Sea spa: French infusions at St Barths' Villa Marie spa
by Risa Merl
Where is it?
Villa Marie’s Pure Altitude spa is set high on the hills above Flamand Bay in St Barths. From this spot, the resort offers unspoilt views over the remote and pristine Colombier beach below, the last on the island to not be accessible by car. The hotel itself, however, is an easy journey from Gustavia, where superyacht owners congregate during the Caribbean season.
Why the hype?
This may be Maisons & Hotels Sibuet’s only property outside mainland France, but it takes Gallic charm so seriously that you could be in la mère patrie (but with more dramatic scenery). Its founder Jocelyne Sibuet has effortlessly combined Côte d’Azur style with island chic – think plantation shutters, a rich tropical-themed interior and seashell macramé chandeliers.
What to have?
The spa, adorned with palm tree prints, uses the brand’s Pure Altitude skincare line, which was created in the alpine resort of Megève. To refresh your sun-soaked body, combine the best of both sides of the pond with the Caribbean Ritual. Over a 50-minute period your therapist will gently knead your skin with a soothing gel scented with neroli (a scintillating bitter orange). Pair this with a personalised facial, such as the Bulle d’Oxygène, that uses reflexology techniques to calm your mind, smooth the skin and make your complexion glow.
After you’re suitably refreshed, it’s only a few steps to the dining room of the François Plantation restaurant, another suitably French affair. Order the ceviche starter, the chef’s special bouillabaisse, and don’t forget to leave room for the delectable lemon soufflé.
Best by boat:
Nab a spot in the Port de Gustavia and it’s just a 15 minute spin up the hill to Villa Marie.