It’s likely that the extent of your knowledge about the small Caribbean island of St. Barthelemy (or St. Barths/St. Barts, for short) is that it is frequently visited by celebrities and involves a flight from St. Martin that culminates in a dramatic runway landing. Turns out, you’ll also find families flocking to this island full of secluded beaches, high-end shopping, and some of the best seafood you’ve ever tasted. We visited the Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf in St. Barths and found it to be the perfect Caribbean home-away-from-home for families.

Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf

Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf
Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf

Le Carl Gustaf sits on a hill overlooking the harbor in the town of Gustavia on St. Barths. The high-end service offered by the property begins with your arrival at the tiny St. Barths airport where hotel staff will collect you and your belongings for the short ride up the hill.

Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf
Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf

With only 21 suites, lofts, and a villa to choose from, you can be assured that your visit to Le Carl Gustaf will be extraordinary. The villa and lobby/restaurant sit at the top of the property with the remainder of the private rooms down some stairs from there. Each room has its own private plunge pool and you can even have the staff add a water bike to your pool if you wish to use it for workouts. Your deck is an excellent spot for viewing the gorgeous sunsets that this area of the world is known for or enjoying some sunrise yoga.

Families can book a two-bedroom suite or the large villa allows for even more guests to vacation together, perfect for that multi-generational vacation. Rooms near the top of the property have the best views of the marina, while those located at the bottom of the property would be quieter in the evening hours.

The property is home to Spa Diane Barriere where you can book massages, facials, and other body treatments during your stay. There’s also a fitness room located just off the spa that is available to guests.

Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf
Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf/Kate Loweth

Meals are offered at Beefbar, the property’s steakhouse, and you’ll find the breakfast to be something to look forward to. There’s a lovely buffet full of meats, cheeses, fruit, and lots of French pastries like pain au chocolat, madeleines, and canelés. The a la carte menu includes lots of kid-friendly options like Nutella crêpes and waffles.

Come back for the dinner service and you’ll be treated to elevated comfort food with top-notch beef like Black Angus, Kobe, and Wagyu. Favorites from the menu when we visited were the miso caesar salad, KFC (Kobe beef tallow-fried chicken), and the Wagyu bolognese. The menu is full of small shareable plates with something for everyone.

Shell Beach & Shellona Restaurant

Hotel Barriere le carl gustaf st. barts
Shell Beach/Kate Loweth

Just a 5-minute walk down the hill from the resort is a gorgeous secluded beach and the Shellona Restaurant. Guest of Le Carl Gustaf can have lounge chairs booked here so you’ll have somewhere to relax and enjoy the sand. Pop up to the restaurant for a lunch of fresh seafood and Mediterranean specialties.

Visitors to Shell Beach can rent water toys like kayaks and Seabobs to explore the water offshore. Water shoes are highly recommended at Shell Beach as the shells covering the beach can be quite sharp.

Additional Activities in St. Barths

Families looking to see more of St. Barths while staying at Le Carl Gustaf can book activities with the on-site concierge like fishing, watersports, a catamaran day, and swimming in the island’s natural pools.

Just a 10-minute walk down the hill from Le Carl Gustaf is the town of Gustavia where you’ll find high-end shopping, gelato shops, restaurants, souvenir stores, a grocery store, and so much more. Stop by Le Select, the oldest bar in St. Barths, for a bit of relaxation while you are in town.

How to Get to Le Carl Gustaf

Hotel Barriere le carl gustaf st. barts
Le Carl Gustaf/Kate Loweth

You can arrive in St. Barths via a ferry from  St. Martin or by flying into St. Barths airport via Winair or another carrier. This airport is quite small with a very short runway that only allows for small planes. You’ll need to transfer to a small plane at Juliana Airport (SXM) on the Dutch side of St. Maarten where you’ll take a 10-minute flight with a dramatic landing in St. Barths. On your way home, be sure to have the hotel print your boarding passes for you as paper passes make your transfer at Juliana Airport much quicker.

Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf would be ideal for families with elementary or teenaged kids as the proximity to town and Shell Beach make for easy jaunts off-property. Families with younger kids should note that there are many stairs between the lobby and the suites which could make things tricky for little ones.

Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf
Gustavia, St. Barthelemy

Editor’s note: This trip was paid for by Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf but all opinions belong to the writer. 

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