Caribbean Cruising: St. Barts

St. Barts
 

Whenever Luxury Travel Advisor takes a cruise, we just can’t help visiting the top hotels in each port, especially if we’re in a place we’ve never been before.

LE SERENO's Grand Suite Plage
LE SERENO's Grand Suite Plage overlooks the Grand Cul-de-Sac lagoon.

Caribbean cruisers are often treated to ports of call at Gustavia in St. Barts (Regent Seven Seas, Silversea, Crystal Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises and Windstar are all visiting in 2011).

Worth a look is the sexy Le Sereno, the first hotel to get a coveted five-star rating from the French government. Situated on the Grand Cul-de-Sac beach, the chic, 37-suite hotel specializes in giving guests the VIP treatment starting with reception at the St. Maarten airport to expedite customs, immigration and luggage handling.

We hear that three 7,000-square foot Villas, designed by famed Parisian designer Christian Liaigre, have upped the luxury quotient at Le Sereno. Villa guests get a special treat: Customized products from British handbag and luxury goods designer Anya Hindmarch. A partnership with the renowned designer has resulted in bespoke treats like jewelry boxes, a travel bag and travel folio.

And spa lovers will like the sound of this: Le Sereno has started construction on a new luxury spa in partnership with La Ligne St. Barth. Designed to flow through indoor and outdoor space, The Spa at Le Sereno will be infused with the hotel’s laid-back luxury. Here’s what’s on tap: two individual spa suites each with their own shower, an intimate couple’s suite and an over-sized waterfront treatment pavilion overlooking the turquoise lagoon of the Grand Cul-de-Sac. A pampering massage in the pavilion, while cooled with the gentle trade winds off the water, could be a little slice of heaven. Treatments include facials, body wraps and massages all featuring products from Ligne St. Barth, utilizing only the freshest local ingredients found on the island.

Le Toiny’s three-bedroom villa
Le Toiny’s three-bedroom villa occupies the most private portion of the resort.

Alas, we know you’re in port for just the day, so we suggest you dine at The Restaurant des Pêcheurs, which serves up fresh fare brought by local fishermen daily. (We suggest the Bouillabaisse a la Ancienne) or enjoy a drink at the Lounge and Martini Bar at Le Sereno. Luxury travel advisors can contact General Manager Javier Vila (direction@lesereno.com).

Hotel Le Toiny, another St. Barts gem, joined Relais & Châteaux last year and we suspect a large part of that accolade is owed to its Restaurant Le Gaïac, which is overseen by Chef Stephane Mazieres, who is known for his blend of French and Creole styles. Note: Guests can choose fish caught that day from the fish market to be prepared by the chef. The restaurant, open for lunch and dinner, also offers its famous Sunday “Brunch du Toiny.” Contact the restaurant’s manager, Philippe Casadamont (philippe@letoiny.com), for reservations, which are highly recommended.

Worth a look while you’re there at the resort are its 15 villas, which reopened last November after a renovation. Cool Factor: The property added a path leading to the beach. Note: Room Nos. 1, 6 and 11 are among the most frequently booked. La Villa—a three-villa complex consisting of a one-bedroom villa suite with kitchenette and two individual bedroom villas—should be targeted for families and is considered the best on the resort.

HOTEL LETOINY’s Restaurant Le Gaïac
HOTEL LETOINY’s Restaurant Le Gaïac blends French and Creole styles.

Luxury travel advisors should contact Dagmar Lombard (dagmar@letoiny.com; 011-59-05-9027-8888), co-general manager.

If you visit St. Barts: Gustavia is a duty-free port with a number of international shops from designer fashions to jewelry and perfumes.