waited at the baggage carousel to be told that the baggage handlers in Anguilla had called ahead to say that they’d forgotten to put our bags on the plane (with just 5 passengers leaving the island that morning we couldn’t help but laugh) but not to worry as another plane would bring them over within the hour. So we set off to pick up our little jeep and drove up the hillside to our hotel, Villa Marie St Barths. Things instantly felt more calm and seriously stylish!
The hotel is designed around the main plantation house building, with a beautifully decorated restaurant, bar and cigar lounge, and a small spa and gym. The pool sits amongst palm trees on a lower terrace, and the 18 rooms and villas are dotted along the hillside. The overall feeling is one of being in a super glamorous private home. Each room is individually designed by the owner, who has such an eye for interiors. Vintage pieces are mixed with eclectic trinkets that have been picked up around the world and colour is used in such a vibrant but chic way. Handmade seashell mirrors hang opposite classic roll-top baths and wicker peacock chairs are covered in palm print cushions.
Our room sat high on the hillside with a huge terrace overlooking Flamands Bay and it was such a breezy retreat from the sunshine. We managed to sneak a peek at some of the other rooms and it would be hard to pick a favourite… The palm print prestige bungalow was stunning, but then the entry level room was spacious, beautifully decorated and had such a gorgeous bathroom. If you’re looking for something super special, it has to be the Master Villa Piscine, with its two gorgeous bedrooms, a stylish living room, and huge terrace with sweeping sea views and a private swimming pool.
I like to judge a hotel not only on the design and service but also on the important things, like breakfast… And at Villa Marie it’s a casual but wonderful affair served on the pool terrace. Everything is served at the table, and ours ended up laden with pasties, fresh fruit, avocado toast, waffles and grapefruit juice. Delicious!
I think by this point you can tell that I loved the hotel, but what really stood out for me was the level of service. When our suitcases didn’t arrive on the plane, they were more than happy to pop down to the airport and pick them up for us. They were fantastic at recommending restaurants to try and beaches to visit, and they chatted so easily with us, like old friends, whilst making the best margaritas (on the rocks with a half salt rim) at the bar before dinner. Everything was done in a relaxed, friendly way, with the guests in mind, and it really showed.
I also have to recommend getting a picnic from the hotel one day as it was one of the many highlights of our trip. My sister and her husband actually arranged it for us as a surprise and it was so sweet! We were sent off with beach towels, a parasol and a picnic basket stuffed with salads, baguettes, cookies, fruit and a bottle of rosé – heaven! We headed off to Gouverneur Beach and it was such a nice way to spend the day!
Next up will be a post with some of my favourite restaurants, beaches and places to visit in St Barths, but if you’re deciding where to stay, make it Villa Marie – it’s just such a special place that will make St Barths feel like a home away from home!
We were kindly offered a press rate at Villa Marie St Barths.