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La Banane 4.0

St. Barts

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • 9 Parisian-style bungalows with colorful vintage furnishings and hand-painted walls
  • Each bungalow has its own private terrace
  • Quiet and secluded location with sexy, intimate vibe
  • Minutes from beach, restaurants, and boutiques
  • Cool lounge and bar area

Cons

  • Dense tropical floral and window-less shutters attract hordes of mosquitoes
  • No spa
  • No restaurant
  • Some guests complain of odor from open bathrooms/plumbing

Bottom Line

This retro-chic boutique villa located just a skip away from Lorient Bay makes up for a lack of amenities with a hipper-than-thou vibe. It's a Parisian escape on St. Barts, with rooms inspired by 1950s Paris -- white and pastel blues and tile, open bathrooms, art books, wall murals, and vintage minimalist furnishings. The nine freestanding bungalows all have indoor/outdoor showers and private terraces, and two small pools are surrounded by palm trees and white lounge chairs. This place is tres chic -- not to mention sexy. It was previously a nightlife hotspot before transitioning into a villa rental in late 2015. Since the entire property must be rented, it's best suited to groups or families; couples seeking serious privacy with cash to spend will also likely be happy here.

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Scene

This tres chic, 1950s-inspired boutique hotel attracts well-heeled travelers with an eye for design.

Lobby

Guests encountering La Banane for the first time may have a few doubts upon first arriving. A turn into a shopping center leads to a non-descript alleyway blocked off by a chain, where, to the left, only a tiny graphic -- La Banane’s logo -- on a curved white stucco wall gives away the hotel’s entrance. Hit the call button and, suddenly, a heavy wooden panel opens, revealing a secret paradise exploding with lush tropical flora.

A short walk through the weaving thicket gives way to the main property. Small as it is, the impact is huge. A spacious deck, flanked by two pools leads to an open-air library and lounge. Here, banana yellow walls are artfully stenciled, vintage Eisenhower chairs are covered in funky mint and brown patterned upholstery, and tables are covered with art books and stuffed parrots. 

The ‘’tres chic’’ vibe continues in La Banane’s nine bungalows, each freestanding and featuring its own private terrace. Whitewashed beams form vaulted ceilings while baby blue walls, lobster orange fixtures, and Danish mid-century furniture manage to combine the austerity of modernism with a breezy and colorful tropical feel. In the bathrooms, blob-shaped turquoise tiles line massive showers, each of which has its own outdoor terrace and garden filled with palm trees, bamboo, and fragrant frangipani. That there is no restaurant, gym or spa is something design lovers will easily overlook. Of course, there is also the lack of beachfront. However, Lorient Beach, one of the island’s prettiest and quietest, is just a five-minute walk away.

La Banane previously operated as a hotel before undergoing renovations and transitioning into a villa rental. Gone are its days as a sexy nightlife spot, now more of a secluded oasis for privacy-seeking travelers with money to spend. This of course includes the Kardashian family, who vacationed here in 2015. 

Location

Near Lorient Bay on the northern side of the island, with plenty of small businesses nearby

Map of La Banane

Smack in the middle of the island on the northern side, just past Lorient, La Banane is located in a rather non-descript shopping center -- not exactly a luxe setting, but it certainly ensures quiet and calm nights. It also gives guests the ease of a grocery store, restaurants, a gift shop, a spa, and an ATM all just steps from the hotel’s front gate. Within 5 to 10 minutes on foot are additional attractions: patisseries and boulangeries, burger joints and boutiques, and a lovely little beach that doesn’t seem to attract too much of a crowd. Be sure to spend some time ambling through Lorient’s flower-strewn cemeteries and historical 19th-century church. The hotel's central location also puts it in close range of other St. Barts destinations -- Gustavia, St-James, and the airport are all less than 15 minutes away.

The island of St. Barts is just eight square miles and filled with beaches, wildlife, plant life, luxury yachts, designer boutiques, and celebrities. The rich come here to relax, sun, and mingle on their yachts. It's truly a paradise.

  • 7-minute drive to Saint-Barthélemy Airport
  • 10-minute drive to Gustavia Harbor for ferry service
  • 1-minute walk to a small shopping center with a grocery store, two restaurants, a spa, an ATM
  • 5-minute walk to Lorient Bay and beach
  • 7-minute drive to St-Jean Beach
  • 10-minute drive to Gustavia

Rooms

Sexy and Parisian -- but watch out for the mosquitoes

The Juliette Deuxe Bungalow

The details in each of the hotel’s nine secluded bungalows read like a who’s who list of art and interiors: In each room, lovingly restored vintage pieces from Pierre Jeanneret, Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, Serge Mouille, and other design greats can be found. The result is retro chic, and very bright -- lots of white and crisp pale blues.

The bungalows themselves are spacious and minimalist -- a lamp here, a chair there. And the beds have mosquito netting (very necessary given all the insects flying about). The space has an open plan, with an open (and large) bathroom -- which leads right out to the private terrace, which is lush, with bamboo and palm-filled gardens.

Technologically, however, the rooms are rather weak, with tiny flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and not much else. Nobody comes to St. Barts to watch TV all day, but an iPod dock would have been a nice touch.

You’ll be tempted to leave your whitewashed shutters open all day just for the sound of the wind whooshing through the jungle outside, but beware of the hordes of mosquitoes that come with such lush landscapes. The hotel is as diligent as can be about the problem, with exterminators frequently visiting; however, no amount of bug spray will keep you safe. If you do leave your doors and windows open, be prepared to make a sport of killing the little buggers, and just be thankful for the mosquito nets, which housekeeping arranges at turndown.

The smaller bungalows can feel a bit cramped in the bedrooms (though the bathrooms are quite spacious). The more spacious rooms feature writing desks, additional armoires, larger terraces, and a few additional perks like robes and Nespresso machines with free coffee.

  • Chic bungalows, each with large open baths and private terraces
  • Mini-fridges with free sodas and water in all units
  • Extra-large French toiletries from Aqua de Parma in all units
  • Spacious indoor/outdoor showers with blue tiling, rainfall showerheads
  • 22-inch flat screen TVs with only a handful of English channels
  • Ceiling fans, AC, and vaulted ceilings in all units
  • Terraces with padded benches, chairs, and/or loungers in all units; some have table and chairs
  • Windowless shutters invite mosquitoes into the rooms if left open
  • Free Wi-Fi

Features

Few amenities, including the lounge area and pools

Lounge and Library

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Things You Should Know About La Banane

Address

Baie de Lorient, St. Barthelemy, French West Indies 97133

Phone

(59) 052-0300

Also Known As

  • Hotel La Banane

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