Saint-Barth is reborn. One year after Hurricane Irma struck the shores of this small Antilles paradise, the incredible mobilization of its residents has restored the island's beauty and vitality.
The twenty or so wild beaches that adorn this volcanic speck of 25 square kilometers have made peace with the ocean. Its luxurious villas have regained their zest for life. And, perched on the heights of Colombier, Villa Marie is smiling again. The Sibuet family, who for 30 years have been designing charming, healthy, cool hotels—luxurious cocoons where you feel at home (Les Fermes de Marie in Megève, Cour des Loges in Lyon, Villa Marie in Saint-Tropez...)—were certainly not going to be defeated by the ill winds of Irma. The garden has regained its exuberance. The restaurant reopened in December. The hotel and its bungalows followed in March. And, after a well-deserved seasonal break, this tropical haven, both very chic and delightfully bohemian, is definitively ready to welcome our winter migrations.
IN COMPLETE INTIMACY
Overlooking the translucent blue of Flamands Bay, far removed from polished luxury hotels, this boutique hotel, like all Sibuet-branded places, evokes a family home. Sun-bleached wood and bright colors, rattan, bamboo, unique objects, shell chandeliers, fish traps transformed into lamps, pineapple side tables... Jocelyne Sibuet is the alchemist of this vintage and nomadic design, offering the luxury of aesthetics collected from her travels and the freedom of uniqueness. For this reopening, two new villas have been added to the 18 distinct and independent bungalows and suites. La Flamand, whose terrace extends into a private pool, and La Saline, which has its own jacuzzi. But whatever room is chosen, with or without a suite, all are nestled between banana trees and hibiscus, respecting the privacy of their guests. Here, everyone is at home.
TABLE WITH A VIEW
Once upon a time, where Villa Marie now stands, was a restaurant: François Plantation. A true gastronomic institution on the island, this "piano in the forest" has kept its name and reputation. The current chef, Emmanuel Motte, delivers high-flying Franco-Creole culinary compositions. Crab meat gratin with spinach sauce, puffed grouper quenelle, grilled lobster and vegetables, freshly caught fish of the day, garden bananas or flambéed pineapple, coconut blancmange... all of Saint-Barth delights in it. And before or after dining, people stop by for a royal mojito or an iconic ti-punch at the bar. Chic colonial spirit, in the style of plantation houses, mahogany blades turn above an ebony counter where the rum route is taken.
Also to discover, by the pool or in the garden, are the breakfasts and lunches from the new healthy menu. Fruit salad, homemade granola, açaí bowl, avocado toast, mustard sprouts, and pink radish... it offers the tropics in a deliciously dietary mode. But it's still hard to resist the irresistible rum-soaked French toast!
Christmas under the sun
Relax in the outdoor bathtub hidden in nature. Play Robinson Crusoe during a picnic on Colombier Beach. Celebrate Christmas and the New Year in summer festive attire: swimsuit, straw hat, and espadrilles. Drive, hair in the wind, behind the wheel of a Mini Moke (the Mini in an all-terrain pick-up version). Be fascinated by the sunset from your swing, lulled by the sound of the waves. Be pampered with an all-coconut treatment at the Pure Altitude Spa. This is also Villa Marie. The life of luxury reinvented under the tropical sun.
THREE GREAT ADDRESSES FROM JOCELYNE SIBUET
- Colombier Beach: "Accessible only by a trail after a twenty-minute walk, or by boat, it offers one of the most beautiful panoramas on the island."
- Bonito Restaurant: "The breathtaking view of Gustavia Bay and its boats alone is worth the trip. And you can feast on Franco-Peruvian dishes."
- St Barth skincare line: "Super cosmetics made from 100% local and natural ingredients—tiaré flowers, frangipani, avocado, annatto, papaya, banana, coconut, pineapple, or even aloe...—according to traditional know-how."