Eco-luxury Hotel Manapany is nestled on a private tropical beach with Caribbean turquoise water at Anse des Cayes, a serene residential piece of the island on the lush north coast of St. Barthelemy.
Gustav III Airport, the island’s commercial airfield is only 5 minutes away where Tradewind Aviation charter planes from nearby San Juan. Gustavia is the capital of St. Barth – a quaint town steeped in history with yachts dotting the picturesque harbor and sophisticated dining, shopping and nightlife.
Manapany is one of two five-star properties on the idyllic island and one of the first hotels to open after hurricane Irma. While this eight-mile enclave is now fully operational, many of the other top resorts from Eden Rock to Le Toiny, are still undergoing renovations.
Thanks to Anne Jousse, owner and CEO of B. Signature Resorts, who owns many properties in France, they have brought their brand of Parisian chic to St. Barth after buying the Manapany property in 2016 to build and renovate it from the ground up.
St. Barth has been a playground for many celebrities from Leonardo DiCaprio to Heidi Klum and is fully booked during most of the winter holidays with east coast snowbirds, but what most people don’t realize about this pristine and fashionable isle is how they take environmental pursuits very seriously. For example, plastic bags are banned due to wildlife preservation and the massive sea turtle population.
Ms. Jousse has a 25-year history visiting the island with her family, so this holistic extension seemed natural while targeting mainly U.S. clientele in the 5-star category, luxury market. In keeping with respect for nature – no high-rise buildings are allowed on the landscape – and commitment to the environment, Ms. Jousse worked with architect Francois Champsaur out of Paris to design the property.
This included 43 villas and bungalows all up and down the steep cliff and some right on the beach, just steps from the water. Many natural materials were used from furniture that was handmade with all wood and natural fibers by Champsaur and his team.
The colorful baskets in each room, natural pillow covers and throws on the bed were hand-crafted by local artisans from Chiapas Mexico. Bamboo fiber towels are handmade from Tunisia and dry very quickly which requires less washing. Manapany has their own well on the property and solar panels to heat the water.
Only electric cars are allowed on the 4.2-acre property and plugs are available throughout. This reduces emissions but also adds to the calm and tranquility of the scene. From every room you can see and hear the ocean, birds, and nature – and they plan to keep it that way.
Unique touches abound from French artist Mayon Hanania, originally from Paris, who now lives in San Pedro California. She is behind the 300 drawings of the Island that are hanging in every room at the hotel. The painter was commissioned to create the original watercolors for the property which took over a year to produce and include everything from local homes to cafes and surfers.
There are over 100 types of plants and fruit trees, along with an herb garden, utilized by Executive Chef Anthony Martel on the property. Chef uses as many fresh, local and organic products in his menu as possible, and they have their own tank with local Caribbean lobsters for the Friday night beachside BBQs. Fresh fish from the island is delivered daily by local fishermen.
At the bar, mixologists concoct island herbs and fruits to whip up bold, original and colorful cocktails. The island’s famous rum is not only used in delicious drinks, the classic Ti Punch, but to fill baba pastries, flavor the gâteau nantais and put a new spin on crêpe Suzette.
The resort’s spa also offers bespoke holistic therapies that utilize medicinal herbs while incorporating the latest modern techniques and methods. The signature bio-aesthetic care collection meshes with organic products from Dr. Hauschka. There is a quiet, calm pool outside of the spa – separate from the main one by the restaurant and bar – but if you want more of a workout, try one of the morning Pilates or yoga classes.
Couples can escape to secluded Gouverneur Beach where they can try to kitesurf or paddle board while savoring a delicious picnic basket prepared by the resort chef. A yacht can also be arranged to cruise around the island with a stop at Colombier Beach while the onboard staff whips up healthy snacks and pours rosé.
Back on dry land, the shopping downtown is world-class from Chanel to Hermès but thanks to low season sales (during the summer) and many independent boutiques, prices are not as shocking as you might expect.
Be sure to stop at the “secret” Rhum Room behind 25 St. Barth and Quarter restaurant to toast your savvy purchases with over 600 types of rum or hit the legendary Ti St Barth for a bit of nightlife with dressing up costumes for the guests and dancing until the wee hours.
Yes, this island is flourishing again with a creative spirit, sexy soul, and first-rate accommodations that are ready to take you on your next adventure this winter.
Contributed by Carole Dixon