Between rocks and a sandy place, luxuryVilla MarieSaint Barths has a prime position on the Colombier coastline. This hillside retreat is a short drive away from the island’s most glamorous bars and restaurants, crystal-clear seas andwhite-sand beaches – one of which is home to the hotel's barefoot Gyp Sea beach club. Back at the hotel, spend your days relaxing in the tropical gardens, getting coconut scrubs in the spa, sipping rum and dining on French fare. Saint Barths’ classic colonial style gets an injection of Côte d’Azur colour; this exotic boutique stay is more colourful than the resident parrots: pack your sunglasses for this one, it’s not only the sun that shines brightly here…
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A bottle of Domaine de Marie wine from the hotel's vineyard in Provence and a Maisons and Hotels Sibuet beauty gift
Noon. Earliest check-in, 4pm, although flexible subject to availability.
Double rooms from £471.03 (€550). Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of 5% per room per night on check-out.
Rates include transfers to the airport or dock, à la carte breakfast (fresh fruits, yoghurts, pastries, eggs any style, pancakes, French toast, cereals, cold meats and smoked salmon). Guests can use sunloungers for free at Gyp Sea beach club, too.
The interiors of the hotel were designed by design doyenne Jocelyne Sibuet and her daughter, Marie; the furnishings and fabrics come from destinations near and far, with chests of drawers from Jaipur, tables from Indonesia and fabrics from Peru, Pakistan and Tunisia.
The hotel is closed from August to mid-November each year.
At the hotel
Spa, fitness room, and free WiFi. In rooms: TV, Nespresso machine, Pure Altitude toiletries and free bottled water.
Our favourite rooms
All Villa Marie’s rooms have beautiful views of either the gardens or ocean, but none compare to the paradisiacal panoramas of the Master Villas. The two double bedrooms, indoor lounge area and ensuite bathrooms have the same bohemian take on colonial style as the rest of the hotel; brightly-patterned cushions lie on white wicker chairs, handmade Indonesian seashell mirrors hang opposite a classically elegant roll-top bath tub and artisanal furnishings stand next to upscale upholstery. Outside, there’s a private 10-meter swimming pool, deck with a dining area and ample sunloungers with sun-kissed views.
Cacti, mango trees and blooming bougainvillea surround the outdoor pool area that’s more vivid than a Pantone colour guide. Take a refreshing dip in the turquoise pool, then let the sun shine down on you as you recline below a lemon-yellow parasol, gazing up at clear-blue skies and lush green foliage; set beneath towering palm and banana trees, there’s always a shaded spot for some sunbathing.
The Pure Altitude Spa has two treatment rooms, a fitness room and a variety of personalised rituals. Add the finishing touches to your beach-body with the toxin-draining Perfect Body package or Slimming massage. If you’ve spent too long in the Saint Barths sun, try their signature Pure Coconut Ritual which includes a vigorous, all-natural scrub, soothing wrap and massage to repair sunburnt skin.
Skimpy bikinis by big-name designers with colourful kaftans for Mrs Smith and a couple of Vilebrequin’s vibrantly-patterned trunks for Mr Smith.
All public areas are wheelchair-accessible and some of the Plantation and Tropics bungalows are designed for those with mobility issues.
Children of all ages are welcome at the hotel, although it’s more suited to older children. Baby cots, changing mats, baby monitors and highchairs are available on request, and chef Emmanuelle Motte is happy to adapt his French fare for children.
Take a table on the edge of the terrace for views of the tropical gardens and Flamands Bay below.
More tutti frutti than Carmen Miranda’s hat in The Gang's All Here.
Close your eyes and you may think you’re in Provence or St Tropez when dining on chef Emmanuel Motte’s exquisite French fare at François Plantation. Open them, and you’ll have no doubt you’re in the Caribbean; set within a white-walled, colonial style wooden structure that’s overlooks Flamand Bay, the restaurant is filled with traditional dark wooden tables and chairs, laden with canary-yellow charger plates and pillows with vibrant zig-zag patterns and playful pineapple prints. Enjoy French classics like home-made foie gras with brioche, sea scallops served with black-truffle butter or bouillabaisse soup, and for pudding, try something more local like the rum-soaked flambéed bananas with a hint of citrus or crunchy, pure Caribbean chocolate with passionfruit sorbet.
Sample some of the Caribbean’s signature exports at the hotel’s rums and cigars bar. Take a seat at the dark-wood bar or sink into one of the wicker armchairs or sumptuous sofas on the terrace, Cuban cigar in hand and a glass of one of their 120 golden-hued rums on the table. They also serve classic cocktails like mojitos and piña coladas, and a variety of powerful punches – all laced with a hefty slug of you know what.
Breakfast is served from 7.30am to 10.30am, lunch is served around the grounds from noon to 2.30pm, and dinner is served at François Plantation from 7.30am to 9.30pm. The bar is open from 11.30am to 9.30pm.
Hotel Villa Marie Saint Barths is perched on the side of a hill overlooking Flamand Bay in Colombier. It’s less than a 15-minute drive from the luxury-label-lined shopping streets of Gustavia and white sand beaches across the Caribbean island.
