Compassion is a seductive quality all-round, but when it comes as part and package of a fun-loving stay in one of ritzy isle St Barth’s most naturally head-turning locales then it’s all the more irresistible. Magical hideaway Hotel Manapany has stylishly tropical suites, each with a sundeck overlooking surreally blue waters; a spa that’ll leave you as dazzling as the view; and a ‘make every day count attitude’, with wellness sessions in beauty spots, barbecues with fashion shows or storytelling around lit braziers late into the night. But, these charms are backed up by solid eco-credentials: only electric vehicles onsite, solar power, sustainable building and more – all set for big-ticket beach breaks with an even bigger heart.
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability and on request. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £817.28 (€911). Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of 5% per booking on check-out and an additional service charge of 3% per room per night on check-out.
Rates usually include an American-style buffet breakfast, return airport or port transfers in an e-car and one Pilates or yoga class a person.
Flowers can be readied in your room for arrival if you want to up the romance. If you need some last-minute resort wear or something with a sunny feel to take home, the hotel’s boutique sells elegant seaside wear from St Barts’ brand Cedric & Rod. If you need something extra special, the hotel can arrange for the resident couturier to whip something up. A delight in the details here is the work that French artist Mayon Hanania has done for the signage and stationery.
The hotel closes during hurricane season, from August to October.
At the hotel
Public beach (best for surfers given the wind), spa, fitness centre, boutique, two games rooms and reading room, dry-cleaning and laundry, free WiFi. In rooms: furnished sun deck or terrace, flatscreen TV, Nespresso coffee machine, tea-making kit, minibar, air-conditioning and B Signature bath products. Some suites and the villa have a kitchenette too and one suite category has a Jacuzzi.
Our favourite rooms
Built in eco-friendly style using tropical woods, rooms and suites are luxurious but not overwrought – effort has been made to make these feel like true island homes. Each has a sundeck with a view that’s either vibrantly green or blue, and within Caribbean colour abounds: pepper red, saffron yellow, the light blue of the shallows and the ultramarine of the deep. So, to elevate your stay, go for the Ocean Prestige with Jacuzzi, which has a brilliant eyeful of sea with an added spot to soak. Villa Creole, with its two bedrooms and bathrooms and space to play in is ideal for families.
There are two, each with a distinct personality. The bubblier (not literally) of the two is the main pool, an enticing heated glassy oval set into the deck surrounding the restaurant and bar (with DJ). It’s open to all ages, and since there’s the option to lie back and sip on something potent like the hotel’s signature Back to the Roots cocktail (a heady mix of rum, lime, guava, mango and passionfruit), and let little ones play freely (the two needn’t be mutually exclusive), it’s the livelier place to hang. The spa pool is for over-18s only, so much quieter. It has spectacular views of craggy peaks and the sea, and there’s a cabana for a couple to cosy up in post-massage.
Wellness brand Dr Hauschka is in step with the hotel’s Earth-kind approach, with its organic, biodynamic, fair-trade, direct-from-plant-to-pampering products. So, it’s fitting that they’ve helped to develop a range of facials and massages to lull and lift you with a clear conscience. Techniques skip from Hawaiian ‘lomi-lomi’ to Indian Ayurvedic and Thai acupressure; and facials swing from the simple to the skin-correcting. And, you can primp for one of the hotel’s social gatherings with a manicure using natural French nail polish from Kure Bazaar, waxing and make-up services and hairdressing. Each guest gets one free morning yoga or Pilates session, a stay, on the spa deck; if that’s not enough, they’re held daily (at an extra charge). And the fitness centre has top-of-the-line Technogym cardio and strength equipment.
Bring a pashmina or light tailored jacket to keep your arms mosquito-bite free, and pack dress-up wear – this Gallic territory is one of the Caribbean’s most glamorous and monied islands. If you’re partaking in the hotel’s ‘gypset’ night, it’s requested guests wear an in-the-spirit-of-things costume – it’s up to you how far you lean into the theme, but if you don’t have anything suitable, the on-site boutique will have some bohemian pieces.
Public areas are largely wheelchair-accessible and some Junior Suites are adapted for guests with mobility issues.
Most of the hotel’s rooms and suites have connecting rooms with space for extra beds; the Panoramic Suite and Villa Creole both have two bedrooms and bathrooms, and a kitchenette. Babysitting is available on request; must be booked in advance.
All ages are welcome and there’s something to suit kids and teens alike.
Villa Creole has two bedrooms and bathrooms, plus a huge deck for family gatherings. Most rooms also connect to open up bigger spaces for families.
Confident swimmers will fare best here with the pool and sea to splash about in – plus snorkelling, Sea Bob-bing, surfing and the like. But even water-wing-wearers will have a blast playing in the games room, frolicking on the sand and exploring the critter-roamed gardens.
