Spirited St. Barths

Continued (page 2 of 2)

Over cocktails one night at Guanahani with local jewelry designer Donna del Sol, we discuss St. Barths' style—that distinct brand of laid-back glamour emulated all over the world. I find its origins the next day in the capital city, Gustavia, which surely holds the world record for the most high-fashion boutiques per capita. Simpler pleasures can be had in the backstreets, where there's a brisk trade in Panama hats and Cuban cigars.

St. Barths is one of those destinations travelers get very passionate about, and the Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France attracts more than its share of aficionados. The style here is French country meets the Hamptons—charming white-on-white furn-ishings, marble floors, mirror-framed botanical prints and long, breezy corridors flanked by white columns. On arrival I'm greeted with a cheery "Welcome home!" and the uniformly good-looking staff seem sincere about making it feel that way. Every moment feels like a page out of a fashion spread: By day, beautiful, tanned couples sun in lounge chairs set on the perfect white arc of beach; by night, models showcasing items from the boutique strut among candlelit tables in the chic open-air restaurant.

In the spirit of St. Barths, I end my stay on a gourmet high note at the acclaimed Italian restaurant L'Isola, in Gustavia. Like everything else about this enchanted isle, the vibe here is stylish without being uptight. As I sample an amuse-bouche of meltingly delicate polenta followed by a portobello salad flavored with truffle oil, I sigh happily and raise my glass in a silent toast to romantic hotels, world-class dining and inimitable style: the perfect recipe for an intoxicating honeymoon.

Hôtel Le Toiny, suites from $739, letoiny.com. Hôtel Guanahani & Spa, rooms from $562, leguanahani.com. Hotel Saint-Barths Isle de France, rooms from $675, isle-de-france.com.

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