Thursday, 25 November 2010
An Unmatched Setting, Part Villa Life, Part Island Lore
Location: St.-Jean's Bay, St. Barthelemy, Lesser Antiles (French West Indies)

Eden Rock: almost an island
Jutting dramatically from a quartzite promontory between two perfect white-sand beaches and sunounded on three sides by water, this muchphotographed, castlelike landmark was built as the home of onetime St. Barts mayor Remy de Haenen. The first pilot to land on the island (in 1947) and father of the island's tourism industry he found this spot, recognized it as a piece of paradise, and named his house accordingly. Many of Eden Rock's nine tasteful guest rooms seem to be suspended over St.-Jean's Bay-St. Barts's best swimming beach-with the sound of crashing waves serving as background music, and behemoth mosquito-netswathed four-poster beds standing so high you'll need a stepstool to jump aboard. The atmospheric terrace bar/restaurant has long been a legendary rendezvous for whiling away the late-afternoon hours before an artful and ambitious meal at the hotel's stylish Eden Beach Restaurant.

WHAT: hotel, restaurant. WHERE: 2 miles/3 km east of Gustavia, 6 miles/10 km from the airport. Tel 590/590-29-79-99, fax 59O/590-27-88-37; in the U.S., tel 877-563-7105;; COST: doubles from $280 (low season), from $520 (high season). Dinner $60. BEST TIME: Nov., Jan. and Mar.

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