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at the Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France
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Overprized Overcrowded - Poor Service - Its a Rip Off
Jan 10th, 2021
Cheval Blanc St Barth Isle de France is the amalgamation of two hotels, thus making it St Barths largest beach resort; it is also most expensive beach resort. Staffing levels are unsatisfactory (30% understaffed), Service is unconsidered. Rooms are well kitted out (LVMH's touch is apparent everywhere) - yet everything is completely overpriced. If you stay here during Christmas and New Years then you can expect entry level rooms (referred to as Tropical Rooms, with zero ocean views) to start at EURO 4000/night; Ocean view rooms start around EURO 6000/night. Don't stay here for longer than 5 nights - food offerings in both restaurants are limited and you will get tired of its choices. The hotel section of the beach is overcrowded with multiple rows of (120 plus) sun loungers. Don’t expect a distinguished beach service either. Expect having to make constant requests (chasing for service) to remedy for the poor management of this property (don't expect staff to read your mind or exceed your expectations in any way or to go any extra mile). Housekeeping is good – but, again, don’t be surprised if your room gets made up mid Afternoon and if the maid knocks on your door for turn down service at 9.30pm. The General Manager rose through the ranks of the hotel - she used to be a waitress at the hotel restaurant - her lack of experience shows every step of the way (in terms of running what should be a world class resort). (FYI Her husband provided DJ entertainment on New Years Eve). Don't expect anything exceptional from this hotel during the festive season. Stay at Hotel Eden Rock for New Years Eve celebrations - and if you are looking for a beautiful crescent beach with professional management, veer toward Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda which is steeped in Laurence Rockefeller history and natural beauty (managed by Rosewood). Whilst the beach of Cheval Blanc St Barths is beautiful (possibly St Barths 2nd best beach after Gouverneur beach) , its landscape is dotted with many incomplete concrete structures - including one which is overlooking the beach of the hotel. I could go on … - but I gather anyone expecting a world class hotel with personalized & considered service would be better served staying elsewhere ... in terms of value for money, rent a well-managed beach front villa instead! TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
Stunning property but disappointed by the service
Dec 27th, 2020
Unfortunately we were off for a wrong start since the hotel forgot the transfer I had organized from another hotel. After a 40 minutes delay, we finally arrived at the hotel to be greeted by the manager in residence and some members of the staff. No mention and no apologies on the delay. We eventually asked 2 times about what happened and only when we saw again by chance the manager in residence, he offered us a bottle of champagne. The answer on what has happened was "lack of communication between the teams" When you book with Cheval Blanc, they ask you to fill a 3 pages questionnaire on your preferences and who you are going to travel with. My partner and I were therefore a bit surprised when, arriving in the room, to discover that it was set up for a man and a woman (sleepers, flip flop : pink for ladies, brown for gentlemen and bathrobes) After the transfer, it did not feel particularly welcoming either. We were in room 31 which happened to be close to the parking lot and the delivery loading bay. Even though the rooms are quite well isolated against the noise, we were woken up at 5:30am by the garbage truck then deliveries and then trucks for the construction on a new part of the hotel. Luckily we were half-woken-up since we had the surprise to see the neighbor coming in. The communication door between the 2 terraces had been left open. When we went to the reception to ask if the following morning would be quieter, the answer was that they never got a complaint about this bungalow. The following morning they asked about the truck traffic (slightly less but still there) but they still did not propose to change rooms even though the hotel was not full. The communication door which we had closed was again left open even though we had mentioned to them. On the other hand, the hotel is absolutely stunning and the service in both restaurants was excellent. Desserts in the evening restaurant are incredible. And overall the staff is very nice. All in all, a mixed impression due to the lack of attention to details and a certain lack of reactivity when small problems arise. We were coming from le Barthelemy where service was absolutely outstanding. TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
Dec 14th, 2020
We went for a long weekend with friends and could not have enjoyed ourselves more. No doubt that being on our first vacation since the Covid outbreak made this a very welcome break, just being in a warm tropical environment felt especially great. Everything about the hotel met or exceeded our expectations. The room was beautiful, all meals exceptional and the staff both friendly and helpful. Our only disappointment is that we could not stay longer. TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
Disappointing Service and Food
Dec 6th, 2020
To preface my review, I would like to state that although there were many positive aspects of our 14 day stay at the Cheval Blanc, I will begin with the negative critique as I believe the negatives have outweighed the positives on this particular stay. The food at the Cheval Blanc this time around was awful. Not only was the dinner sub par but so was breakfast and lunch. We thought that maybe it was just a rough night for dinner so we decided to go once again as there are not many restaurants in close proximity to the hotel. I hate to have to write this but some the meals were beyond inedible to the point that after sending it back multiple times, I refused to eat it. The lunch was a more appetizing menu with some good options to chose from yet they were never able to deliver exactly what I had ordered. This was also a reoccurring theme at breakfast, as I can tell you that during my 14 day stay not once did they get my order right! Another thing to point out about the food is that it is extremely overpriced for the quality you are getting. Of course, I am aware that everything on the island is very highly priced and that is never a problem but the food was just so terrible that I really felt bad over paying. A couple days ago, I had ordered a simple plate of pasta that tasted extremely overcooked and the sauce was worse than the pre-made stuff you can purchase at any supermarket. The most infuriating incident was when I had ordered a green salad, as I was tired of eating what was on the menu (and too lazy to venture out into Gustavia for food), they had the audacity to charge me 40 euros for a simple arugula and