Mary Gostelow finds France in the Caribbean

Girlahead checks in to Rosewood Guanahani & Spa in St Barts

Head for France in the Caribbean in the form of the island of Saint Barthélemy, invariably shortened to St Barts, or St Barth in French (for the record, it’s one of four Leeward Islands that, together with Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint Martin, form the French West Indies).

At Rosewood Guanahani & Spa on St Barts you could well imagine you are in St-Tropez rather than on a 2,500 hectare island in the sun. Since most of the 66-key resort’s 200 staff are young French folk, sensibly fleeing Europe’s climate for a season of sun, you are in the St-Trop mood from the moment you have landed.

Rosewood Guanahani & Spa, aerial view

Be prepared ahead of time. The island’s Gustaf III airport is a bit of a roller-coaster, but, 12 minutes later at the 7.5-hectare estate, all that is forgotten, and a glass of welcome bubbly helps, as always. Settle into your cottage, a detached clapboard single-storey affair painted buttercup, lavender, or turquoise. For most style, choose a 65 sqm Ocean View private pool cottage.

Admiral Suite terrace, Rosewood Guanahani & Spa

Guanahani went through a three-year complete re-build after St Barts was devastated by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Its owner, David Bonderman, obviously a little busy not only with TPG Capital and various funds but with his sports teams, told resort MD Martein van Wagenberg to do what it takes.

Just make Guanahani not only as good as new but better than it ever was.

Today it’s paradise, of good things and nature – van Wagenberg was into plants, in a previous life, and the Guanahani grounds are gorgeous.

Martin van Wagenberg, Managing Director, Rosewood Guanahani & Spa
Oceancove Room, Bedroom view, Rosewood Guanahani & Spa

There are superb beaches immediately to hand. One’s the Grand Cul-de-Sac lagoon, ideal for swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling. Take a Morne Reserve immersive spa journey, strolling through an ecosystem at the Morne Reserve before an aloe vera wrap and massage. Go hiking, go shopping nearby – many of the 200+ boutiques nearby rival those back in St-Trop, or Paris or Elizabeth Bay.

Pool view, Rosewood Guanahani & Spa

Food time, forget the Michelin tonight, relax with an ice-cold Rosé, French of course. Go on to Franck Phélan St-Estèphe 2015 and a burger, Australian wagyu and 24-month aged Comté. Dine casual tonight and live it up tomorrow. Guanahani tempts you with a breakfast menu specifically called Décadence. Who can resist the signature, Sense of Place, poached eggs, sweet potato waffles, homemade smoked mahi mahi and 10g of caviar? Add a mimosa, justified for vitamin C (as if it is needed in this sun).

Beach House, Rosewood Guanahani & Spa

Lead image: Lagoon suite, main bedroom, Rosewood Guanahani & Spa

Mary Gostelow publishes the daily girlahead.com, a weekly newswire Mary Gostelow’s Inner Circle, and a unique weekly 15-minute industry Mary Gostelow Girlahead Podcast, all part of Almont Global.

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