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Assessment: Cheval Blanc St. Barts (Caribbean Palace Lodge)

A number of months in the past, we spent a protracted weekend on the 61-room Cheval Blanc St. Barts (or St. Barth, or St. Barths, if you happen to favor). For these not acquainted, St. Barts is a Caribbean island belonging to France. The journey was for a special day, because it was my mother-in-law’s birthday, and we have been additionally taking our son, so it was a multi-generational journey.

Whereas Ford and his mother have been to St. Barts earlier than, it was my first time, so I used to be curious to see what all of the fuss was about. Sadly St. Barts doesn’t have any factors accommodations (in any respect), however has a wide range of effectively regarded properties. Past Cheval Blanc, there’s Eden Roc (Oetker Assortment), Le Guanahani (Rosewood), and Le Toiny (Relais & Chateaux), simply to call a number of.

Since they hadn’t stayed there earlier than, we determined to guide Cheval Blanc, which is the boutique lodge group that’s owned by LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton). We’ve had nice stays at Cheval Blanc Paris and Cheval Blanc Maldives Randheli, so have been wanting ahead to trying out the model’s Caribbean property. Enjoyable reality — that is the one property within the Caribbean with France’s “Palace” distinction.

My takeaway from this keep was principally optimistic, although there have been a few issues I didn’t love. On the one hand, the lodge is on a ravishing seaside, and has impeccable service and meals. However, I believed the lodge lacked a vibe and was slightly too sleepy for my liking (which is saying lots, as a result of I’m under no circumstances a partier). Anyway, let’s get into the overview, and everybody can draw their very own conclusions.

Impressions of St. Barts

Having by no means been to St. Barts earlier than, I didn’t know what precisely to count on. I knew it was an enormous scene, however didn’t actually get what made it totally different than different locations within the Caribbean. Nicely, I rapidly discovered, and I can completely see the enchantment of the place, because it’s completely totally different than wherever else I’ve been within the Caribbean.

For one, St. Barts is bodily a surprising island (although that’s true of another Caribbean islands as effectively). It’s not simply that the seashores are fairly, however the panorama on the entire is breathtaking, particularly with how mountainous it’s. At occasions I felt like I used to be in Hawaii.

St. Barts panorama
St. Barts panorama
St. Barts panorama

As an aviation geek, St. Barts Airport (SBH) can be one among a form.

St. Barts Airport

However what actually units aside St. Barts from different Caribbean islands is how a lot of a scene there’s outdoors resorts. The capital city of Gustavia is ridiculously cute, and there are additionally limitless eating places. It’s actually the winter model of Saint-Tropez within the South of France, and at occasions you would possibly truly assume that you just’re there.

Now, there are some concerns as effectively. For one, the individuals who go to St. Barts make for… attention-grabbing individuals watching. I imply, it sort of feels as if you happen to moved the whole Higher East Aspect of New York to the Caribbean. And every little thing displays that.

Reserving Cheval Blanc St. Barts

Nearly all the posh accommodations in St. Barts aren’t low cost, and are in the same worth vary. Since there have been 4 of us, we ended up reserving a two bed room suite. At many accommodations, a two bed room suite prices considerably greater than two visitor rooms, although at Cheval Blanc St. Barts it’s usually lower than double the worth of a visitor room, in order that’s good.

For our weekend keep, we spent ~€2,000 Euro per evening. Clearly that’s fairly a bit, however truthfully, ~$1,000 per room is what you’ll pay on the Andaz Papagayo Costa Rica these days, so…

The easiest way to guide a Cheval Blanc property is thru a journey advisor affiliated with Virtuoso, as you’ll pay the identical price, and can obtain a number of value-add perks, together with the next (and these will be mixed with most promotions being provided by the property):

  • Improve on arrival, topic to availability
  • $100 property credit score
  • Early check-in and late check-out, topic to availability

Ordinarily breakfast would even be a Virtuoso perk, however that’s included with all charges on the lodge.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts location

Cheval Blanc St. Barts is situated on Flamands Seaside, on the northwest portion of the island. The lodge is in a quieter a part of the island than Eden Roc, for instance, which is situated proper by the airport and several other day golf equipment. It’s straightforward to get across the island, and personally I’d advocate renting a automotive, so that you could discover by yourself, given the quantity of pure magnificence.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts exterior