lettuce mix. When I complained to the waiter stating that it seemed unfair, he simply responded that this was the price for a salad on the menu. The people who work at this property are extremely kind and helpful yet they really lack the training of any other five star hotel. They never wrote anything down when ordering so they always messed up my order. Not once did I have an order that I did not need adjustments on. The housekeeping times are very weird but I can deal with that. There were many other incidents which proved to me how untrained and unprepared the staff was, constantly making mistakes, forgetting to book reservations etc… The rooms are nice, especially the ones facing the ocean. The property is very beautiful and there is a nice attention to deal although I found it odd that the staff refills old water bottles with orange juice to serve out of. The pool is also great except it was always impossible to find someone to set up the towels. Overall I will not be going back although this was our second visit and I do not under any circumstance recommend to anybody to go to this hotel. I much prefer the Eden Roc which has a great lunch and dinner menu. TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
Nov 18th, 2020
It breaks my heart to write this review, as I had very high hopes for Cheval Blanc. We very carefully selected where to travel for our first international vacation since Covid started. At the recommendation of our travel agent, we selected Cheval Blanc, and lots of research backed up his assertion that we should expect an incredible stay. Unfortunately, the post-COVID Cheval Blanc fell short in many ways. The biggest issue was how an unfortunate issue was handled. We stayed at Cheval Blanc for 5 nights and were upgraded from a Garden Bungalow to an Ocean Room (thanks to our Virtuoso amenities from our travel agent). On night 3, we woke up in the middle of the night to the noise of a mouse rustling around in our room. While not ideal, we fully understand that things happen, but the reason we select hotels of this caliber (and associated high price point) is because we expect that when things do go wrong, the hotel will go above and beyond to make them right and impact our stay as minimally as possible. While an exterminator came the next afternoon and placed a few traps, unfortunately, it took over 16 hours to hear from anyone on the management team (only after I went to reception twice and my travel agent contacted them directly). At that point, the front desk manager called on behalf of the general manager asking how I was feeling about the situation (disappointed) and said the general manager wanted to offer us lunch on them. There was no offer of moving us to a new room. After I declined (we had existing reservations for the remainder of our stay), she said she would check with the manager again and get back to me. We came back from dinner and there was a nice note and bottle of rose from the GM offering to comp the previous night. I was appreciative of the gesture, and while still disappointed in how everything was handled, I was ready to move forward and enjoy the rest of my trip. Unfortunately, on night 5, we heard the mouse scampering around our room again at 2am - which was exactly why we had hoped for a room move from the beginning. The front desk staff did move us to a new room at 2am. After contacting her via email, I finally had the chance to speak to the GM in person the next morning. She was extremely apologetic, felt terrible about how things were handled, and truly gave me the impression that they recognized their mistakes and wouldn’t let it happen again. She said if we came back, she would personally oversee our stay to ensure it went well and offered us fair compensation for the issues we experienced on this trip (although I much would have much preferred a seamless vacation to any sort of compensation). I left the conversation feeling much better and that the hotel had recognized their mistakes and wouldn’t let it happen again. You can imagine my dismay when I went back to the front desk a few hours later to confirm our transportation to the airport and the front desk staff informed me we needed to move our stuff out of our original room ASAP and into the room they moved us into in the middle of the night. I told them that we had no stuff in the new room and they could have that room and we would just shower/change quickly in our original room before we left (during my conversation with the GM, she said we could have the room as long as we needed it). At this point the front desk says, “To be completely honest with you, we have new guests coming to check into that room”. My response was, “But you know there’s a mouse in that room, right?” They respond back, “Yes, well…” At this point it became crystal clear to me that I would NEVER be returning to Cheval Blanc because they were not hesitating to put other guests in the same situation we had been in. I should also note, the hotel was not even close to being at capacity, so they should have easily been able to provide them with an alternate room, as they should have provided to us from the start. Putting the mouse incident aside, we have a mixed review of the hotel. To start, the service was spotty. I’m going to give the hotel the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re still working out the kinks, because they just reopened after being closed for 7 months and there were definitely bright spots that indicate they have potential. Overall, the service was just not at the level of what you would expect from a hotel of this caliber. We experienced lackluster dining service, several messed up breakfast orders, strange housekeeping times (generally 3-4pm and 10-11pm), confusion behind valet protocols (they shut down for the night around 9:30/10pm and when we got back after that, we parked our own car and asked the front desk if they wanted to hold onto the key. They said no, and the next day someone came and found us at the pool asking us to go back to our room and get the key for the valet). Just little things, but we’ve been lucky enough to experience great service at other properties and this wasn’t it. There were a couple of staff members who were truly great, which is why I’m hopeful they’ll work it out. We found there was great service at the beach and had a wonderful experience at the spa. However, several days we sat at the main pool because the beach was too windy, and we had to hunt down someone to help us get towels, and once we sat down there was no additional service, unless we went to the bar ourselves. We also thought the food was extremely mediocre. We only had lunch one day and some appetizers before dinner one night and none of it was memorable or impressive. The prices for the food/drinks were some of the highest we came across on the island and the quality just wasn’t there. All in all, I wouldn’t recommend Cheval Blanc. St Barth's is a beautiful island with some special hotels - I would look elsewhere for someplace to stay. TRIPADVISOR.COM USER
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