This Luxury Hotel on St. Barts Offers Some of the Best Postcard-worthy Views on the Island

Is it a screensaver or the Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf?

A view overlooking a harbor in St. Barts
Photo: Courtesy of Alison Fox

When you Google the island of St. Barts, you're immediately tempted by images of teal water and luxury yachts, surrounded by lush mountains and calming palm trees. And even though the photos may be beautiful, the in-person view outside my window couldn't even compare.

Arriving at the only 5-star hotel in the island's capital of Gustavia, I could tell just from the lobby that the views from the Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf were unmatched.

a nicely displayed table overlooking a view of the harbor in St. Barts
Courtesy of Alison Fox

"It's just breathtaking," Andrei Mocanu, the hotel's general manager said. "You're wondering, 'Is this place real?' when you see the harbor, the rocks coming out of the water, the sunset."

The Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf opened in October 2020, and is revamped property that had been closed for years. Each of the hotel's 21 bungalows and suites boast a private terrace (with an amazing view, of course) that just begs travelers to slow down and take it all in.

Decorative chairs in St. Barts
Courtesy of Alison Fox

My two-bedroom suite was a welcome mix of the Caribbean and the south of France with tropical green-printed cushions in the sitting room, white shiplap, light pink accents on the bed, and a bathroom swathed in marble, all open to a postcard-perfect view of the port of Gustavia.

I awoke the next morning to a basket of fresh, flakey croissants and a double cappuccino, relaxing on the yellow and white-striped settee on the balcony, palm trees swaying lazily in the wind as if to say bonjour. A quick walk down the road brought me to Shell Beach, a short stretch of sand filled with countless tiny shells and dotted with soft daybeds, which hotel guests are welcome to. After a dip in the water and a snack of hummus and tzatziki at Shellona, the hotel's beachfront restaurant, I settled on a lounge chair and watched the sun slowly dip below the horizon.

A breakfast platter on a table in St. Barts
Courtesy of Alison Fox

Fortunate for anyone dreaming of the French Caribbean, the hotel is currently offering a a free night for guests that book a minimum of 4 nights from now until June 30.

There's really no such thing as a bad view on St. Barts. It starts from the moment you descend in a tiny commuter plane, diving over dense green mountains, the deep blue water stretched out below, to the moment you're forced to leave. But there's something even more unique about being a stone's throw from town — with no car required.

"Our guests, they love the immersion into the culture… meeting the locals — you can see the fisherman pulling in the fish, it's more authentic," while gushing over the view.

A sunset on the beach in St. Barts
Courtesy of Alison Fox

Locals like to say St. Barts is really just a piece of land that broke away from the south of France and floated off into the Caribbean. And when you're walking through Gustavia, it's easy to see why.

The next day, I headed down the hill into town, strolling along the water and onto Rue de la Republique, a row of top French designers from Hermes and Dior to Cartier and Louis Vuitton. A collection of smaller boutiques beckon as well, like Pop Saint Barth, filled with long, flowy dresses and rattan clutches, and Sunday, a Saint-Tropez transplant, where I eyed chic beach cover ups in delicate patterns.

For my last night in paradise, I sat down to dinner at Le Fouquet's, an outdoor brasserie on the top of Le Carl Gustaf serving classic French fare. I sipped a tangy cocktail, perfumed with actual edible perfume, and indulged in a rich plate of potato gnocchi with truffle cream and thinly shaved black truffles, laughing the night away in the Caribbean breeze.

St. Barts beach
Courtesy of Alison Fox

On my final morning in paradise, I ate my last breakfast of fresh-baked pastries on the balcony of my room as I packed my suitcase and my new floppy hat. As I got ready to leave, I took one last look at the harbor and town below, hypnotized by the vibrant blue of the water and deep green of the mountains, knowing that no matter how many pictures I had taken, a photo would never really do it justice.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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