In terms of attending to the lodge on arrival, the lodge is a few 10-minute drive from the airport. The lodge provides friends a complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport, so that you’ll be picked up in your arrival and dropped off in your departure. Whereas there’s service to St. Barts from a number of Caribbean airports, probably the most frequent service is from Sint Maarten on Winair.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts shuttle

Cheval Blanc St. Barts reception & check-in

Upon arrival, we have been greeted on the door of the automotive by reception employees, who rapidly took care of our check-in, whereas the bellmen introduced the baggage to our room. The foyer area is attractive and open air, and test in was accomplished inside a few minutes.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts public areas
Cheval Blanc St. Barts reception

At that time we have been walked to our room. Cheval Blanc St. Barts is ready on 10 acres, and the setting is elegant. All through the property you virtually really feel such as you’re within the jungle, because of the variety of timber, whereas additionally being steps from the seaside. The lodge is unfold out throughout many particular person buildings, none greater than two tales tall, so it’s an undeniably peaceable setting.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts pathway

Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room

We booked a two bed room suite at Cheval Blanc St. Barts, and this is available in one among two configurations — some two bed room suites have a residing space connecting the 2 bedrooms however don’t have an outside area, whereas some two bed room suites are basically two separate rooms with a big, shared outside area.

We have been assigned one of many latter rooms, which means we had two rooms that have been almost an identical, plus a big outside area. That labored nice for our functions. I’ll simply go over the main points of one of many rooms, because the second room was mainly the identical.

In comparison with Cheval Blanc’s different properties, the rooms listed below are undoubtedly a bit extra understated. Nonetheless, the rooms nonetheless felt luxurious, and the room finishes have been very good. The room featured an excellent snug king dimension mattress, a desk with a chair, and an extra chair within the nook (together with every kind of child facilities).

Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room
Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room
Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room
Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room

The room had a well provisioned minibar with every kind of drinks for buy, plus a Nespresso machine and a tea kettle. The bottled water was complimentary, and the lodge was completely satisfied to carry extras.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room minibar
Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room Nespresso machine

Cheval Blanc properties actually go all-in in terms of welcome facilities, and this lodge is not any exception. The welcome amenity included a scrumptious cake, recent fruit, and a bottle of Ruinart champagne. I suppose that’s true of many luxurious accommodations in France typically — whereas they’re not low cost, in addition they don’t minimize corners in terms of the visitor expertise.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room welcome present

Previous the bed room was the lavatory, which had double sinks, a walk-in bathe, and a bathroom in a separate room.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room rest room
Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room bathe
Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room rest room

Toiletries have been all Cheval Blanc branded, and there was no scarcity of them.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room toiletries

The room additionally had a generously sized closet space.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room closet

Along with the indoor area, there was an enormous outside area connecting the 2 rooms, with a eating desk that would seat 4, in addition to a loveseat and two chairs.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room outside area
Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room outside area
Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room outside area

Housekeeping was thorough, and was supplied each day. It was cute how each evening with turndown service there was a unique present, together with issues like pillow mist.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room turndown service

Cheval Blanc St. Barts swimming pools

Cheval Blanc St. Barts has two swimming pools, each overlooking the ocean. The principle pool is close to the middle of the resort by the high quality eating restaurant and one of many bars, and is the bigger of the 2. The pool has fairly a little bit of seating round it, whether or not you like to lounge or simply sit.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts pool space
Cheval Blanc St. Barts pool space
Cheval Blanc St. Barts pool space
Cheval Blanc St. Barts pool space

The second pool is situated close to the principle entrance to the seaside, and feels a bit extra non-public and secluded.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts pool space
Cheval Blanc St. Barts pool space
Cheval Blanc St. Barts pool space

By St. Barts requirements, that is a formidable pool setup. For instance, Eden Roc doesn’t actually have a pool, however fairly simply has the seaside. St. Barts isn’t actually a “lounge on the pool” vacation spot, however fairly is extra in regards to the seaside, eating places, and day golf equipment.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts seaside

Cheval Blanc St. Barts is ready on Flamands Seaside, which is completely attractive. Whereas the seaside is open to the general public (as are all seashores within the space) it’s in a secluded a part of the island that may be laborious to entry, so it tends to be empty.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts seaside
Cheval Blanc St. Barts seaside
Cheval Blanc St. Barts seaside

I like how lengthy the seaside is, because it’s nice for taking walks, which have been particularly nice at dawn and sundown.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts seaside at sundown

Cheval Blanc offers service on the seaside, so you may order meals and drinks there. Whereas the seaside is gorgeous, there was one downside — it was tremendous windy on this seaside, to the purpose that umbrellas couldn’t be used, so you could possibly solely sit there in direct daylight. For that matter, sand was blowing fairly a bit, which made for an disagreeable state of affairs at occasions.

