Owned by David and Jane Matthews since 1995, Eden Rock St Barths is uniquely recognised as a celebrity hot-spot, a place to be seen, an iconic property which identifies itself with the St Barths (St Barthelemy), one of France’s overseas territories. Despite many other luxury resort properties opening on the island, Eden Rock St Barths has succeeded in maintaining a lead position, with a unique blend of sleek, luxurious, vibrant but also an ideal spot to unwind.
Equally, the resort masters both the desire to be seen while it can also be extremely private, based on a unique customer service which has proven to be one of the key recipes for the uninterrupted success of the resort. In a most effortless manner, most of the staff who have been with the resort for many years, would sensibly scale their service approach. With the U.S. as the largest consumer segment, the resort often feels as an exclusive private club where guests would not only interact but also network, even discussing business opportunities.
It is not surprising that over 60-70% of guest are returning season after season, some fighting to secure a booking months in advance, especially for the high season. The owners could not have chosen a better operator than Oetker Collection which owns and manages probably the world’s most luxurious summer resort, Hotel du Cap Eden Roc on the French Riviera in Cap d’Antibes, both resorts sharing many features which constantly feed the desirability and exclusivity which are at the heart of the DNA of each property.
Howard Hughes, Greta Garbo, Robert Mitchum Gore Vidal Baron Rothschild, David & Peggy Rockfeller, Princess Lee Radziwill, Rihanna, Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez are just some the frequent guests and friends of the resort. Guests from LVMH’s Cheval Blanc, the only competitor of the same luxury calibre, would often be seen at Eden Rock, many opting for this alternative when Eden Rock would have no availability.
Following the 2017 hurricane, St Barths suffered from major damages and Eden Rock was not spared. Instead, the Matthews saw this as an opportunity to raise further the bar of the resort, not only rebuilding the former accommodations and instilling a luxurious plush contemporary glam boasting probably the most spectacular bathrooms I have ever experience at any luxury resort. In some higher categories of accommodations the oversized beige limestone bathrooms resemble a private spa – not to mention separate vanities for him and her.
I was privileged to enjoy a two level (duplex type) Heavenly Beach House with a cozy living room, outdoor terraces on the entrance level and on the bedroom level – this one boasting the most spectacular panoramic ocean and resort views, ideal for sunbathing but also for an intimate in-room dining experience. For the ultimate indulgence, the bathroom featured a generous outdoor jacuzzi and shower, with an beautiful array of lighting options for the evenings.
The new interior design impresses with the quality of materials of the furnishings, with an extreme attention to details not only in the finishes such as the finest beds and linen and upgraded technology such as silent individually controlled AC and SmartTvs all Apple Tv enabled. The renovation seemed even more impressive given that all materials were imported and the nearest international airport is in Saint Martin (Sint Maarten), the inter-island transfers being made with small propeller aircraft. Obviously, the most discerning guests would be able to fly privately to the St Barths Airport.
A few new suites and rooms have been added but most importantly, there is a stunning brand new Spa which was built into the ‘rock’ that makes up the iconic part of the resort and a most stylish Rémy Bar, an part open space which glams at any time of the day, whether it is a refreshing light meal or a cocktail, or a sophisticated setting before and after dinner. With no exception, each and every guest would make an effort to sport the most fashionable attires and styling, especially for dinner.
The main restaurant of the hotel is masterminded by world-famous Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten who has been running Michelin starred dining concepts worldwide. For Eden Rock, he has conceived a casual menu with fine food essentials. Like the Beach Bar or even the beach itself (which is reserved by priority for hotel guests – some choosing the very same sun-beds for years), retains the same exclusivity.
Even if my suite had a large terrace, I would often find myself enjoying one of the venues, drawn by the curiosity to understand my ‘privileges’ as a ‘member’ of the Eden Rock St Barths. Most of the more senior staff especially at the Beach Bar and the beach would address me by name and would extend a most genuine warm feel, sharing tips on the resort and the island. The same courteous and predictive approach was extended by the Front Office and Guest Relations.
By contrast, there is room for improvement especially at breakfast where staff were primarily concerned with my room number and would not even make an effort to remember my name. It must have been the fact that I am an early riser that staff were a bit challenged but also the fact that I was not a regular returning guest. I mentioned a few times that I was an ice cream fan and I was obviously disappointed by the very limited selection of flavours.Usually at resorts and hotels of this calibre, management would even send staff to buy the missing flavours from a gellateria or even a grocery / supermarket. After 3 nights, no such effort was made and the team will most probably make an effort on my next stay.
I had an amazing time at the Spa and fell in love with locally produced natural beauty and skincare line of ‘Ligne St Barths’ which was also available as bathroom amenities. I had both a signature massage and a facial with ‘Ligne St Barth’ and the effect was heavenly.
Make you sure you browse through the comprehensive line which is available at the boutique of the resort (Eden Being) which resembled one of the most sophisticated concept stores in Paris or London. Whether sunglasses, swimwear, accessories or even apparel, the selection was impressive, mostly made up of niche brands. For the season, the resort nailed a most exclusive capsule collection with cult brand Off-White but also a limited edition Eden Rock Hublot luxury watch.
Even if St Barths is a relatively small island, you will be impressed with the selection of major international luxury fashion brands which operate boutiques on the island (Dior, Cartier, Bvlgari, Hermes etc) but also the variety of dining alternatives from Asian to Mediterranean and obviously Caribbean flavours. You will most enjoy a ride by yourself – the hotel being perfectly equipped for rentals.
A big thank you to Anne Benichou and Fabrice Moizan for making my stay a most memorable one.
For those who travel in larger groups (friend and/or family) but also those seeking an ultimate luxury experience, Eden Rock has the best offering of the finest luxury villas for rental in the best spots on the island. Guests would enjoy dedicated concierge service with breakfast, twice daily housekeeping, personal Butler and a dedicated Chef. One of my favourite among the villas I visited was Vue de Reve, with mind-blowing ocean views.
Oliver Petcu in St Barths
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