Saint Barthélemy or short Saint Barts lies in the French West Indies and is one of the most sought after travel destinations in the world. A tropical playground for the rich and famous. This being my first visit to Saint Barths, I had no idea what to expect. Arriving by sea from Saint Martin, I quickly realised that this island is like no other. As the ferry slowly sailed into the port, we were surrounded by dozens of mega yachts. Arriving at the port, we were met with the picturesque little town Gustavia. It’s like a Caribbean fairytale. Everything is picture perfect. Everything is in pristine condition. Caribbean styled buildings are home to Gucci, Valentino, Prada and the likes. It reminded me of Via Monte Napoleone in Milan, but surrounded by palm trees. Having lived and travelled throughout the Caribbean extensively, it almost seemed somewhat surreal to me.
Le Sereno Saint Barths on the other hand is all about simplicity and understated luxury. There is nothing pretentious about this chic little property, despite its location. The intimate boutique hotel is tucked away in the Eastern part of the island and it’s the type of place I would define as barefoot luxury.
The architecture and design of the reception set the tone for Le Sereno Saint Barths. Housed in a white cottage with red painted wooden doors, the focus is on the splendid views overlooking the pool and the turquoise waters beyond. The overall décor is very simplistic, yet sophisticated using mostly natural materials such as different types of woods and stones. 39 cottages and 3 spacious villas, each with their own pool, make up this tropical hideaway.
The cottages feature a front garden and patio, white panelled walls, a high wood beamed ceiling and a beach cottage style bathroom. The all-neutral interiors, except for one red patterned cushion that is, create a soothing ambiance and draw your attention to the outside.
The pool area is the heart piece of Le Sereno Saint Barths. The pool itself was fitted out with Sukabumi, an aqua coloured stone from Indonesia, to match the various shades of the ocean. Around the pool there are more than a dozen fully-grown palm trees that were brought in from Miami after hurricane Irma. With a desire to create a somewhat different and more natural look, they selected the most crooked palm trees they could find. Elegant loungers surround the pool and line the man-made beach above the bay. Attentive staff will cater to your every need, whether it is towels, drinks or sporting equipment. Your only job is to relax and enjoy.
The Palapa styled buildings house the Restaurant Le Sereno, an inviting lounge and a cocktail bar. The tall wood beamed ceilings and the ocean breeze passing through create an authentic Caribbean experience, whilst serving international cuisine with a French flair, exquisite wines and innovative cocktails. For a more laid-back experience you can enjoy a drink or a meal at the Beach Restaurant with your feet in the sand – barefoot luxury in the true sense of the word. The Tropicalia chairs by Moroso add some fun and colour to this relaxed outdoor space. The designer of the chairs is renowned product designer Patricia Urquiola, who was the creative head for Le Sereno’s sister property in the Lake Como area in Italy (another hotel on my ‚must visit‘ list).
Those who need a bit more action, relaxation or both, will appreciate the fitness room and the small spa featuring several treatment rooms. The spa area is fitted out with Cepo di gre stone from the Lombardy region, another subtle reference to Le Sereno’s sister property in Italy.
The unique flair of Le Sereno Saint Barths makes it a wonderful place to hide away from the world, yet at the same time a great base to explore the island of Saint Barths.
Did I like Saint Barths? My European side, the interior designer and aesthetic in me fell in love with Saint Barths, but my Caribbean side soon realised that there isn’t anything Caribbean about this picturesque, hilly island other than its beaches… Having said this, I consider myself fortunate to have experienced Saint Barths and the beautiful Le Sereno and would definitely visit this small island paradise again to explore some of its hidden treasures and to escape the world for a few days…
Courtesy of Le Sereno Saint Barths and Simone Aïda Baur of Global Inspirations Design
Note: This blog post was created in collaboration with Le Sereno Hotel Saint Barths (press trip).
Posted by Simone Aïda Baur: I’m a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-passionate award winning international interior designer, award winning blogger and ex-hotelier. Feel free to learn more about my story and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.
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