Perched above the brilliant blue waters that surround St Barths, the Hotel Christopher brings understated Parisian glamour to the ritzy Caribbean island. A luxurious spa by French cosmetics brand Sisley and a clifftop fresh-water infinity pool – the island’s largest – would already make this the kind of place you never want to leave; the ocean views from nearly every oversized room guarantee that you’ll be trying to move in.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £433.56 (€480). Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of 5% per booking on check-out.
Rates usually include a full buffet breakfast spread, return transfers and welcome minibar.
Annually during hurricane season, from approximately 25 August to 1 November.
At the hotel
Swimming pool, spa, fitness centre with classes, DVD library, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, DVD player, minibar (free upon arrival, refills charged), tea- and coffee-making facilities, bathrobes, Sisley bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Obviously we’d spring for the Ocean Panoramic Suite if we just had to have the best views, but we’re also especially partial to the Ocean Deluxe Terrace rooms, whose cape location makes make them feel especially private. Plus, they’re the only non-suite rooms to have the sleek granite soaking tubs we’d like to bathe in multiple times a day.
St Barth’s largest pool, Hotel Christopher’s fresh-water infinity swimming pool overlooks the ocean from its clifftop location. If you can’t bear to give up the panoramic view from your sunlounger, drinks and food can be delivered to you throughout the day.
The oceanfront Sisley Spa – run by the designer Parisian cosmetics brand of the same name – offers a full range of its signature Phyto-Aromatic treatments to soothe your body and mind.
A French dictionary, if you’re not entirely comfortable with your français; it’s the local language.
In addition to the Sisley Spa, the hotel has a fitness centre that overlooks the ocean, and where yoga and Pilates sessions are held regularly.
Children under two stay on a cot for free. An extra bed can be added for under-12s at no extra cost; for adults and children who are 12 and over, each extra bed is €120 a night. The pool has a shallow end and the concierge can arrange babysitting.
While every table has the kind of ocean views that make you want your meal to never end, we’re especially partial to ordering snacks and a fruity cocktail to your poolside sunlounger. Then you don’t have to get up when the food’s gone.
Paris-on-the-beach: designer swimsuits layered with airy linens.
The hotel's restaurants Christo and Mango, serve up an abundance of fresh seafood alongside breath-taking ocean views amid cooling sea breezes. Home of the decadent breakfast buffet, Christo also offers a refined dinner menu that runs the gamut from lobster tortellini to Kobe beef. Poolside Mango is the low-key lunch and daytime destination in between swims and spa treatments where favourites include mahi mahi with tartare sauce and their beach burger 'The Rockefeller’, which is topped with cheddar, crispy bacon and french fries; finish with a made-to-order iced lemon-lime tart.
Each restaurant has a bar with the same signature seaside elegance, and Mango’s doubles as the pool watering hole throughout the day. Tropical cocktails, light wines and icy beers are the name of the game – and the perfect accompaniment to those ocean views.
Breakfast is from 7am to 10:30am; lunch from noon to 3pm; pool bar menu from 10:30am to 12 noon, and from 3pm to 7pm; dinner and drinks from 7pm to 10pm.
Limited versions of the restaurant menus are available in your room when they’re served at the restaurants. Overnight, a selection of sandwiches and salads can be ordered.
Located on the oceanfront bluff of Pointe Milou on the central north coast of the island of St Barths, Hotel Christopher is picturesquely set amid luxury villas about 10 minutes from the town of Saint-Jean.
Getting to St Barths is a slight mission – and just part of the exclusive charm. The nearest international hub is Juliana Airport on St Maarten, 25km away, or you can fly via Antigua or Guadeloupe. There, you’ll make your connection to St Barths’ Gustaf III Airport (SBH) on Air Caraibes (www.aircaraibesexpress.com; +590 (0)590 87 14 80) or St Barth Commuter (www.stbarthcommuter.com; + 590 (0)590 27 54 54), both of which offer scheduled and charter flights.
Hire a car in order to explore the island, as the hotel is situated in a residential area a 10-minute drive from the closest town, and a 20-minute drive from the capital.
Worth getting out of bed for
You don’t have to leave the hotel to stay busy – if, that is, your idea of staying busy involves lots of time relaxing. The Sisley Spa could easily occupy much of your time with its extensive menu of facials, massages and various body and skin treatments. Similarly, the pool is the perfect spot to park yourself for a day with a good book and a steady stream of drinks, while the yoga, pilates and aquabiking classes mean you don’t feel too sloth-like.
If you start to go a bit stir-crazy, though, St Barth’s has plenty to keep you occupied. The concierge can help you arrange excursions from snorkelling and scuba diving to sailing and fishing. Take a picnic down to one of the surrounding beaches – Shell, Gouverneur and Saline are our personal favourites – and lounge about there, or stretch your legs on the rugged, 30-minute hike from Gustavia to Combier Beach, one of the island’s most seclude stretches of sand. Get your dose of culture in Gustavia and St-Jean, with their spate of designer boutiques and trendy cafés and bars.
Nearby Sandbar, at Eden Rock hotel, is one of the island’s to fine-dining destinations, with ocean views and an innovative menu from celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The jet-set's top spot is, without a doubt, Le Ti St Barth, a fun-loving island institution of consistently good food, well-mixed cocktails and entertainment that includes a cabaret and regular DJs. In Gustavia, Bonito at Rue Lubin Brin has a hilltop perch with dazzling views, wonderful tapas and an imaginative drinks menu. Service is relaxed, to the point of slowness, so don’t come here in a rush.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel in St Barths and unpacked their seashells and designer finds, a full account of their Caribbean luxury break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hotel Christopher in St Barths…
Only the French could have produced the culture of St Barths, a Caribbean island of designer boutiques, sprawling luxury villas, superyachts and high-quality international restaurants. And now they’ve brought the sleek and refined Hotel Christopher, perched atop a sea bluff that ushers warm ocean breezes into rooms whose understated elegance could only have been designed in Paris. The clifftop infinity pool, surrounded by the two Brazilian-chef-helmed restaurants and bars, is of course the island’s largest, and hosts a steady stream of svelt Parisiennes in their designer bikinis. After a morning swim, a trip to the oceanfront Sisley Spa – where every treatment room looks out at the Caribbean Sea – is de rigueur, perhaps preceded by a yoga or pilates class.
Oh, but we can’t while away the entire day basking and cocktail-sipping. Excursions to the island’s two major towns – 10 and 15 minutes away, respectively – for some shopping and people-watching, and swimming adventures on nearby beaches are all necessary parts of the St Barths experience. As is retreating to your luxurious hideaway at the end of the day.