We had a wonderful one week stay at Eden Rock Aug 16-23, one week of a two week vacation where we then went to St Martin. For those that are not familiar with St Barts, the entire island shuts down end of August which is why you probably wouldn’t see any reviews for stays in Sept/Oct – that is why we went to Eden Rock first and then St Martin as we were there the last week before Eden Rock closed. See separate review of La Samanna and St Martin which I do not recommend for the type of traveller that will enjoy St Barts. To give context (which I always find important in TA reviews) we are both professionals in our 40s, work in NYC, travel at least four times a year and most recently have been doing adults-only all inclusives like Iberostars, Secrets Maroma etc. and travel extensively for business at true 5 stars around the world in India, China and through out Europe.
General: First of all - as all the reviews say its expensive – stupid expensive if you really want to just enjoy yourself especially staying at a place like Eden Rock but it was worth it. Also if for some reason you are interested in trying St Martin on your trip, do that first and then do St Barts. St Martin was not our cup of tea at all and it probably made it worse that we had just come from Eden Rock. We stayed one night in a rock classic (Flamboyant room) and then the remainder of our week in an ocean front beach room. The rock classic, while roomy and well appointed was tucked into the ‘rock’ itself and had a number of stairs to climb to get to whereas the beach room was literally a walk out to the beach which we preferred. We were there during low season so it was obviously a bit quieter than it would be but the resort had a decent amount of people still there the last week before closing so if you are looking to experience St Barts in August and want to check it out first before going on high season (the room we were in was $1000 a night during low season and is triple that for high season, so a tester for those new to St Barts I would highly recommend it. The island is extremely safe and doesn’t have any poverty that can be seen to the casual traveller which is unusual for many island locations.
Pros: The beach is beautiful and you don’t miss the fact that there is no pool. It is clean with enough waves to make it fun to hang out in if you want and they have an array of non-motorized water sports available shore side. The view is stunning and while there are many other beaches to visit which you really should with the rental car you get with the room rate, if you are there for a short trip could do just fine on the beach at the resort. While there were children at the hotel when we were there they were well behaved and it didn’t really bother us as much as much as we thought coming from AI’s all the time. I felt comfortable sunbathing topless even if I was the only one out there. Once you select a chair on the beach it is yours for the whole stay so we didn’t have to worry about getting chairs and an umbrella late in the afternoon or to go reserve them in the morning. If you don’t get a great set up the first day ask the beach boys for a spot you like and they can check to see whether they will free up which is what we did and got a private spot near the end. The food was terrific and the drinks are innovative and delicious. We only ate once at On the Rocks and the lunch restaurant and both were very good – we were interested to explore the island at night ate elsewhere the rest of the week (see separate reviews but highly recommend L’Isola and Le Ti don’t recommend Wall House and sort of recommend Bonito, although primarily on service which may have been because we were american and not french). Gale the bartender at on the rocks was wonderful as was Frederique, the guest services manager. All the staff are friendly and helpful and while I don’t speak a lot of French I found that using the little bit I knew was appreciated. The beach room was a nice size, as you would expect in a resort like this with a nice porch area to relax in. The rental car is great to go explore the island which we did by day to visit Saline and Govenor beach which we highly recommend. There is clothing optional sections to the beach which we find fun – pack a cooler and made a day of it then come back to the beautiful relaxing beach at Eden Rock. We personally took cabs at night and used Rudy (recommended by Frederique) each night he was wonderful – 30 or 20 euros each way to the furthest point on the island and we could call him any time of the night which was helpful. The roads are interesting – literally no street signs and I am not the best navigator with the map but you can only get so lost by day – at night after a few drinks different story recommend taking a cab. Housekeeping was always prompt and as soon as we put the ‘housekeeping needed’ sign up the next time we were in the room it was made up. Even small details like replacing sugar packets, coffee and qtips were tended to daily which was appreciated.
Cons: While I realize there isn’t much room for expansion in resort as it is literally in a rock, the gym was smaller than we would have expected and didn’t take advantage of the stunning views as there were no windows. Of the two treadmills that were in there one of them wasn’t working for the majority of our stay. Also the safe in our room was unusually small. We were on a two week holiday and both needed our laptops (which are the small lightweight ones) in case of work emergencies and they literally did not fit in the safe they were too large. Then trying to get jewellery, ipads, phones, expensive evening bags in there and it was a mess. Many reviewers complained about the breakfast which I guess I can see for the room rate you are paying, however there is an array of food to keep anyone full, just not a lot of protein (only one selection of scrambled eggs which didn’t look so great), but there were fresh baked pastries, fresh baked bread homemade marmalades, fruits, cheeses etc. For your typical american I can see a complaint on this but it was fine for us. There was often a large puddle by the boat shower near the restaurant which they might want to tend to more regularly but overall the resort is well kept.
Recommendations and overall – overall St Barts was for us, which it may not be for everyone because it is pricey but the feel of the island, the people and the beaches are certainly worth trying if you can afford it. Would we come back during high season? Not sure – we may not have gotten to explore it the way we did as we probably wouldn’t have gotten a) into a lot of the restaurants we ate at which were the best on the island and b) gotten the service we did. It was very quiet at night almost too quiet with the exception of Le Ti which we had a ball at – a bit more ‘activity’ would be great but that is not the resorts fault nor the island as the whole place was shutting down in a week. We loved the French/ european feel and loved the fact that most nights at dinner we were the only american’s – if you don’t like that sort of thing then this may not be the place for you.
Is this place five star compared to other 'five star' resorts - probably not but it was definitely 5 star for what it offered.