St. Barts’ casually swank boutique resort
30 Rooms / 37 Suites
Even by St. Barts’ notoriously extravagant standards, Le Guanahani resort’s recent four-year, $40 million renovation is the epitome of Caribbean luxury. Located on a private 18-acre peninsula, the upscale property is awash with posh touches (private guest room pools, a Frédéric Fekkai salon) and is considered the only full-service resort on an island filled with boutique hotels. It’s also within a 10-minute drive of the island’s remarkable shopping, dining and nightlife, but removed enough to feel intimate and exclusive. And with two restaurants, a beach bar, spa, and an impressive list of activities, guests may find themselves content to stay on hotel grounds.
The vibe at Le Guanahani echoes that of St. Barts — a casual elegance with a friendly French West Indies joie de vivre. The hillside oceanfront resort is dotted with 67 vibrantly hued guest cottages nestled among a tropical landscape of hibiscus and coconut trees. The interior redesign resulted in a decidedly residential feel with a modern colonial look. Each airy guest room features pieces from the Le Guanahani custom furniture collection, inspired by luggage chests used by explorers on their journeys through the colonies. Rooms have pops of bright colors or serene pastels set against dark hardwood floors, white walls, wicker and cotton fabrics. The 37 suites all have lofted ceilings, private pools and gardens, while every cottage has its own terrace and bathrooms stocked with Clarins products, a high-end French skincare brand.
The fitness-minded set will appreciate the myriad options for breaking a sweat: Guide yourself around the calm reef-protected lagoon on a (complimentary) stand up paddleboard or kayak, or take a swim on either side of the peninsula. Keep up a gym routine in the beachside fitness center, filled with cardio and strength machines, free weights, and loads of natural light thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean. The terrain on the property reflects that of the island — hilly. Simply walk Le Guanahani’s hiking paths through the lush landscape for a beautiful way to get the heart pounding. Daredevils can kite surf, scuba dive, and take a submarine tour or ATV trek.
A startlingly attractive staff delivers handcrafted cocktails (try the Domingo Punch made with rum, banana liquor, passion fruit, guava juice, and lime) to your hammock, or you can sidle of to the palapa beach bar. An impressive indoor/outdoor spa has a long list of treatments plus not-to-miss amenities like outdoor showers, an adults-only pool and a tea pavilion.
Executive chef Nicola Di Marchi's Italian influence can be seen and tasted at the resort’s two buzzy restaurants, Indigo and Bartolomeo. Plates at both are inspired by delights of the island, including mahi mahi and wahou, and have classic French twists and flavorings. Indigo is the more casual of the two, located poolside with views of the beach. Oh-so-chic Bartolomeo comes to life during dinner, with indoor and candlelit alfresco dining options. For a truly St. Barts experience, the concierge can book a deep-sea fishing excursion where you’ll spend the morning at sea with a seventh-generation local fisherman and return to the resort with fresh catches, which can then be prepared either as part of a three-course lunch or five-course dinner.