Though there are 15 private villas at the Hotel Le Toiny in St Barths, the serene, hillside beach escape feels completely private. With a private infinity pool and sunlounger-dotted sea-view terrace at each French-colonial bungalow, guests have little incentive to leave until lured by the top-tier French-Caribbean restaurant and prime surfing beach below.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm, though early guests are welcome to use the main pool.
Double rooms from £1616.05 (€1,890), including tax at 5 per cent.
Rates include Continental breakfast, beach club facilities, airport transfers, WiFi, films on-demand, and a supply of water, tea and coffee.
Land Rover Safaris will whisk you straight to full-service Toiny Beach Club (although it's walking distance if you'd prefer a stroll), where straw-hut paillottes and an open-air bar await. La Boutique one-ups the usual hotel array with a worldly assortment of sarongs, dresses, bath products and beach items selected from Owner Mandie Vere Nicoll’s travels around the world. Car rentals can be arranged for guests who want to explore further afield.
Annually end of August to end of October
At the hotel
Toiny Beach Club, gym, scenic trails, free WiFi throughout, boutique, library, a coconut grove, tamarind field, pineapple orchard, and valet parking. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar, coffeemaker, iPod dock, L’Occitane bath products. Cell phones can be provided on request.
Our favourite rooms
For a private outdoor soak a deux, we love the pools on the terrace of every suite. The one-bedroom villas highest on the hill have the best views of the Caribbean Sea.
The heated infinity pool is set just outside the restaurant and lobby area, with panoramic sea views.
Spa treatments are all in your room or suite, for ultimate privacy. Choose from Elemis massages, peels, manicures or a hot shell treatment using lava shells to create a beachy spin on the hot-stone massage.
Hiking shoes are a must for anyone eager to explore the 17 hectares of wild hills around the hotel, and bright tennis whites for guests interested in using the nearby tennis courts.
Fitness buffs can book a personal training session in the ocean-view gym, and yoga or pilates classes down on the beach; more modest yogis can also practice sun salutations on their private terrace.
Children of all ages are welcome. One child age 12 or under can stay for free on a rollaway bed; a second child or any over-12s will incur a €130 nightly charge. Cots, cribs and buggies can be provided with advance notice, and babysitting can be arranged.
Ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible and beach lights are solar-powered.
Unless you’re here to ogle the tanned fellow diners, sit at the edge of the alfresco space for the best views.
Beach chic: sarongs and shorts are fine at breakfast, though regulars dress to impress for dinner and Sunday brunch.
One of the best places on St Barths, the open-air Restaurant Le Gaiac is an island hotspot, with a scene at dinner and Sunday brunch that rivals the sea views. Chef Luca Minetti serves modern Mediterranean cuisine with distinct Caribbean flavour; a DJ provides the low-key dinner soundtrack. The wine list is the largest on the island, with more than 300 bottles sourced from around the world, and the restaurant team can take care of any special requests, including private dinners, wine tastings and cooking demonstrations.The lunch menu at the Beach Club changes daily, but guests can expect tasty basics, barbecues and salads.
The walls of the small house bar, just off the entrance to the restaurant, are lined with exotic bottles from around the world. Dip into some Caribbean rum punch or a litchi martini; the terrace next to the restaurant is also an excellent place for wine and cocktails. For pre-dinner apéritifs or casual cocktails at any time of the day, head to the pool-overlooking open-air bar; it’s decorated with natural oyster shells and mother-of-pearl accents, and has cosy corner seating and a champagne area.
Breakfast is from 7.30am to 10am; lunch from noon to 2.30pm; dinner and drinks from 7pm until 10pm.
The full restaurant menu is available during restaurant hours; a limited menu, including salads and sandwiches, is offered from 11pm to 7am. Full breakfast is available for delivery; arrange the timing the night before with staff.
You need a transfer to reach this hotel. For approximate costs, see location information
Located on the bluffs over Toiny Bay on the southeast coast of St Barths, Hotel Le Toiny is a cluster of beachy bungalows a 15-minute drive from the town of Saint-Jean.
Flights into St Barths from the USA and Europe arrive at nearby island St Maarten’s Juliana airport (SXM). Small airlines Winair (www.fly-winair.sx) and St Barths Commuter (stbarthcommuter.com) make the 10-minute flight from St Maarten to Gustaf III Airport on St Barth. Roundtrip transfers to the hotel are free.
The airport does offer car rentals from all major rental agencies, though the hotel can also arrange for a car hire at the property. For those who choose to drive, head left from the airport and follow signs for Toiny through St Jean and Lorient. The ride is approximately 15 minutes and parking is free at the hotel.
There are two ferries. The Voyager (www.voy12.com) departs St Maarten daily and takes approximately 75 minutes; the high-speed Great Bay (www.greatbayferry.com) takes 40 minutes.
Worth getting out of bed for
Hotel Le Toiny offers one excellent reason to get out of bed quite early: the breath-snatching sunrise views from all of the east-facing Villas. Once the you’ve taken it in — preferably over coffee and pastries — hitch a golf cart down to the beach to try stand-up paddleboarding, surfing the island’s best crests or snorkel to catch a glimpse of the dazzlingly bright fish. It’s hard to tire of beautiful Toiny Bay, but the island is home to 20 beaches, so there are plenty more to explore, including Shell Beach on the west coast for sunset, and the southern beaches, like serene Gouverneur and unspoiled Saline, where topless sunbathing is the norm for those brave enough to bare their assets.
Nab a table in the palm-shaded garden for lunch or dinner at L'Esprit (+ 590 590 52 46 10), near Saline Beach, for fusion dishes like tuna tartare with beet-ginger sorbet. Run by a husband-wife team, tiny beachside restaurant Maya’s (+ 590 590 27 73 73) changes its menu daily to reflect the very best fish and produce available in ceviche, green curry and inspired twists on Creole classics. The clientele might be as enticing as the food at hotspot Le Ti St Barth’s (+590 590 27 97 71), which stays open late with steak, cocktails, lively music and an inevitable dance party.
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 sarongs and spa products, 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 Le Toiny in St Barths…
Much as we fancy ourselves experts in (and advocates of) comfortable beds, Hotel Le Toiny’s perfectly grand, welcoming four-poster canopy beds may verge on criminally inviting. They make it all too tempting to laze away the morning, which might mean missing the hotel’s spectacular sunrise view. For early risers, throwing open the shutters or sneaking out onto the private terrace means panoramic views out over the sea from the secluded hilly perch on the eastern coast of St Barths. The ocean stretches interminably, with jewel-tone hues of green and blue bleeding into the brightening morning sky.
Hotel Le Toiny has many ways of encouraging deep relaxation: Once tucked into a quiet, spacious private Villa – with its heated infinity pool, sunloungers, a hammock and that gloriously massive bed – it’s surprisingly easy to forget that the rest of St Barths is a playground of mega-yachts, nightlife and impossibly chic boutiques. Unlike hotels plunked into the heart of the action, it sits in blissful, natural seclusion, with little more than crashing waves and soaring birds to compete for guests’ attention. Should guests venture from the Villa, it’s typically just to the beach below for surfing and paddleboarding. Or wait until the hotel springs to life each evening for dinner at Restaurant Le Gaiac, where French-Caribbean dishes and a generous wine list combine for one of the island’s best meals. Though diners converge from all across the island, those lucky enough to stay at Hotel Le Toiny have only a short stroll home to sublime sleep.