Shoulder to shoulder with its fellow five-star resort Guanahani, the smartly managed Le Sereno sits on a sweet stretch of Grand Cul-de-Sac beachfront. The property's sleek and sexy minimalism is the work of Paris designer Christian Liaigre. Rooms are simply furnished in a white-on-white palette, with gleaming wood floors and louvered windows. Many have fourposter beds draped in gauzy netting; all are outfitted with practically every contemporary media tool (plasma TVs, personal iPods) required for a 21st-century life. Liagre had to work around the bones of an existing hotel, and some rooms are clearly better than others. The Grand Suite Plage rooms #20–35, for example, are the same category as the other Grand Suite Plage rooms, but are much more spacious. For those for whom the sky is the limit, the three-bedroom villas reside at the resort's highest point, up on a hillside with wide-angle views of Grand Cul-de-Sac (and in winter, humpback whales passing by). Each of these villas comes with a private pool, a butler, and Top Chef–worthy kitchens. Back down on the beach, the action is at the resort's main pool and the newly relaunched restaurant, Le Sereno (the fact that this upmarket hotel has a well-considered kids' menu is testament to its big-hearted, kid-welcoming vibe).
St. Barts› Hotel
Our Rating Neighborhood Grand Cul-de-Sac Phone 888/LESERENO (537-3736) in the U.S. or 590/29-83-00 Prices Winter €730–€1,350 suite, €1,450–€3,740 villa; off- season €550–€840 suite, €995–€1,995 villa; call for rates for three-bedroom villas; rates include full breakfast, service charges, and airport transfers (including VIP service in St. Maarten airport); closed Aug 26–Oct 25 Units 39 Amenities Restaurant, 2 bars, fitness center, freshwater outdoor pool, 24-hr. room service, spa, watersports equipment, Wi-Fi (free) Web site Le Sereno