NEW YORK -- To herald the winter season, St. Barts gathered many of
its hoteliers, chefs, restaurant owners and island officials and
headed north to New York, touting baguettes and brochures for
Although many of the island's hotels and villas are sold out for
the Christmas holidays, "the winter season remains uncertain in
terms of bookings," according to Bruno Magras, mayor of St.
"Business is picking up, and we are hopeful that that trend
continues," he said. Magras emphasized that the safety and security
of visitors to St. Barts "are our concerns, as well."
Accommodations on St. Barts range from bungalows and cottages to
small, four-star hotels and multi-bedroom vacation villas.
Price levels for accommodations range from budget rates to
"It is important that agents know there is a price range and a
property on St. Barts to suit everyone," Magras said.
Hotel news from St. Barts includes the following:
• Sereno Beach Hotel, next to the Guanahani on Grand Cul de Sac,
reopened Nov. 1 after a two-month closure by new owner Andre
Balazs. The 32-room property formerly was owned by a French company
Michael Rawson, vice president of operations, said Sereno Beach
will undergo a major construction program next year.
Changes this year include the arrival of a new chef and an
updated room service operation. Next year's projects include a redo
of the pool units and the addition of eight suites.
"We want to reposition Sereno as a luxury property," Rawson
said. "The construction will be completed before next winter."
Sereno's rates in the 2003-2004 season will be higher as a
result. Rates this winter start at $220 per room, per night,
double, with breakfast. Packages are available through a number of
"The New York area represents our major market, and agents
provide the bulk of the bookings," Rawson said. "Business is pretty
evenly split between U.S. and French clients."
The property originally opened in the 1970s with 18 rooms; 14
beachfront suites were added in 1990. The current general manager
is Alistair Maclean.
For details and information, visit the hotel's Web site at www.serenobeach.com.
• La Banane in Lorient completed renovations on its nine
bungalows, which now feature contemporary furnishings, DVDs,
minibars and patios or gardens.
Facilities include two pools, a reading room and library and a
bar. Guests have access to a boat and car and nearby tennis,
fishing and water sports.
For information, visit www.labanane.com.
• A new suite will be available this winter at Eden Rock in St.
Jean. The property now has 14 units that include suites, rooms,
cottages and cabins. Other facilities include a spa, a pool and
Winter rates start at $340 per room, per night, double, with
transfers, breakfast and use of kayaks and snorkel gear.
For information, call (877) 563-7105 or visit www.edenrockhotel.com.
• The 75-room Hotel Guanahani on Grand Cul de Sac will again
offer its Culinary Festival next fall and will offer packages in
conjunction with the St. Bart Music Festival from Jan. 14 to 25 and
the St. Bart Film Festival from April 25 to 30.
Winter rack rates start at $500 per room, per night, single or
double, with transfers, breakfast, tennis and water sports.
For reservations, call Leading Hotels of the World at (800)
223-6800 or visit www.leguanahani.com.
In other news:
• Delta Airlines will launch three flights a week from Atlanta
to St. Maarten on Dec. 7.
• One of the main roads leading into the capital of Gustavia
will reopen next month to help relieve congestion in and out of
• Espace Gambier at the entrance to Gustavia has been renovated
and now features a fish market with the catch of the day on
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St. Barts on the Web