Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
A laid-back, intimate beach hotel with all of the amenities of a resort
With a name that aptly means “small paradise,” Hôtel Le Manapany Cottages & Spa is an intimate beach hotel with all of the trappings of a resort and none of the sprawl. The steep hillside grounds of this 46-room property are infused in their natural surroundings with winding pathways through coconut groves and a natural coastline that shifts with the trade winds. The laid-back vibe is less luxury, more relaxed retreat.
For such an intimate number of rooms, Manapany has a wealth of amenities. Some of them are excellent: the four-treatment room Spa Payot is a holistic sanctuary with a diverse therapy menu; the pool features excellent ocean views and comfy padded loungers; the tennis court and fitness center look brand new.
Unfortunately, the beach is narrow and rocky, with seaweed everywhere and unruly waves. Additionally, the restaurant has prices that rival Hotel Guanahani’s exceptional Bartoloméo -- but Manapany’s Fellini simply cannot compete. Still, guests don’t seem all that bothered by the untamed beachfront, and the property as a whole manages to maintain a quiet and intimate vibe that rivals far more expensive resorts.
On the northwest side of the island with nothing within walking distance, and a 10-minute drive to Gustavia
This part of St. Barts is sparsely populated with hardly any businesses nearby, and there are lots of winding roads before reaching the arched sign that says “Manapany.” There is nothing within walking distance, but the areas of St. Jean and Gustavia are a quick drive away.
Those who forgo a car rental should be advised that, although the island does widely accept American dollars, some taxi drivers will penalize you greatly for using foreign currency by charging obscenely high rates.
Standard rooms are almost dull; beachfront suites are better
The room decor falls short of achieving the same stylishness as the public areas. Varying greatly in style, the best rooms feature white rattan furnishings, carved wood canopy beds, and breathtaking views of the ocean. The worst rooms are either overtly spare with bland furniture attempting to fill the whitewashed spaces, or monastery-like with no-frills beds and worn furnishings.
Proximity to the ocean also varies greatly. Guests may book an ocean view, but that doesn't mean the room will be close to the ocean -- due to the resort’s hillside location, some rooms require several minutes' walk to the beach even though the water can be seen from the room's balcony.
The beachfront suites are the resort’s newest, but they still could use more attention. Unfinished wooden doors and ceilings would look more at home in log cabins than tropical suites (though they do add a fragrant smell), and furnishings are minimal.
All the features of a grand resort -- just on a smaller scale
Located directly on intimate Anse de Cayes, Le Manapany has many admirable features: a fantastic pool deck, a nice beachfront restaurant, a tranquil spa, a small boutique, and direct beach access. But the rooms vary greatly in both size and style -- ranging from overtly stark modern to Robinson Crusoe chic and everything in between. Some guests complain they are smaller and not as chic as others on St. Barts. But then again, it's hard to come by this many amenities at this price point anywhere else on the island. Manapany’s biggest competitor is the posh Hotel Guanahani & Spa, which is far more refined -- and much more expensive. For travelers travelers looking for more features than a boutique hotel can offer, but lower rates than the luxury resorts require, Manapany is about as good as it gets.