What I’m not 100% positive of is that if we simply had unhealthy luck throughout our go to, or if it is a larger problem with this specific seaside, based mostly on its location. Primarily based on performing some analysis on-line and asking some individuals, evidently Flamands Seaside has a fame for being windy.

Clearly the lodge has no management over wind, however it undoubtedly detracted from the expertise, because it wasn’t sensible to truly sit on the seaside.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts spa & health club

Cheval Blanc St. Barts has a spa in partnership with Guerlain. It’s a standalone constructing that has 4 remedy rooms, a sauna, an outside rest pavilion, and a boutique. I didn’t use the spa, however you may discover the spa menu and remedy costs right here.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts spa

What I did use was the 24/7 health club at Cheval Blanc St. Barts, which is small however effectively appointed for a Caribbean resort. The health club has fashionable gear, together with treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, a weight machine, and free weights, in addition to a yoga room within the again.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts health club
Cheval Blanc St. Barts health club
Cheval Blanc St. Barts health club
Cheval Blanc St. Barts health club
Cheval Blanc St. Barts health club
Cheval Blanc St. Barts health club

Cheval Blanc St. Barts La Cabane (breakfast & lunch)

La Cabane is Cheval Blanc St. Barts’ beachside restaurant, open each day for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast is served each day from 7AM till 10:30AM, whereas lunch is served from 12PM till 6PM.

This can be a stunning restaurant, as seating is solely open air, with a part of the restaurant being within the sand.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts La Cabane Restaurant
Cheval Blanc St. Barts La Cabane Restaurant

Breakfast is included for all friends on the lodge, and it consists of each a buffet, in addition to the choice to order off a menu, and you may combine and match that as a lot as you’d like. The buffet was small however prime quality, with a collection of freshly baked bread and pastries, cereal, yogurt, recent fruit, chilly cuts, and way more.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts breakfast buffet
Cheval Blanc St. Barts breakfast buffet
Cheval Blanc St. Barts breakfast buffet
Cheval Blanc St. Barts breakfast buffet
Cheval Blanc St. Barts breakfast buffet
Cheval Blanc St. Barts breakfast buffet
Cheval Blanc St. Barts breakfast buffet
Cheval Blanc St. Barts breakfast buffet
Cheval Blanc St. Barts breakfast buffet

Moreover, the menu contained choices starting from avocado toast with smoked salmon, to crepes, and it was all scrumptious.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts breakfast breakfast
Cheval Blanc St. Barts breakfast breakfast

I additionally loved the iced espresso and filter espresso at breakfast, although the cappuccinos might’ve been spruced up a bit, for my part.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts breakfast drinks
Cheval Blanc St. Barts breakfast drinks

We additionally had lunch right here at some point, and you could find the menu under.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts lunch menu

We break up the mahi mahi and seared tuna with sesame dressing, and each have been delectable.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts lunch meals
Cheval Blanc St. Barts lunch meals

Cheval Blanc St. Barts Tiki Bar (drinks)

Adjoining to La Cabane, you’ll discover Tiki Bar, which is the lodge’s all-day bar. It’s additionally open air, and has fairly a little bit of seating, whether or not you like to sit down on the bar instantly, or would fairly play a recreation at one of many tables.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts Tiki Bar
Cheval Blanc St. Barts Tiki Bar
Cheval Blanc St. Barts Tiki Bar
Cheval Blanc St. Barts Tiki Bar

The drink checklist at Tiki Bar was fairly imaginative, so it’s price stopping right here for a drink, if you happen to can.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts Tiki Bar drinks

Cheval Blanc St. Barts White Bar (drinks)

White Bar is the opposite bar at Cheval Blanc St. Barts, and it’s situated on the predominant pool, adjoining to the lodge’s high quality eating restaurant, La Case. Whereas Tiki Bar is just open through the day, White Bar stays open at evening.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts White Bar
Cheval Blanc St. Barts White Bar

We stopped right here one night for a drink, and had a Mexican Negroni (one among their signature drinks) and a grimy martini.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts White Bar drinks

Cheval Blanc St. Barts La Case (dinner)

La Case is Cheval Blanc St. Barts’ high quality eating restaurant, open nightly from 7PM till 9:30PM. It’s situated proper subsequent to the principle pool, adjoining to White Bar. The idea is described as “an ode to the Caribbean,” and it’s by Jean Imbert. This can be a phenomenal restaurant, and is fashionable with lodge friends and outsiders alike.

