Eden Rock St. Barth – Where A Pug Playing Fetch With Fergie Isn’t Too Far Fetched
By Si Si Penaloza
As the first hotel to open on Saint Barthélemy, Eden Rock St. Barth has been a beacon to glamour pusses for over 60 years. Case in point, Greta Garbo once checked in under the name Suzy Schmidt for a weekend and became so enamored with the ambiance that she ended up staying three weeks. Howard Hughes also famously graced the hotel with his considerable star power. The iconic hotel commands the most spectacular site on the island, a quartzite promontory cleaving St. Jean Bay into a pair of dramatic white sand crescents. Even on an island known for gourmet seafood and luxury resorts, I can see why this icon stands above — the draw of celebrated chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, stunning bay views, and superlative service.
Chic and doting owners David and Jane Matthews have made this the island’s most fashionable address, where even celebrities come to people-watch. This legendary hotel exerts a magnetic pull on such celebrities as Bono, Tom Hanks, Mick Jagger, Fergie and Josh Duhamel. Sarah Jessica Parker and Gisele Bundchen apparently enjoy shopping at the hotel’s boutique, which is more mini-Bergdorf Goodman than mere gift shop. An impressive 70 percent of reservations are repeat guests, a testament to the Matthews family conviviality. They arrive as customers and return as loyal friends.
Speaking of loyal friends, who can bear to leave the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at home when visiting such a King Charles worthy property? The good news is, Eden Rock St. Barth gets it. The best seaside holidays include our significant furry others. The property accepts pets of all sizes for an additional fee of 50 euros (about $56 USD) per night.
The legend of this hotel is as juicy as it gets. In 1945, the first plane to touch down on the island of Saint Barthélemy was piloted by the eccentric adventurer, Remy de Haenen. Erected in 1950, Eden Rock was built as de Haenen’s private home and became a bolt-hole for his Hollywood friends. The Rockefeller and Rothschild families dropped by for a visit and became so smitten with the island that they also purchased land and built homes.
At the 34-suite Eden Rock, big shots flock to the specialty villas. You’ll enjoy access to such exclusive assets as a private art gallery (in the Villa Nina) or a recording studio (in Villa Rockstar). The 16,000-square-foot, three-level Villa Rockstar features four master suites, Rimadesio furnishings, a Shiffini kitchen, screening room, gym, office, dining facilities for 12 people, private swimming and hydrotherapy pools, a billiards table, and a full-time butler. Oh, and there’s a 40-bottle whiskey bar to boot. Open the garage to find designer surfboards, a Mini Cooper and Harley Davidson at your disposal. Ultimate amenity? John Lennon recorded Imagine on the console that’s now installed in Villa Rockstar’s private recording studio.
I check into the resort’s infamous Freddie Mercury suite at Villa Rockstar, boasting the most blinged-out bathroom I’ve seen yet – hundreds of 24-carat white gold tiles encircle an oval stone Boffi bathtub big enough for two. Bulgari and Ligne St. Barths toiletries line the countertop. Like something out of Bond film, a curvaceous leather chair swivels in the center of the room facing the soaking tub; I start to imagine all the whimsical banter and flirtatious escalations that must have gone down in here over the years. As a professional travel writer for over a decade, I thought I’d seen it all in the lavish bathroom category. You just feel the wealth wash over you in this circular lavatory lair, likely the equivalent of a year’s tuition at Yale.
I hit the hotel’s beach for a lazy, post brunch massage in the resort’s private spa cabana. Like everything here, the spa culture is laid back and at the guest’s own pace, and fancy; treatments can be enjoyed in the spa cabana, on the beach, or in your suite. With plenty of room to set up a massage table in the suite, melting into a beauty treatment in this one-of-a-kind designer gem is what spa dreams are made of.
As this is one of crown jewels in the Relais & Châteaux portfolio, Club 5C members can earn and use their rewards here so start saving up for a big splurge with your pooch! Be it the sublime St. Jean beach setting, or the likelihood of your dog playing a spontaneous game of fetch with Cameron Diaz on the Sand Bar, Eden Rock St. Barths remains the undisputed epicenter of style on celebrity-studded St. Bart’s.
Eden Rock St. Barths, St. Jean Bay, Saint Barthélemy, French West Indies; 1-855-333-6762; www.edenrockhotel.com