A French Caribbean: St Barthélemy and Guanahani Resort & Spa

A French Caribbean: St Barthélemy and Guanahani Resort & Spa
  If you have to explain to a US customs inspector what St. Bart’s is, you might cause some confusion. You see, St. Bart’s uses euros, calls are long-distance, the language spoken is French, the culture is decidedly French – and so is the food (which is mostly imported). It’s no surprise then that the small island is part of France. “So you’re going to Europe,” asks the intimidating inspector with a healthy hint of skepticism. “No, it’s in the Caribbean,” you start to explain nervously. It’s no use, by now the inspector is certain that you’ve invented the place. But, luckily, he lets you go anyways. After all, if you went through the effort of inventing a dream destination, the least you should be allowed is to go there. There’s something different about St. Bart’s than any other Island in the Caribbean. Part of the French West Indies, it feels much more as if you’re in France, but if France happened to be an Island.  St. Bart’s is often compared to the French Riviera. It’s elegant, yet casual. Its visitors are mostly wealthy, but are not flashy. It is glamorous, yet remarkably low key.  That’s why many (in North America) consider a trip to St. Bart’s to be like going to France, but without the jet-leg. The water is ethereal turquoise. The sand, immaculately white. Everyone has a perfect tan. Kids are beautiful and polite. The views…are extraordinarily breathtaking. Those who work at the hotels on St. Bart’s enjoy a similar lifestyle to that of the guests – they are housed by the hotels since renting on their own would be prohibitively expensive. This housing arrangement, not surprisingly, doesn’t offer cause for any complaints. There’s also no crime. (And probably only one police car.) There’s no tension between the always-smiling locals. There was never a history of slavery on the island. No one resents anyone. No one feels less fortunate and more entitled. And similarly, no one on the island feels the need to show off. Simplicity rules the day. Well, luxurious simplicity.  Accommodations – Guanahani Resort & Spa Hotel Guanahani & SpaGrand Cul de Sac97133 St. Barthélemy1-800-216-3774www.leguanahani.comE-mail Here’s how it all begins: You get picked up at the “airport” by the hotel’s friendly driver and are whisked away to your dream home – a cottage painted a bright, pastel-colored hue. You find yourself transported to what can only be described as a tropical garden of sorts, filled with flowers, and the sounds of parrots conversing with their peers.   The rooms, influenced by French Creole décor, feature large bathrooms with Clarins toiletries, flat-screen TVs, an iPod dock, and complimentary wi-fi service to help keep you connected with the rest of the world – though you’re bound to soon forget about it. Everything is so well thought out. The room comes equipped with things such as flip-flops, adapters for electronics, candles, and even a bug spray that not only works, but miraculously seems to have a pleasant scent. But as well appointed as the rooms are, the truly stunning part is the private terraces If you’re fortunate enough to snag one that faces the turquoise water, you’re in for a life-altering, breathtaking view. The terraces are large enough to host guests for a coffee or a bottle of something sparkly. Some cottages even come with a private pool and your very own butler! The terrace is also the perfect place to enjoy a delicious breakfast, which is complimentary for guests. Or, enjoy a more comprehensive breakfast (eg. crepes, omelets) by the pool, on the beach. The service here is unobtrusive, professional and polished, while also being friendly and laid-back. Located in the Grand Cul de Sac, the Guanahani has its own private, quiet beach, which enjoys a light breeze – perfect for windsurfing. Stay at Hotel Guanahani and you’ll find yourself in the lap of unassuming, easy-going, tropical luxury. Pampering for the adults… Clarin’s Spa As if being in St. Bart’s isn’t relaxing enough already, the resort’s spa will melt away any remaining tension you might have. Here, guests can enjoy relaxing treatments including massages, facials, and mud wraps.  And if you were silly enough to go on a boat ride sans sunscreen and show up in all your red glory the next day for your appointment, their caring (and worried) staff might recommend the “After Sun Treatment,” which is specifically designed for such poor decision making. Another popular signature treatment is the “Jet-Lag recovery treatment,” which is guaranteed to give you a boost. The treatment involves massages, exfoliation, and hydration, to face, body, and arguably, mind. After the treatment, you can continue relaxing by the spa’s pool. Lounge around in your robe and enjoying a herbal tea, why not? The Frédéric Fekkai hair salon is also on premises and offers numerous ways to treat your tresses. Gym Normally, you’d be wise to avoid the gym on a Caribbean island that offers plenty of other worthy temptations, but the Guanahani’s gym is unique. You see, you can work-out to your heart’s content without missing the beach. The gym, a glass, air conditioned state-of-the-art facility, is located right on the beach. Water Sports & Other The hotel provides complimentary canoes, floats, paddle boats, and snorkling gear for guests to partake in water sports. You can even book (for a fee) a windsurfing lesson – a popular activity here, especially given the more windy conditions at this end of the island.  At night, there’s a lit tennis court, and even trainers you can borrow for a game. Something for the kids… The resort welcomes children, which offer a…

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