The art of the honeymoon has been perfected by Le Sereno. Perfect for aficionados of chic, sexy, and private, this 34-suite, luxury-boutique hotel is designed to invoke the elegance of Saint Barthélemy (Saint Bart’s) with the simplicity of beach living. Located on Grand Cul De Sac, a wide-open protected bay, Le Sereno beach is the center of attention. With all the physical perfection and a staff that is never hovering but always around to address your every need, you’ve got that five-star experience that is honeymoon.
The pool and beach staff readies towels anytime we swim, champagne is chilled and glasses refreshed without even a motion to them, and the restaurant staff sets up a full seaside breakfast every morning. You can scuba or snorkel, swim in the pool or bay, luxuriate at the spa, or change pace and mingle with the international set shopping, yachting, or clubbing at Nikki Beach or the all-night costume party at Le Ti.
One key ingredient that distinguishes St. Bart’s is the array of top-notch dining experiences. World-class chefs create gourmet pleasures, inspired by their enthusiasm for fine food. Dishes are artfully presented by servers in the elegant ambiance of seaside views and warm breezes.
Le Sereno earned its five-star status by having the best of privacy and a laid back atmosphere. They offer private dining on your terrace or some private corner of the grounds, where you can listen to the rolling surf. On one of the Island’s 14 beaches, we enjoy a picnic of sashimi, seaweed salad, and fresh fruit. For dinner, the staff sets up a special moon and candlelit honeymoon table on the beach for us. We choose between the succulent lobster catalana, the light and moist Dover sole, and the flavorful catch of the day encrusted in salt. It’s not just service with a smile, but anticipating what you might want, prior to your request.
The Eden Rock Hotel is basically the center of the St. Bart’s universe in St. Jean. As we walk the stairs of the Promontory Point, we find On the Rocks, a Jean-Georges restaurant, which has their motto, “Creativity, Pride, Passion,” written on the walls. Diego, the restaurant manager, is amiable, knowledgeable, and in command. He doesn’t choose for us but in giving the choices, creates our direction. First, Amuse-bouche, then each dish over the course of dinner is beautifully presented. As we leave, hand-in-hand down the steps, we see the Sand Bar but choose to go home rather than party on.
Another night, we dine at Le Cheval Blanc, on Flamands Beach. We are invited for a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres at Le White Bar, on the beach, for the Yellow Party hosted by Veuve Cliquot. Our prix fixe dinner starts with the smooth and velvety pâté de foie gras, continuing to a chilled tomato lobster soup, followed by a soft and flaky Hake in a sweet Japanese glaze and then lamb. Oh the lamb, perfectly roasted and presented, each bite is so tender, bursting with the juices of the many tastes incorporated into the dish. We complete the evening with a dessert of chocolate nuggat and fondant wraps.
Driving the small island is simple, so it’s easy to find the different beaches, including the secluded Saline Beach, Shell Beach with a restaurant and bar, Gouverneurs Beach which is five minutes from town, St. Jean Beach in the middle of everything, or Columbier which is the old Rockefeller Estate. You can see the beaches all by renting a car and following the well marked roads of St. Bart’s.
Just as easy as getting around St. Bart’s is getting to St. Bart’s. We recommend Tradewinds Airlines from San Juan, which meets Jet Blue flights. Our flight left JFK at midnight and we were in Puerto Rico before dawn. We found the private waiting area for Tradewinds and left at dawn for the one-hour flight in our semi- private propjet. (T,he only other passengers on the 8-seat plane are the two pilots.)
On our luxurious Tradewinds flight home, we smile thinking about our stories from our time in St. Bart’s. We agree that the island has perfected the art of luxury experience and Le Sereno has perfected the art of the honeymoon. — Stan Cohen
888.537.3766 (888-Le-Sereno), www.lesereno.com