Following extensive damage to the island of St Barths caused by hurricane Irma, Eden Rock is closed and is anticipated to reopen by the end of 2018.
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, managed by the Oetker Collection with 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 hotel’s 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 absolute ‘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.
- Daily breakfast for two
- Room upgrade upon arrival
- Subject to availability
- Early check-in / Late check-out
- Subject to availability
- VIP welcome
- Eden Rock beach set in room upon arrival, one per room
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Exclusive benefits may vary by hotel or hotel group. Exclusive benefits apply when booking the Best Available Rate and are not combinable with any hotel offers or special packages unless stated.
- Detailed Review +
- Facts & Amenities +
My car had only just pulled into the driveway when a staff member stepped out to welcome me, and with that, my suitcase disappeared, not to be seen again until I entered my room.
Staff were exceptionally pleasant, and check-in was handled quickly and efficiently, with professionalism and courtesy that was to be a hallmark of my entire stay.
The check-in area is somewhat stark and minimalist which, although by design, is in effect awkward. I would have benefitted by having somewhere to put down my travelling bag to get stuff out, preferably while sitting down.
Rooms and suites
When I travel on business, I rarely spend time in my room. But when I travel on vacation, I do, so I appreciate it even more when a room is cleverly designed and efficient as well as being spiritually soothing. The rooms and suites here are unique design masterpieces, credit going to Jane Matthews, half of the husband-and-wife team that own Eden Rock.
The property consists of just 37 rooms, suites and villas, where Jane has masterfully created inspired interiors that are oozing with style. For the most part, a contemporary sophistication prevails, and, where warranted, in the likes of the Rock classic rooms, a modern take on classic Caribbean is the order of the day. Irrespective, these are some of the most balanced and beautifully-designed rooms I have seen in a long time. In this case, my suite was somewhat like a small cottage, with a huge, wrap-around verandah with surrounding French doors and featuring two rocking chairs.
On the side of the suite that overlooks St. Jean Bay, there’s a large outdoor dining and lounge area that sits above another terrace surrounding my very own, and very private, pool. While not the largest suite I have ever stayed in, it was very well laid-out. Inside, things were a shining example of good design; essentially a large rectangle with no full-height walls. The area is divided into a lounge, a very large bedroom, a big bathroom and a separate dressing room. The palate of whites; vibrant reds; and whitewashed, light grey walls, blends beautifully with the chocolate-coloured floors.
In-room technology is simple to use, although there were some switches to master which, when combined with further controls for exterior verandah shades, outdoor and pool lighting, amounts to rather a lot to take in.
One of the few negatives I have, is that none this was explained particularly well in the initial introduction to the room given by the staff member escorting me upon check-in. As is rather common in the Caribbean, the in-room sound systems only support iPhone 4 devices, which was disappointing.
The bathroom is a large, rectangular area covered in coral stone tile, almost a sunset colour, to provide wonderful contrast to the rest of the suite. At one end is a large, dual, open shower and at the other, a separate WC. Spanning the two is a long, dual-basin vanity with copious room for me to spread out my pills and potions. There is also an egg-shaped soaking tub.
Requisite amenities are Bulgari in sensibly sized 40 ml containers. On the subject of amenities, while not of the bathroom type, it would be remiss of me not to mention the fabulous eyeshades provided at turndown. These chic, little numbers (beautifully presented in black silk bags) are the best designed I have ever come across. Perfect to use and stand out from the rest of the crowd on your next flight to paradise.
‘The food, service and ambience in a Jean-Georges restaurant are to be celebrated. Of the many ‘celebrity chef’ restaurants out there, the only two that I feel deliver the food and service philosophy of their creators is that of Nobu Matsuhisa, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Equal to any of his restaurants around the world, classic J-G dishes such as foie gras brûlée, and caramelised black cod are perfectly executed by executive chef, Eric Desbordes. The food here isn’t excellent; it’s exceptional.
I felt I got to eat everything twice: once with my eyes and then again with my mouth. I had the bacon-wrapped prawns as a starter, followed by the caramelised black cod. Service is faultless. Nothing is left to chance. The timing is perfect and the staff’s knowledge of the dishes and their components is excellent. Perched atop the rocks at Eden Rock, with stunning views of the hotel and St. Jean Bay, dining here was a moment I won’t soon forget.
The Sand Bar features casual cuisine with a light, contemporary touch and is open for lunch and dinner. It’s ideally located on the immaculate, white sandy beach of St Jean, with a flawless view of the turquoise sea. What I love about the Sand Bar is that it’s informal but maintains a truly ‘beach chic’ feel. I rocked up barefooted, and no-one cared a hoot.
Spa and wellness
Eden Rock does not have a traditional spa. Instead, there is a menu of treatments offered on the beach, in your room or suite, or at any number of private spots around the hotel.
Pool and beach
There is no pool here at Eden Rock. My suite had a pool, and for those that don’t, the beach won’t disappoint. The whole beach ethos is where Eden Rock excels. It is Paris by the sea and is managed with military precision by a team of ‘beach boys’, with whom I could find no fault.
This concept is not unique, but what is different, certainly for the Caribbean anyway, is the snappy, switched-on and friendly service they deliver. The sun loungers are allocated for your entire stay, meaning mine was available to me all day, every day. Nice.
On arrival at the beach, I was escorted to my dedicated lounger, and everything was set up to my liking and needs; water was delivered in ice buckets and replenished throughout the day. I indulgently ordered drinks and food for myself, and they were brought quickly and efficiently with a smile.
Staff and service
You can, of course, have the most beautiful beach in the world, stunning rooms and food of epicurean standards, but without a team of superb and dedicated staff members, all is lost.
Of course with such a small room count and a very high repeat guest ratio, service should indeed be exceptional, however, here at Eden Rock, guest service is taken to a new level. I trusted anyone I spoke to would take what I said and run with it, whether it be a request or a query. And I was never let down. Charming and engaging, I think the people working here were greatly responsible for how much I enjoyed my visit.
My departure was well-planned and not hurried or pressured. Based on my arrangements, luggage was collected at the appropriate time, check-out handled smoothly and quickly, and my car and driver were there waiting for me at the main entrance.
How to get here
10 minutes by car from St Barthélemy Airport
34 Cottages, Suites, Beach Houses & Villas.
Non smoking rooms