hot spots

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 January, 2003, 12:00am

Hotel St-Barth Isle de France

Where? On Baie des Flamands, an impossibly white beach on St Barth's in the French West Indies.

The Caribbean's most fashionable island? No less. If you want to blend in with the rich and famous, don't leave home without your Dior thong, raffia tote and Chloe shades.

Sartorially demanding, then? If your wardrobe's not up to scratch, a quick recce around the chic boutiques in Gustavia will see you right. And if you don't want to make the short trip to the island's capital, check out the hotel shop for beachwear by Pucci, Voyage and Fendi.

Sounds like a shopper's paradise? St Barth's is a duty free port so flexing your credit card makes perfect sense.

What's the style of the hotel? Au courant, of course. Although each of the 33 minimalist rooms and suites is decorated differently, the feeling of stealth-wealth pervades.

Examples, please? Well, vintage French fabrics and sheer English linens are juxtaposed alongside oversized Chinese pots, Balinese chests and the occasional jolt of scorching Caribbean colour. The bathrooms feature white marble and all the rooms have high ceilings and spacious balconies.

So size does matter? Indeed. Whether you choose a garden suite bungalow, a beach room or the two-bedroom fisherman's cottage, you'll find a sprawling 2.2m bed and a bath big enough to swim in.

Who goes there? Elizabeth Hurley, Hugh Grant, Elle Macpherson, Lou Reed and Jon Bon Jovi.

Anything else we should know? Should the cashmere-soft sand, freshwater pools or delectable French-Caribbean cuisine fail to satisfy the senses, visit the new spa for additional indulgence.

Prices per night: tropical garden bungalow US$410-US$595 (HK$3,200-$4,635); beach room US$620-US$950; two-bedroom cottage US$725-US$1,065; two-bedroom suite on the beach US$990-US$1,555. Baie des Flamands, PO Box 612, 97098 Saint Barthelemy Cedex, French West Indies. Tel: [59 05] 9027 5666;


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