Fly to Princess Juliana International Airport on Saint Maarten and get a quick 15-minute flight to Saint Barths’ Gustaf III airport (www.st-barths.com). From the UK, get a flight to Antigua’s V. C. Bird International Airport and then catch a 40-minute flight to Saint Barths. Our helpful Smith24 team are on hand at all times to help book flights – give them a call on 03331 222 485
Although it’s only a small island, you’ll need a car to get around Saint Barths. You can drive the length of the island in under half an hour; the hotel is less than a 10-minute drive from Gustaf III airport and 15 minutes from the capital of Gustavia. Smith24 can help you secure a set of wheels from one of the many car-hire booths at the airport or dock.
Daily ferry services run from Bobby’s Marina in Saint Maarten to Saint Barths’ Porte de Gustavia. The journey takes roughly 45 minutes and operates several times a day between 7.15am and 5.45pm.
Worth getting out of bed for
Saint Barths has a beach for every occasion, but your first port of call must be Pelican Beach, home to the hotel's own boho beach club, Gyp Sea. Elsewhere, catch a wave at Lorient or Toiny beaches, swim with the fishes, go snorkelling or scuba diving in Colombier Bay, or for seashells on the seashore, go to Shell Beach just outside Gustavia. For less-crowded coves, head to Gouverneur or Colombier beach. They’re a hike to get to, but the uphill struggle is worth it for the breathtaking views and secluded sunbathing; the only other creatures you’ll see at Colombier are tortoises, rays and the occasional dolphin. Shopping in Saint Barths is duty-free, and lined with luxury labels like Hermès, Cartier, Chopard and Louis Vuitton, Gustavia’s Quai de la République rivals London’s Bond Street and Madison Avenue in New York for cash-splashing potential. There’s even a Dolce & Gabbana store with a Martini bar inside – because shopping is thirsty work…
A table at La Casa de L’Isle (+590 (0)590 27 61 81) is one of the most sought-after spots on the island. Pair chef Yann Vinsot’s locally-inspired, gourmet French cuisine with one of the restaurant’s 150 French wines amid unadulterated Saint Barths luxury, while watching the sun set over the Caribbean Sea. Dine under the stars and a centuries-old tamarind tree in Tamarin (+590 (0)590 29 27 74) on Route de Saline. The menu here is inspired by French cuisine but not tied to it; favourites include tempura shrimp and tuna tartare. The laid-back luxury, live DJ sets and South American/French fusion fare of Bonito (+590 (0)590 279 696) attract many famous faces to this hilltop restaurant on Rue Lubin Brin in Gustavia; take a table on the curved veranda for panoramic views of the bay.
Le Select in Gustavia (+590 (0)590 27 86 87) is one of the island’s most renowned eateries, not for its glamorous clientele, luxury location or swanky interiors, but for making the best burgers on the island. Pull up a plastic chair and tuck into one of their old-school, meat-feast sandwiches that are so good, they’re said to have inspired Jimmy Buffet’s song, Cheeseburger in Paradise. Pop into La Petite Colombe (+590 (0)590 29 74 30) boulangerie on the D209 to create a picnic of fresh breads, tasty salads and sandwiches and a selection of their sweet and savoury pâtisseries. Feel the sand between your toes while dining on Maya’s (+590 (0)590 27 73 73) fresh fare. Their menu changes daily to make the most of the fresh ingredients on offer; catch of the day includes locally-caught mahi mahi, wahoo, red snapper and yellowfin tuna served with fresh fruit and veg from nearby Guadeloupe – less than an hour from pasture to plate, you’re the only one racking up air miles in this restaurant.
Eden Rock (+590 (0)590 29 79 99) in Saint Jean Bay has two very chic beachside bars, both favourites with Saint Barths’ high-end holidayers. Perched on the side of a small cliff, overlooking the ocean and beach below, Rock Bar’s innovative mixologists combine rare and vintage spirits to create daring drinks like their La Corne On the Rocks; a rum-based cocktail served in a horn. Live DJs keep the bar buzzing into the night. Below is the waterfront Sand Bar. A restaurant by day and lounge by night; enjoy a glass of wine and a selection of Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten scrumptious sharing dishes while watching the sunset with your feet in the golden sands.
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 tropical retreat in Saint Barths and unpacked their designer beachwear and hung up their wide-brim hats, a full account of their Caribbean getaway will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Villa Marie in Colombier…
Imagine a luxury hotel in the Côte d’Azur packed its bags and moved to the Caribbean and you’ll start to get a feel of colonial-style stay Villa Marie in Saint Barths. The bold and beautiful hotel shines brightly amid the island's typical whitewashed stays; this hilltop hideout has been transformed and reinvigorated with bold and bright prints, tropical-hued upholstery and decorations, and unique artisan furnishings collected by the family of owners on their travels. The leafy estate is scattered with multicoloured bungalows and villas. Equally vibrant are the canary-yellow François Plantation restaurant and palm tree-patterned Pure Altitude spa. The hotel has all you could ask for in the West Indies; swim in the outdoor pool surrounded by exotic gardens, fall madly in love with beautiful bay views from a bar sloshed with rum and peddling rich cigars, and have tête-à-têtes with the hotel’s pair of chatty pet parrots – all the Smith essentials…
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