Do you love the latest and greatest? Passionate about finding the next gem and experiencing it before the masses? When you are comfortable traveling again, head to St. Barth's and you will not be disappointed.
Is there a traveler out there who does not love St. Barth's? With average year round temperatures hovering around 85 degrees, the sea is always warm and you can perfect that suntan. From the East Coast of the USA, it is about a four hour journey to spend those euros and experience a slice of Europe on a Caribbean island...with no jetlag!
Hotel Barriere's Le Carl Gustaf opened in October and is St. Barth's newest boutique hotel, and the French hotel collection's first Caribbean property. Earlier in 2020 Le Carl Gustaf enjoyed a brief opening before the world displayed it's global "We're Closed" sign. Having the extra months allowed Le Carl Gustaf to add even more polish and sophistication to this hillside gem.
In 1991 a French entrepreneur purchased this property and built a boutique hotel, and a few years ago the Barriere collection began to transform this legendary hotel into a five star property. Led by the design team Gilles & Boissier, known for projects like Hakkasan restaurants, Baccarat Hotel in Manhattan, and Montcler stores around the world, no expense was spared.
Since the St. Barth's runway is sandwiched between the sea and the hill, the runway is short and only accommodates small planes. The runway does not have lights so aircraft strictly land and take off during daylight hours. The rumors are valid and if you do not like small planes, you will need a valium to overcome the landing in St. Barth's.
Most travelers fly to San Juan or St. Maarten and connect to a smaller puddle jumper flight. From San Juan, Tradewinds Aviation offers scheduled and private charter flights with flight time about 50 minutes between the two islands. From St. Maarten, Winair offers scheduled flights and the travel time is about 15 minutes from take off until landing.
Yes, you can take a boat from St. Maarten to St. Barth's and it too may require some medicine. At times the seas can be choppy and you may want to pack your Dramamine.
Tip: Most clients enjoy the Tradewinds Aviation option. Tradewinds Aviation offers VIP transfers in San Juan. From aircraft door to aircraft door you will be seamlessly escorted through passport review, luggage collection, Covid testing review, and have time to relax in their airport lounge. Stress free.
Upon arrival to the port or airport, Le Carl Gustaf arranges transfers to the hotel. Handed a cold towel, a bottle of water, and some snacks, you can enjoy the air conditioned vehicle for your 15 minute drive to the property.
Differentiating from Other Fabulous St. Barth's Hotels
The jetset island of St. Barth's has no shortage of luxury hotels and villas to cater to their discerning and loyal clientele. St. Barth's is about 2 1/2 miles wide and 11 miles long, yet boasts close to a dozen 5-star hotels.
Le Carl Gustaf offers a unique hillside location and walking distance proximity to Gustavia, the island's Capital. Le Carl Gustaf is the island's 5-star hotel option that offers a feeling of tranquility while being in the heart of the island's authentic activities.
The property consists of 23 bungalow style accommodations that are built into the hill. Every room has a stunning view of Gustavia Harbor, with no shortage of mega-yacht viewing and the charming sight of St. Barth's colorful red rooftops in the distance.
From the Parisian Buly 1803 bath amenities to the Biologique Recherche spa products to the feather weight cashmere bed throws, Le Carl Gustaf offers luxury blended with informal sophistication. Rooms are spacious, starting at 450 square feet, and updated with the latest technology like strong wifi, automated blackout drapes, heated Toto toilets, and USB dual voltage outlets so you do not need to carry electric converters.
Keep in mind that St. Barth's is a small island with limited taxis. If you enjoy shopping, dining at independent restaurants, and hitting the clubs at night, Le Carl Gustaf is a walk down the hill to town (and you will get your workout walking back UP the hill!). Taxis can be known to cost $150+ each way to town, so proximity to town is a nice perk.
Tip: If you are spending the December holidays in St. Barth's, Le Carl Gustaf's location is perfect for viewing the New Year's Eve fireworks over the harbor. Equivalent to the Park Hyatt Sydney's location for New Year's, Le Carl Gustaf has an enviable location.
What About the Beach
Le Carl Gustaf's unique attributes are the views from every room directly to the harbor, and the proximity to town. And YES, guests have access to remarkable Shellona Beach.
A quick 5-minute walk down the hill (the other side of "the hill") and you reach Shellona Beach. Facing the turquoise Caribbean Sea, Shellona Beach is a beautiful cove beach with white shell sand and gentle rolling waves. Le Carl Gustaf guests are provided with beach chaises and towels to enjoy a day in the sun. At Shellona Restaurant, Le Carl Gustaf guests can sign meals and beverages to their room. Shellona's Greek chef specializes in authentic Mediterranean cuisine crafted around fresh fish, vegetables and herbs. The wine list is extensive and cocktails are fantastic.
While in St. Barth's many travelers enjoy exploring the island's different beaches. Le Carl Gustaf's Clefs d'Or Concierge, Benjamin, can arrange a rental Mini Cooper to be delivered to the hotel. Packed with a picnic lunch from the dining room and beach chairs and towels in your car, Benjamin can suggest the best of St. Barth's roughly 15 beaches to visit. With effectively one road looping the island, you cannot really get lost and eventually you will work your way back to the hotel.
Wine and Dine
Barriere Hotels takes their cuisine and dining experience seriously! Since 1899, Fouquet's restaurant in Paris has been legendary and has been a culinary anchor at Hotel Le Fouquet's.
That spirit of French classic flavors has made its way to Brasserie Le Fouquet's at Le Carl Gustaf. Be sure to reserve a table on the terrace, where you can watch the sunset while sipping a flute of Perrier-Jouet. Dinner is properly ceremonial, with rich and pampering ingredients like black truffle, Oscietre caviar, and duck foie gras. Entree presentations are works of art and Executive Chef Gil Dumoulin's team serves Michelin-quality dining, which is why both locals and guests cherish a table at Brasserie Le Fouquet's.
Other Things to Do
It is easy to spend a week in St. Barth's and find activities each day. Do not skip breakfast however, because Chef's pastries are baked fresh daily and you will dream about the croissants when you return home.
Le Carl Gustaf can arrange yoga sessions for you in their gym. We loved our daily time with Nanda of Body + Soul St. Barth. Nanda is a St. Barth native and her passion and enthusiasm for the island and for her profession will make you smile. In addition to yoga and wellness, Body + Soul can also feed your adventurous side with guided hikes throughout St. Barth's. Head to the aquamarine natural pools, or let them guide you on a Cardio Hike if you want to simultaneously see St. Barth's and check the box on your daily work out.
In Gustavia you can find plenty of your favorite jetset shopping at Cartier and Louis Vuitton. If you are looking for local boutiques, head to shops like Poupette, Clic, and Lolita Jaca for a special St. Barth's purchase.
Tip: In mid/end of October, most shops have their yearly sales to clear inventory and make room for the next fashion collections. Designer discounts can be substantial and typically range from 30-70% off.
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