Melissa's Travels

St. Barth's Latest Hot Spots

Thankfully, much of what I love about St. Barth’s doesn’t change—Saline beach, the two-hour lunch custom, its sophisticated yet bohemian spirit—but on my recent trip, I found some noticeable upgrades and additions. Le Guanahani and Le Toiny have had major renovations. (In fact, Le Toiny’s new owners, the visionaries behind Isle de France, have created a beach club that is a must-stop for lovers of a long, lazy lunch.) La Guérite is the new hot spot in Gustavia for dinner, and shops like Baya and French Indies Design should not be missed. Read about the latest St. Barth's hot spots, including exciting hotel news and some of my current island favorites below.

Hot Hotel News

Le Guanahani

The only true full-service resort on St. Barth’s and a longtime favorite for families, Le Guanahani (above) recently underwent a $50 million renovation to place it firmly in the ranks of the top properties on the island. All of its 67 suites and rooms have been updated by designer Luis Pons, who channeled an explorer theme (furniture inspired by steamer trunks) and married it with the cheery tropical colors of the Caribbean.

In addition to the full-service Clarins spa, tennis courts and fitness center, the property boasts two pools, hiking paths and two separate water sports areas: one beach that is great for kite surfing and a platform where one can snorkel with sea turtles. Its sense of space and larger villas (some with private pools) has always made it the best choice on the island for families, but its new wellness weeks are sure to expand its fan base. Indigo on the Beach, a new barbecue spot on the sandy shoreline, has already become a popular new lunch spot.

Le Toiny Tucked up on the cliffs of La Côte Sauvage, Le Toiny was for years known as the hideaway hotel for honeymooners and celebrities. But now that the former owners of Cheval Blanc Isle de France, Reverend Charles Vere Nicoll and his wife Mandie, have bought the property and worked their magic, it is entering a whole new era. The 15 villa suites, some with private pools, were given a chic, beach look by designer Bee Osborn, who incorporated touches like rope handles on the doors and showers with windows facing the sea. The reception area now feels like a fabulous clubhouse (it’s where Russell Simmons chose to throw his New Year’s party for guests like Leonardo DiCaprio and Chris Rock) with a lounge, library and new bar with hot pink cushioned bar stools.

Le Toiny Restaurant, too, has been freshened up by French Indies Design designer Karine Bruneel and now features vibrantly colored oars on the walls and teak tables. But the most talked about new feature is the Toiny Beach Club, which is already one of the toughest lunch reservations to secure. Hotel jeeps shuttle guests down the windy road to the beach where there’s a small bar, beach loungers and tables under the palms. In addition to restrooms, showers and towels, a tiny stone cottage contains the a boutique filled with Mandie’s finds.

Dining Favorites

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Fish dish on white plate at Hotel Le Toiny restaurant Courtesy Hotel Le Toiny[/caption]

La Guérite The newest hot spot on St. Barth’s opened in late 2015 and quickly became one of the trendiest places to see and be seen. It is an offshoot of the popular restaurant of the same name on Sainte Marguerite island (near Cannes) and draws a similarly chic crowd for delicious Mediterranean cuisine with an emphasis on fresh seafood.

Le Toiny Restaurant This top-rated establishment helped earn Hotel Le Toiny a spot in the prestigious Relais & Châteaux portfolio. Helmed by Jean-Christophe Gille, the restaurant, formerly known as Le Gaiac, serves up French cuisine with local influences. After a major renovation in 2015, the restaurant unveiled an airy new look with sleek teak tables, white ceiling fans and vintage canoe paddles that have been dipped into electric colored paint and hung on the walls. This spot is ideal for couples looking for a five-star meal in a romantic setting.

Le Toiny Beach Club The secluded beach below Le Toiny has been turned into one of the nicest spots on the island for a relaxed lunch. The chalkboard menu, perched on a stand in the sand, features simple fresh fare, and lazy lunches with rosé often last for hours here.

Indigo by the Beach As part of its renovation, Le Guanahani has added a new casual restaurant on the beach. Step into the sand and under the palms and you have entered a laid-back lunch zone. The menu includes delicious light fare such as Thai chicken salad, thin crust pizzas and sushi.

Shopping Favorites

St. Barth’s remains the best shopping destination for beach fashion and accessories. From the seductive hotel boutiques at Cheval Blanc Isle de France, Eden Rock and Le Guanahani to the independent boutiques in St. Jean and Gustavia, browsing for bathing suits, cover-ups, beach bags and hats seems inexhaustible.

While we never miss stopping at shops like Sea Memory, Kokon, L-Joy, Donalé, and Victoire, new favorites include Baya, French Indies Design (above) and the beach boutique at Le Toiny.

Read Favorite Finds: St Barth’s for more.

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