Our trip last week to St. Barth was the first time any of us had been to the island, and I can confidently say that it will certainly not be the last. In my decades of visiting what seems like every Caribbean Island imaginable, I have yet to experience another island with such well manicured towns and roads, extending well beyond the confines of the resorts. This is one destination which has been on my list for the longest time, but preconceived notions about kids friendliness and ease of travel to the island had kept me away. I can tell you now, I am head over heels in love with the island and the resort.
Our trip started with two days in the neighboring island of St. Maarten, so rather than heading back to the airport, we thought it would be a fun adventure to ride the Voyager Ferry to St. Barths. At just under 40 minutes long, the kids loved sitting on the upper deck of the boat, with the sun shining down, as they enjoyed the magnificent views. And the beautiful scenery on the boat was just the beginning. From the moment we pulled into the marina at St. Barths, we were mesmerized by the crystal blue turquoise waters, and the majestic beauty of the island. I couldn’t wait for the boat to dock, so we could really start to take it all in.
Fortunately, ground transportation was pre arranged by the hotel, so we could enjoy the short 15 minute taxi ride to our resort, Le Guanahani, located within the reserves of Grand Cul-de-Sac, Marigot Bay and Marechal Beach. After check in, we quickly headed over to our villa. It wasn’t your typical hotel room by any means, it was like an apartment, featuring two bedrooms, two and half bathrooms, and our own swimming pool! It was so gorgeous, that I wanted to photograph every inch, so I could build a clone of it, here in the states. Every detail was so well planned, from the sunken jacuzzi in our en suite bedroom, to the steam shower in the kids bathroom, and the private access way to the villa. We all were completely blown away.
Normally when arriving at a hotel, we quickly change from our plane clothes to bathing suits, and run to the hotel pool or beach. With a private pool, there was no pressure to rush out, so we relaxed in the privacy of our own backyard, which was perched on a hillside, overlooking the plush grounds, and the bluest ocean. The private pool also made for more enjoyable nap times, because we weren’t confined in a hotel room, in the dark, while the girls slept.
Even with the pool, we were eager to explore the resort, so later that afternoon, we went for a stroll. Le Guanahani is spread out over 18 secluded tropical acres on its own peninsula. You’d never know it but the hotel offers 30 rooms, 27 suites and 10 signature suites, located in vibrantly hued cottages, which are scattered along garden paths, winding through lush bougainvillea, hibiscus and palms. Finally, we made it down to the beach, to find that the water was surprisingly calm, so the kids could swim, without fear of being pulled out to deeper by strong undertows. These conditions made for perfect water sports, so we made our way over the water activities stand, to plan our water sport for the upcoming days. Ryder quickly picked up some snorkeling gear so he could explore the reef and gather seashells. Le Guanahani also has a beautiful dock located on the Marigot side of the resort, making for fun snorkeling excursions. The girls watched another family paddle back on a kayak, and begged Jason to take them out on the boat. While he and the 3 kids kayaked around the lagoon, I took the opportunity to go out on a paddle board, which is the same way I started every day on the beach, for the remainder of the week. It was a such a treat to have all these and other fun activities offered complimentary to guests, because it kept the kids looking forward to a new activity each day, especially when they were able to clearly see the beautiful sea life of massive size sea turtles swimming around.
Each morning, we rose bright and early and headed to the Indigo restaurant, situated just next to the main pool. With fresh croissants baked to perfection, and delicious poached eggs or egg white omelets made to order, breakfast was something I looked forward to every morning. The kids ordered crepes at every sitting, but there were plenty of other kid friendly options, including waffles, french toast, and pancakes. Some days, we opted for in house dining to bring breakfast to the room, so we could enjoy the meal in our backyard. The kids really enjoyed these breakfasts, because they were followed by an immediate romp in our pool.
Even the children’s menu for lunch and dinner, were healthy options such as grilled fish and veggies which is something I loved to have as an option for them. Le Bartolomeo is another restaurant on the property, offering dinner of Mediterranean cuisine in its sensual gardens, select nights during the week. With their exclusive cook you catch program, guests can head out on a fishing excursion during the day, and have the chef prepare their catch how ever they prefer. All of the cuisine on the property was top shelf, and having rented a car, like most guests staying at the resort, there were more restaurant options only a short distance away. With our amazing room, and the all the resort had to offer, we decided to enjoy the grounds for the first few nights, before venturing out. The biggest decision we tasked ourselves with each day was whether to sit by the beach, hotel pool, or our villa pool!
Le Guanahani’s Kids Club offers fun activities for kids 2 years and older, and my kids were excited to try it out. Actually, after day one, Jason and I had grown just as enthusiastic about the club, because it afforded us a couple of hours each day to enjoy some time alone. At the club, they painted crafts and take home souvenirs, made cookies, and even had a scavenger hunt on the beach. On past trips, the kids were younger, so they were split up in other kids clubs. This trip they were all together, which resulted in a much better experience for them. Plus, it was the first trip that we have taken since Gemma turned two, so we could leave her as well. It was so lovely to have some time to paddle board together, snorkel, and even had a couples massages at the spa by Clarins. The kids enjoy the club so much, that we actually hired two of the kid’s club counselors, through the hotel’s babysitting service, which allowed Jason and I to enjoy our first kid free vacation dinner, since before Ryder was born!
One thing that makes our travel so special is that we are experiencing these wonderful places for the first time together, as a family. Le Guanahani, and the island of St. Barth, struck a chord in all of us, and it’s the most beautiful place we’ve ever visited in our lives. The kids and us are already talking about returning, and I look forward to sharing more photos and stories about the lavish Le Guanahani, in weeks to come.