When 369° Hôtels-Maisons purchased the Tropical in 2016, the idea was simple: to transform the second-oldest hotel on St. Bart’s into the island’s most coveted booking. But in September 2017, with renovations nearly complete and staff already on-site, Hurricane Irma did so much damage that the French hospitality group had to rebuild almost from scratch. After nearly four years of construction, the new Tropical is a sort of reset.
In a destination with a reputation for exclusivity, the hotel is positioned as a place to connect: it hosts a rotating list of artists and musicians, with past residents including twin French DJs Doppelganger Paris and painter Raphaël Schmitt (who painted lavish murals on the walls of the common areas). Yoga retreats are in the works for next year — a serene departure from the beats-heavy beach-club vibe just a few steps down the hill in St.-Jean. The 23 rooms and six suites are arranged around an exquisitely overgrown courtyard, fully replanted post-hurricane. In the evenings, this garden transforms into Romi, where chefs Linda and Nicolas Bisani serve a fully Indonesian menu (a nod to Linda’s home country) complete with nasi goreng, cod curry, and five choices of sambal, the spicy Southeast Asian condiment.
With the St. Bart’s restaurant scene dominated by French and fusion cuisine, it’s already a hit with locals and longtimers, too. tropical-saintbarth.com; doubles from $690. —Hannah Walhout