A landmark St. Barts property shuttered since 2013 is breathing new life once again.
The Hotel Barriere Le Carl Gustaf St. Barth, set in the foothills of Gustavia, but was built in the 1970s, closed in 2013 and was purchased in 2016, said general manager Emmanuelle Cipriani, general manager. Renovations to the property were disrupted by the 2017 hurricanes.
The property officially opened last fall, closed briefly during this year's hurricane season and welcomed guests again in late October of this year.
"An older couple appeared in the lobby recently," Cipriani said. "They recognized the hotel and told me they had stayed here several times years ago because it felt like a home. They were happy to be back here years later."
The Le Carl Gustaf's look and feel
The French designers Gilles & Bossier incorporated new elements during the design and decorating phase but kept the original footprint and feel of Le Carl Gustaf.
(The hotel is named for the king of Sweden. St. Bart's, now a French Overseas Collectivity, was a Swedish colony from 1784 to 1876.)
Le Carl Gustaf is the only hotel on the island with panoramic views of the port and harbor of Gustavia, according to Cipriani.
The red-roofed boutique property has 21 luxury rooms, suites and bungalows, including a penthouse suite and the colonial-style Villa Diane that can accommodate up to 12 guests, with five bedrooms, two terraces, an infinity pool. All rooms throughout the property have sea views.
Guests are within walking distance of lively Gustavia, with its shops and galleries, as well as Shell Beach, with lounge chairs, and the hotel's Shellona restaurant.
The other dining choice at Le Carl Gustaf is its brasserie-style Fouquet's restaurant overseen by three-star Michelin chef Pierre Gagnaire, whose menu is a blend of French and Caribbean dishes.
Guest activities include treatments at Spa Diane Barriere, aqua biking in the suites' plunge pools, exploring the island on electric bikes provided by the hotel, use of the fitness center and the yoga studio, private picnic lunches and catamaran sails.
There is a kids' club during the holiday periods for the 5-to-12-year-old set.
St. Barts is open for travel
"There is high demand for St. Barts these days. Close to 40% of our guests are repeat guests and more than 80% are from the U.S. as well as Mexico, Europe and Russia. Most from the U.S. stay four to five nights, but Europeans stay longer and we have a 10-night requirement during the New Year period," Cipriani said.
All visitors must be fully vaccinated to enter, provide a negative PCR test result taken three days prior to arrival or a rapid antigen test two days ahead of travel. Those who transit through St. Maarten must pre-register to enter; those coming through Puerto Rico must show the result of the negative PCR test.
More than 90% of the population of St. Barts, approximately 10,000, are vaccinated, Cipriani said. The hotel has on-site testing for guests returning to the U.S.
Commissions range from 10% to 15%, and the hotel plans several fam trips for travel advisors in 2022.