Hôtel Christopher, St. Barts
In the Caribbean, a hotel is only as good as the beach that surrounds it. Luckily, the Hôtel Christopher has many, namely Lorient Beach, shielded by a fringing reef and unknown to many St. Barts visitors. Opened in December 2009, Christopher’s 38 ocean-facing rooms keep you in earshot of the lapping waves. The hotel also lives up to St. Barts’ reputation for classy Caribbean luxury. Laze the day away in one of the hotel’s pool mattresses (lounge chairs are old news) with a good book and the white sand and Caribbean blue just past your toes. For dinner, retreat to the hilltop just above the hotel, where Le Ti St. Bart, a popular restaurant, serves lobster ceviche, amazing desserts and crazy full-moon parties (be prepared to dance on tables). Or head to Gustavia, the capital and only town, for shopping and a cocktail at the oldest bar on the island, Le Select. But then, of course, it’s back to the beach.