Kids are welcome in the main heated pool by the restaurant; however, it’s not guarded so parents will have to keep watch from behind their sunnies.
Babysitting can be arranged; the hotel advises booking in advance of your stay.
The hotel is devoted to keeping its impact on the island low. They follow eco-friendly practices such as solar panels covering some of the electricity and all the hot water, chemical-free water treatment onsite (wastewater is dealt with responsibly), all-natural cleaning and spa products, and only electric cars are allowed on the property – Manapany has several of them for airport transfers and they can help guests hire an electric car for exploring beyond the resort. All towels used are made from bamboo, and the hotel’s four-acre estate has citrus, mango, passionfruit, banana and coconut trees scattered throughout, which supply the restaurant; other ingredients are sourced from island-based suppliers.
Sea breezes and sand underfoot somehow make everything taste all the better – settle under a palm tree on the beach and kick your flip-flops off.
Caribbean colour in a French silhouette. Cocktail and evening wear will come in handy too.
Manapany’s residences poke through a slope saturated with palms, and wherever you turn there are slick green leaves or flamboyant flowers, so it’s unsurprising that among the greenery are some edibles. Organic citrus, mango, passionfruit, banana and coconut trees – alongside freshwater catches delivered by fishermen each morning, native aromatic herbs and picks from local farms – form the basis for an elegant flavour-bomb menu with a Caribbean bent. Try mahi-mahi with chillies and Buddha’s hand pickles, crayfish and citrus salad, or candied pork belly slow-cooked for seven hours. The dining room follows the same rustic wooden decor as the rooms, but the terrace reaches out into the sea, unfurling for romantic views of the Bay.
As a certain Jack Sparrow might ask ‘Why is the rum gone?’ – well, maybe because it’s all behind the bar here. The reassuringly long list has enticing descriptors for a range of rums from throughout Central and South America, plus many from fellow French territory Guadeloupe: say, ‘cinnamon, vanilla, banana’; ‘candied fruits, caramel, spices’; ‘honey, oak, roasted almonds’. Rich, sugary reveries are guaranteed. Alternatively, try the potent local Ti Punch or a rum infused with kiwi and tonka bean or mango and cardamom. Or there’s a range of classic and signature cocktails, such as a savoury take on an Aperol Spritz with lime, aquafaba and celery; or an Aloa Mule with mango shrub. And the bartenders’ flowery aprons can’t help to bring a smile to your face. There’s a table-laid terrace for drinking on with beachy views, but you can also take your drink on a lounger or have it brought to your sundeck.
Breakfast runs from 7am to 10.30am, lunch from 12 noon to 2.30pm and dinner from 7pm to 10pm.
Round-the-clock room service is available (a cover charge applies).
Like the sun-seekers who’re drawn to it, Hotel Manapany lies on the idyllic white-sand beach that wraps around Anse des Cayes Bay. It’s the only hotel on this stretch of sand and it’s set on the island's left fork, just a 10-minute drive from Gustavia.
Gustaf III Airport (AKA Rémy de Haenen Airport) is just a five-minute drive from the hotel and transfers in the hotel’s e-cars are included for all guests – just let reception know what time your flight lands. You’ll need to fly via Princess Juliana Airport in St Maarten (where direct flights land from across the world); from here, you can hop on a 10-minute shuttle flight run by Winair or St Barth Commuter. Nervous fliers may want to pop a valium – the airport at St Barths has a very short runway (a tight 2,170 feet long). If you’re arriving from the US, chartering a private flight will let you arrive in style, but take note, the largest plane that can land here is a 19-seater.
To see the island sustainably, the hotel can arrange for an e-car (or eco-friendly Mini Cooper) to be dropped off at the hotel (hire is at an extra charge), and transfers to and from the airport in their own e-cars are free of charge. The neighbourhood is remote and beautiful for it, but non-drivers should be prepared to spend most of the time onsite – not exactly a chore.
