Saint Barthélemy travel guide: review of the luxury hotel Le Toiny
I’ve always loved visiting ultra-popular off-season destinations, whether it’s a September trip to the Greek islands after summer, a getaway to the French countryside in winter, a trip summer in a ski resort or a weekend. in an idyllic seaside getaway as autumn arrives. The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the appeal of low season – or at least low season – for me, because it’s so much nicer to travel when you’re not stressed by reservations, traffic and general hordes of people all trying to do the same thing at the same time.
This is especially true when traveling to a ridiculously popular, yet oh-so-exclusive destination like St. Barthelemy. While there are plenty of luxurious resorts in the Caribbean, there’s something special about St. Barths no matter what time of year you travel there. I have been fortunate enough to visit the island a few times over the years, including during the exceptionally popular holiday season in the past, as well as in spring and early winter. Recently, however, I’ve been heading to the scenic island as summer has started to pick up again, and while I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, I can say with confidence that the so-called low season could be the best time to plan a trip to Saint Barthélemy.
First, don’t let the weather deter you. Yes, it will be hot, but it is by no means stuffy. In fact, the highest temperatures from May through July (and even August) are in the high 80s, just a few degrees above what you’d expect in December. Flights and hotels tend to be a bit cheaper than during high season, and you can actually score dinner reservations during normal hours. The truth is that there really is no “off season” in Saint-Barth, because it is always a good time to visit, that is to say from the end of August to mid-October, when the most hotels and restaurants close for the season. Other than that, though, you’re good to go.
Those who love the Caribbean feeling outside of peak season are often the same travelers who want a bit more privacy, especially when it comes to accommodations. On my last trip to the island, I stayed at Le Toiny for the first time and fell in love with the place. The hotel is a more recent addition to the St. Barts scene, largely due to a series of unfortunate events: the current owners bought Le Toiny in 2015, and after completing renovations and reopening, had to close and rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Irma. in 2017. The 17-acre hotel then reopened in October 2018, but just over a year later had to close again amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now, however, Le Toiny is back and better than ever.
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Location, location, location.
There’s a reason Le Toiny is the hotel of choice for those wanting a more low-key and private experience in St. Barths, and it’s largely thanks to the property’s secluded location. It’s not that Le Toiny is difficult to get to, at least not if you know where you’re going. The hotel is perched on a winding hill above Anse de Toiny, opposite the island from the town of Gustavia, with completely unobstructed views of the sea below. During high season, be prepared for the usual nerve-wracking traffic, but if you visit the idyllic island during less busy times, it will take you less than 20 minutes to drive from Toiny to Gustavia.
Yes, Le Toiny is wonderfully luxurious and elegant, but it’s set in a much more rugged and natural setting than most other hotels on the island, and that works in its favor. Instead of trying to tame and tame the surrounding environment, Le Toiny accepts and appreciates the wild environment.
Let’s talk rooms.
Le Toiny is made up of just 22 suites, ranging from sleek duplexes to spacious and sprawling one- and two-bedroom rooms, all with private plunge pools. Duplexes have a slightly more modern edge to traditional beach villa-inspired suites, though all rooms have vaulted beamed ceilings, cream-and-sand-colored furniture, mirrored accents, and wood details.
The rooms are among the largest you will find on the island; the smallest accommodation is a 600 square foot junior suite. It’s the coveted personal outdoor space that really makes all these rooms stand out; you’ll find yourself jumping into the private infinity pools just outside your room and making the most of those in-between moments as you bask in the sun or enjoy the colorful sunset from the comfort of the lounge chairs or the breakfast table on your private patio. The Toiny also updates accommodations and public areas regularly, as the hotel spends more than $1 million a year on its renovation program, including a recent refresh of Signature Suites, courtesy Courtesy of Lady Bee Osborn. During high season, rooms range from $1,000 to $7,400 a night, but during the summer, rates drop to between $990 and $1,200 a night.
Those wanting even more privacy could opt for one of the two four-bedroom villas managed by Le Toiny, including Villa Nureyev, the former home of the late Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev. It’s a very different aesthetic from the airy, seaside decor of the rest of Le Toiny rooms; think lots of dark wood, heavy fabrics, and ornate light fixtures, plus incredibly breathtaking views of the rocky coastline.
Head to the Beach Club in a custom Land Rover.
There’s a large pool for guests in the main lobby villa, but it’s the hotel’s exclusive Beach Club that’s the real draw here. In In order to reach the Beach Club, which is located on a winding path just below the hotel, guests board customized open-air Land Rover Defenders which navigate the twists and turns of the narrow road before dropping you off at the waterfront destination. The restaurant is possibly my favorite lunch spot on the whole island (you can’t go wrong with the lobster salad, tuna tartare, fries and, of course, a drink de rosé), after which you can collapse on one of the plush lounge chairs and live your best life under the palm trees. It’s a must-visit spot even if you’re not staying at the hotel, and if you’re in St. Barts during the off-season, it’s much easier to score a coveted reservation – during the holiday season, it’s a lot easier to score a coveted reservation. is almost impossible.
And now about the food.
Those who prefer to stay put will surely appreciate that Le Toiny has one of the finest restaurants on the island, which is not particularly surprising given that Le Toiny also happens to be the only Relais et Châteaux property in all of Saint -Barth. . That said, St. Barts’ food scene is a big part of the area’s appeal, and you’d be wrong not to check out the myriad of other restaurants around the island during your stay. You can’t go wrong with classics like Le Tamarin and Shellona, and if you’re looking for a restaurant located in Gustavia, check out L’isola or Bonito, the latter conveniently located overlooking the yacht-filled harbour, which is, if you are able to snag one of the outdoor tables with a sea view, which is a much more manageable feat in late spring and summer. And, of course, a night of cabaret and dancing at Ti is quintessential St. Barts.
You could easily spend the whole day relaxing at the beach or sipping a cocktail by the pool, but you’ve come all the way to St. Barts, and exploring the island is key. A hike is a great way to take in the St. Barts landscape, and there are trails for all hiking levels. Petit Cul-de-Sac is tricky, but takes you to the dreamiest of natural pools. Colombier is surely one of the most beautiful (and, for the sake of full transparency, another of the most difficult), and it leads to an ultra-private and secluded beach accessible only on foot or by boat. Speaking of which, a day boat trip is an amazing way to see so much of St. Barts, as you can easily reach some areas that are more difficult to access by land, like, for example, the picturesque white sand beaches and the ‘clear water. water in Colombier.
Back on land, head to the town of Gustavia to browse the designer boutiques and local boutiques, and while you’re there, sit down for a snack or drink at one fancy restaurants, preferably with a view of the many aforementioned yachts anchored in the harbour, especially if you’re there for the sunset. And no matter what time of year you visit St. Barth, if you have a sweet tooth, you must stop by Petit Deauville for a scoop (or two) of ice cream.
*The stay at Le Toiny was offered by the hotel. The views and opinions expressed are those of the journalist.*