The Hotel Christopher on St. Bart's might have a good claim to being the island's best value.
Built on a rock promontory offering stunning views of the ocean and the St. Jean area of St. Bart's, the Christopher downplays its lack of a beach and emphasizes its beautiful pool deck and renowned sunsets.
The property was reborn in 2012, after undergoing $11.6 million in renovations since changing owners in 2006.
Located in a private setting at the end of Point Milou, all but five of the hotel's 41 rooms and all of its public areas have since been redesigned and rebuilt.
Its Sisley-branded spa, overlooking the ocean, opened in 2011. For years, the hotel did not have a spa.
Thanks to the upgrades, the hotel received a coveted fifth star from the French tourism board in 2012. And the Christopher is not finished upgrading: It is currently building a hillside villa that will be part of the hotel.
Despite getting the extra star, Christopher's management says that its prices have not significantly changed — for now. Rates begin at under $600 per night in the renovated rooms; nonrenovated rooms begin under $500.
"The fact that we became five-star has not changed the marketing strategy," said Sebastien Maingourd, general manager. "We offer friendly service, and we want to be approachable in terms of price, as well. We try to be a more approachable five-star."
Maingourd added that the hotel did not want to lose its loyal client base by raising its prices right away, even though the hotel is performing much better since the upgrades were made, with better volumes and occupancy.
"For too many years, it was not up to the standards for St. Bart's," he said. "It took a lot of work to turn around the market perception. Little by little, we keep on working at it. We have been successful at repositioning ourselves in the market."
The Christopher's large and sleek infinity pool offers both coastal views of the island's hills and expansive ocean vistas. The waterline is very rocky and not good for swimming, but on St. Bart's, even some of the nicest hotels get away with not having a beach.
"In St. Bart's you rent a car and you go around and go to other beaches," Maingourd said. "People don't stay in their resort; they shop, go to town, go out. We can still be successful without a beach. In some places it wouldn't work. In St. Bart's it works."
The Christopher offers complimentary breakfast to all guests at its newly renovated restaurant Taino, which also serves dinner. And although it's not on the beach, the hotel offers sand-in-your-toes dining at Mango, its poolside bar and lunch restaurant.
Whether at the restaurant or on a poolside lounger, the Christopher offers some of the best sunset views on the island, along with daytime entertainment provided by surfers and other watersports enthusiasts.
The hotel's most coveted seats seem to be along the narrow slice of the deck between the sea and the pool, which guests grab early in the day to lounge in the sun and again in the evening for the dramatic sunsets.
The revamped rooms are ultramodern, with polished concrete floors and stone bath fixtures. Rooms vary from the entry-level, 422-square-foot ocean terrace room category with a king bed, including a small entryway patio with a lounger, to the 847-square-foot panoramic ocean suite with ocean views, a king-size bed, a separate living room with two sofa beds and a 200-square-foot terrace.
During my visit the week before last Thanksgiving, the Christopher had a mix of American and French guests. Despite not having any children's programs, some families brought their kids. The hotel is "family friendly" and also controls the number that come so as to retain its laid-back, quiet vibe.
Follow Johanna Jainchill on Twitter @jjainchilltw.