Most of the Caribbean islands are opening up for travel for the forthcoming holiday season. Each island has its own unique COVID-19 protocol and requirements for travelers wishing to visit. Royal Travel & Tours recently sent four of our trusted advisors to St. Barthelemy in the French West Indies to report back on the recently re-opened Eden Rock – St. Barths and the island experience overall.
For those looking to vacation in the Caribbean, St. Barths is certainly a beautiful place to do it. White sand beaches, high-end boutiques, and fine French cuisine all come together on this luxurious island where the most discerning travelers typically opt to stay at Eden Rock. French government requires a PCR COVID negative test taken within 72 hours to enter the island. For those wishing to spend an extended stay, they will be tested again every 7 days. This screening process has helped the island keep its infection numbers low at a time when other countries around the globe see their cases spiking.
Our experience in St. Barths started at Villa Palm Beach—a 5-bedroom modern home that is managed by Eden Rock and located steps away from the Sea. We were greeted by Aleks our butler who quickly took our luggage then offered us a welcome cocktail. Based on the properties we saw—the villas are each very unique in architecture and decor as well as location with some being directly on the water and others mountainside with incredible views. The Eden Rock villa collection includes homes with 3 – 6 bedrooms and most come with their own butler and private chef; all have daily housekeeping. For those who book an Eden Rock villa they will also have access to the resort’s spa, fitness center and hotel beach. Villas allow guests the best of both worlds – the privacy of their own home with access to the resort’s many amenities. Villas also come private concierge services who can arrange everything from helicopter tours to a guided hike with picnic lunch to private catamaran rides, even golf on Anguilla (since St. Barths does not have a golf course.) It is recommended that you rent a car for exploring the island. Our group had great fun driving a convertible Mini Cooper. A highlight of our villa stay were the meals created by our talented chef Marylou – our breakfasts were incredible and we loved our family style dinner served poolside on our first evening.
On the Rock –
After our 2 nights at Palm Beach villa, we spent 2 nights at the Eden Rock – St Barths resort. The hotel, just 5 minutes from the airport, has 37 rooms ranging from regular beach rooms to rock rooms to suites. The resort just recently re-opened after a full restoration when Hurricane Irma ripped through – no expense was spared in its updating – and you can see that in the design and décor of the property. The rock rooms, which tend to be pricier and are more uniquely decorated, are quieter and good for clients who want to have more privacy. The other collection of guests rooms – best for families and/or couples who want to be in the heart of the action – are located near the beach club. Eden Rock also has three villas located on property that range from 2 – 6 bedrooms, ideal for guests who want more space as well as the ability to be steps from everything the resort offers.
During the recent renovation, the main restaurant was one of the biggest changes. There is one restaurant, Jean-Georges, where clients can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner. The property does not have a pool, but you don’t even notice because everyone isat the beach or in the ocean. While every guest is guaranteed a pool chair, we do recommend you select which one you want early in the morning as those will be your chairs for the day. In terms of room décor and amenities, they didn’t miss a beat – every room comes with Dyson hairdryer, masks, hand sanitizer, Dyptique room spray and Hermes toiletries.
Getting Around –
A true highlight of the trip was our private sail guided by Eden Rock on St. Barth’s Sailor catamaran. Our butler Aleks came along to serve us and brought Eden Rock signature pillows and towels, as well as drinks and appetizers to make our journey even more amazing. We all enjoyed a late day swim as we watched the sunset near Colombier Beach, where Rockefeller built his infamous villa on the island that many say was the entrée to the rich and famous coming to the island.
If you want to have fun on St. Barths then you have to experience Bagatelle, which can’t be missed if you like nightlife energy and DJ dance music. Even though we had to mask up and were not allowed to dance on the tables, we loved the food and electric atmosphere and were totally fine to dance next to our table.
When chilling at Eden Rock hotel, we enjoyed a drink at Remy Bar, just above the restaurant. We happened to be in town for the St Barths’ 2020 Bartender Contest and Eden Rock’s own Matthias Assos took 4th place during our stay.
Another not-to-be missed St Barths experience is Nikki Beach, where experienced “rose all day” with excellent people watching even with the pandemic. Set right on the beach next to the Eden Rock hotel, we enjoyed amazing food and listened to great music and finally understood why Nikki Beach’s motto is #onlytellyourbestfriends. We learned what day is best for Nikki Beach – a little secret we will gladly share with clients who book with us.
The last meal of our amazing trip was at a newer restaurant to the island called Fouquets, sister dining establishment to the ones in Paris and Cannes, and set on a hill where the views can’t be missed.
Needless to say, even with all the health protocols being followed around the island a visit to this beautiful destination will leave you refreshed. Bravo to the Eden Rock team who are doing an amazing job honoring safety procedures while offering guests a true vacation experience with all the essence of this unique and special Caribbean island. 🏝