I imagine that when the English and French signed the Entente Cordiale in 1904 to form an alliance against Germany, no one could have fathomed that one day there would be a hotel atop a rock on a Caribbean Island doing just the opposite, creating perfect harmony between the three nations. For here, on this island governed by the French, is a hotel with British owners and managed by the Oetker Collection and their renowned, German, precision.
And the results speak for themselves: something that comes close to hotel perfection. I must admit that I was wary of reviewing Eden Rock; I was unsure that any hotel could live up to the hype. Would I be surrounded by Parisian supermodels on the arms of testosterone-pumping F1 drivers or a bunch of burned-out New York hedge fund managers trying to regain their mojo? The answer is yes, to some extent. But the majority of the global collection of guests were (at the risk of sounding like Joanna Lumley) just lovely people going about their lovely holiday.
The French, in luxury settings, have a relaxed and yet efficient approach to service. I enjoyed having delicious food brought to me at the beach where I reclined with my iPad (connection guaranteed) on my comfortable sun lounger. My favourite rosé came along too, served by the hotels famous beach boys. The combination of exceptional food and drink, skilled staff and a drop-dead gorgeous location, ensures that Eden Rock delivers a decadent vacation choice.
It is slick, buffed and polished, and totally laid back, at least for the guest. And while the dress code is absolutely ‘beach chic’, certainly no one stopped me from having my lunch barefooted in the Sand Bar restaurant.
In fact, the phrase I heard most often no matter what the query, was ‘of course you can’, which I admit is not very stereotypically French. For me, St Barths is one stylish island blessed with wonderful beaches, excellent food and beverages and best of all, Eden Rock: a resort that rocks, on all fronts.