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Last September, Hurricane Irma left much of St. Barts is shambles. Among the roughly 25 percent of businesses back open (the rest are expected by year's end), Villa Marie Saint-Barth is one of the finest. Overlooking Flamands Bay and the quartier of Colombier, the property features resplendent seaside views and an artistic, worldly aesthetic. Here's what to expect.
Budget Level: Upscale ($200+/night)
Lodging Type: Boutique (18 bungalows and 2 villas)
What You Need to Know
The former hotel François Plantation was purchased by the Sibuet family of Maison et Hôtels Sibuet in 2015—marking the group’s ninth hotel and first island property. To restore the hillside hideaway, the family's interior designer Jocelyne Sibuet enhanced the original colonial plantation style with ornate furnishings and prints plucked from her travels, which spanned Morocco to Bali. Bungalows—with names like Parrot Blue, Pineapples, and Jungle Passion—boast big canopied beds, stylish rattan armchairs, mosaic tiled dressers, and modern clawfoot tubs. The spacious veranda provide a dream outdoor living space, surrounded by exotic greenery and ocean views (for many).
Perched in hills above Flamands Bay, the property feels secluded and unspoiled. And while it would seem to be a honeymooners-only kind of place (and you'll find plenty of them), the hotel is ideal for group getaways, which we saw a handful of on our trip. Fortunately, because the hotel is small and the surrounding property is large, you'll never feel crowded by the guests.
Who Will Love It
Anyone who appreciates intimate and design-centric digs, plus fine dining, will love everything about Villa Marie.
Who Might Not
While children are allowed, the property is geared toward relaxation—kids may become bored in the adult-focused environment.
The pool, fringed with leafy palm and banana trees, feels like a jungle paradise (there are even resident parrots). The hotel's restaurant, François Plantation, is a favorite among locals seeking fine French fare with Caribbean flourishes. You'll find well-dressed guests sipping a cocktail in the salon before indulging in fresh lobster or the catch of the day, followed by an array of tropical desserts. And naturally, you'll dine in the most stylish of settings.
Rates include a big in-room or restaurant breakfast, wifi, Nespresso machine, luxury Pure Altitude toiletries at turndown, bottled water, and an airport transfer.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
Spa treatments and taxes are extra.
How to Get a Deal
Visit in the off-season (mid-April through mid-December). Rates for a bungalow start at 350 euro per night (about $400 USD). The property offers 20 percent off for those who book five day stays in advance. If you take advantage of the low season and multi-day booking, it's a great value for the pricey island.
In the Neighborhood
The hotel is in the secluded northwest corner of the island, but the Colombier district lies just below. It's not an easy hike, but you'll be rewarded with one of the world's most stunning remote beaches. (Pack sunscreen, water, and a picnic.) The town of Gustavia is a short five-minute drive.
St. Barts Airport is a five-minute drive from the resort.
The Bottom Line
A luxury beach hotel—with stunning design-forward bungalows—on one of the Caribbean's chicest islands.