The restaurant overlooks the ocean, and has sliding doorways which might be usually open, so you will have a pleasant breeze within the restaurant.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts La Case Restaurant
Cheval Blanc St. Barts La Case Restaurant

Every thing in regards to the expertise was high notch, from the attractive plates and silverware, to the service, to the meals.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts dinner desk setting

You’ll find the dinner menu under.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts dinner menu

Firstly of the meal we have been provided a collection of freshly baked bread, with butter that was half pineapple ginger and half rum.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts dinner bread

To begin, we break up the yellowfin tuna tartare with crispy rice and candy potato tart.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts dinner meals
Cheval Blanc St. Barts dinner meals

Then for mains, I had the native yellowfin tuna, whereas Ford and his mother break up the poultry Colombo, which was ready tableside.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts dinner meals
Cheval Blanc St. Barts dinner meals
Cheval Blanc St. Barts dinner meals

Whereas we have been too full to order dessert, we have been nonetheless introduced some tasty treats on the conclusion of the meal.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts dinner dessert

Whereas not low cost, it was a wonderful meal, and it’s good to see what a dedication Cheval Blanc has to its eating choices all through its portfolio.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts service

Service at Cheval Blanc St. Barts was uniformly wonderful. Each single frontline worker, from the valets, to the entrance workplace employees, to the restaurant employees, have been pleasant and had an eye fixed for element. Nearly all of the employees on the property are from Metropolitan France, and most have loads of hospitality expertise.

Whereas good service within the first airplane is superior, nice service restoration is even higher, so let me give an instance of that. One afternoon throughout our keep they began performing some form of work on high of the roof close to our constructing, whereby they appeared to be energy washing the roof, or one thing. What basically occurred is that we couldn’t step out of our room with out strolling by the equal of a grimy bathe. It looks like that shouldn’t occur whereas a room is occupied, or a minimum of a visitor ought to be made conscious of this upfront.

We simply referred to as the entrance desk about this. They apologized profusely and mentioned this might cease instantly. Positive sufficient, a minute later the work stopped. As an apology, they despatched to each rooms one more bottle of Ruinart champagne, fruit, and sweets, together with an apology observe.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts service restoration
Cheval Blanc St. Barts service restoration

It’s additionally good how upon departure, we got customized baggage tags with Cheval Blanc branding, to take house.

Cheval Blanc St. Barts visitor room departure present

Backside line

Cheval Blanc St. Barts is a reasonably nice resort, with some quirks. I liked the resort’s setting, because it’s a sprawling property the place you concurrently really feel such as you’re in lush vegetation and on the seaside. The lodge has impeccable service, scrumptious eating, and a ravishing seaside to stroll on (it was actually windy throughout our keep, so I’m unsure if we simply had unhealthy luck, or if that’s constantly a difficulty right here).

Now, there are a few issues to concentrate on in regards to the property as effectively, although. For one, in comparison with Paris and the Maldives, the St. Barts property isn’t going to really feel fairly as excessive. That’s completely truthful, because the aggressive panorama and the vibe is a bit totally different. However on the different properties, there are actually limitless surprises when it comes to property facilities, room options, and so forth., and that’s not fairly the case right here.

One different factor I’d emphasize is that Cheval Blanc is right if you happen to’re searching for a chilled, sleepy resort. I actually would’ve liked if Cheval Blanc had some reside music, or one thing, as I form of felt just like the resort lacked a vibe. Should you’re searching for a quiet place the place you may learn a guide all hours of the day, then this place is nice.

Nevertheless it’s fairly a distinction to Eden Roc, the place there’s a DJ there all day, and I feel that’s extra according to the vibe many are searching for in St. Barts. Let me even be clear that I say this as somebody who is a big introvert and never a partier, however there’s one thing good a few energetic vibe, and I feel that’s the one factor that was lacking at Cheval Blanc.

What do you make of Cheval Blanc St. Barts?

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