There may be fewer white knuckles if you choose to arrive by ferry. A service runs from Marigot on the French side of St Martin or departs from Simpson Bay and Philipsburg on the Dutch side of Sint-Maarten. Journeys are usually around an hour, and the hotel will pick you up from the harbour for free.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel offers a microcosm of St Barths’ immense natural beauty – with forested hillsides, clouds of frangipani and bougainvillea, fine-white-sand beach and a luminous aquamarine bay. So it’s a fitting appetiser before fully feasting your eyes on the island. Spend some time lazing on the beach, ask the staff to take you on a tour of thetropical gardens (keep a look-out for adorable flower-munching red-footed tortoises and other creatures), ride a surfboard along the coast (lessons are available for all abilities) or take a gentler ride on a paddleboard. Each guest also gets one free Pilates or yoga session on the spa’s deck with views. Manapany’s a sociable sort too – two games rooms, one for kids, one for adults, have video games, foosball tables, ping pong, pool, chess and a reading room for gentle gatherings. On Sundays there’s music, a fashion show and freshly grilled lobster or porchetta from a spit at the weekly beach barbecue (book 24 hours in advance); themed dinners are frequently held; and each Monday from 7pm, the hotel’s ‘gypset evening’ has punch, fireside talks and displays, and a parade of gypsy girls. Or private barbecues can be arranged if you’d prefer. Let the spa’s all-natural Dr Hauschka-devised treatments top up your oxytocin, or go the full hog with the ‘Mind, Soul and Manapany’ experience, where you’ll hike along picturesque trails to island beauty spots take an aqua and stretch yoga session followed by relaxation exercises; massages can be added on request. Ask the chef to pack you a picnic if you want to take it at your own pace; for €50 (excluding drinks) you’ll get fresh bread and sandwiches, tapenade, hummus, wraps and more. In the hotel’s fleet is the Yes Darlin yacht, which will take you on a loved-up sunset cruise, and a Lagoon 450 Fly catamaran for island-hopping. Or explore by sea on a jet-ski safari or Sea Bob excursion; there are wreck dives and coral-garden explorations through St Barths nature reserve too. There’s no shortage of postcard-perfect beaches on the island, but Petit Cul de Sac stands out for its sheltered colourful waters. Have staff hire you an environmentally friendly e-car and you’re spoilt for choice with places to cruise through: Flamand in the west, Saint Jean to the east and Corossol to the south each have ‘look at me’ scenery. And, capital Gustavia is worth a visit for the sunset views from on-high Fort Karl and a spin around the small yet enlightening Municipal Museum.
In all likelihood, you won’t want to go zipping around the island come evening, especially when the hotel serves delicious Caribbean dishes and is the ideal platform for spectacular sunset views. But, day-trippers don’t have to go far to be well-fed, especially at the island’s upscale resorts and hotels. An eight-minute drive west brings you to Smith stablemate Hotel Villa Marie, whose stylish yellow-and-cream eatery François Plantation Provençal dishes up fare with flair; after, hit the Pineapple Bar for rum and cigars. And Hotel Christopher has Gallic feel with a tropical edge, serving pissaladières and Caesar salads with Bresse chicken alongside yellowfin tuna with wasabi mascarpone and mahi-mahi with tigermilk, coconut and coriander.
Nikki Beach, an outpost of the cool, clubby beach bar chain, is less than a 10-minute drive away in Saint Jean. Flop down on a day-bed or get cosy in a teepee and order up spritzes and pitchers of white sangria with dragon sushi rolls. In Gustavia, Bar de l’Oubli isn’t quite as fancy, with a look that hasn’t radically changed since it opened in 1981, but if you want to hang out with the locals, this is the place to do so.
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 solicitously sophisticated stay in St Barths and unpacked their custom gown from the onsite couturier and a snug bamboo beach towel, a full account of their upmarket yet authentic island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hotel Manapany in the Caribbean…
Nature is largely allowed to do what she wants at Hotel Manapany, a hotel where Saint Barths’ innate glamour is given some soul, with above-and-beyond eco efforts and a warm heart. So, she’s made her presence felt through walls of glossy palms, banana plants and birds of paradise sprays; hot-pink bougainvillea and burgeoning pineapple blossoms; and an array of fruit and avocado trees that keep the restaurant in fresh-as-can-be produce. And she’s helped along by the introduction of solar power, the banning of all but electric vehicles and more sustainable measures that keep this peaceful beachy enclave of the island green and aquamarine by turns. Alongside the sea turtles, red-footed tortoises, lazy iguanas and neon-bright birds you’ll spy here, social butterflies thrive too. Barbecues with fashion shows and music, themed dinners, fire-lit storytelling nights and more let guests see St Barths’ boujee side with some cultural clout. (Don’t have anything to wear? The resident couturier will see to it that you shall go to the ball.) After all, authenticity is something the hotel strives for; you’ll see it in the richly flavoured cuisine that marries the fruits of land and sea (say mahi-mahi tartare with Buddha’s-hand pickles, crab and turmeric ravioli with aged rum and peppered mango for dessert), the simple yet cosseting and colourful wooden residences throughout, and the easy-breezy lifestyle. It’s plain sailing (quite literally should you charter one of the hotel’s boats) from the moment you check-in, whether you’re taking a decadent Dr Hauschka spa treatment, cashing in your free yoga or Pilates class or learning how to surf with a local pro. So give in to nature’s leafy embrace and she’ll treat you right, because a stay here is a two-way street.