Over the last few centuries, control of the Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy in the French West Indies has passed between several powerful monarchies, but the 9-square-miles of sandy paradise now has a new royal connection. Eden Rock, it’s first (and still one of its finest) hotels, is owned by Pippa Middleton’s new in-laws, David and Jane Matthews.
Built around 1950 by the eccentric aviator Remy de Haenen, who used it as a private hideaway for friends like Greta Garbo and Howard Hughes, the hotel maintains an A-list clientele. Hollywood royals (Tom Hanks, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Lopez) flock to the resort when they need to slip away from the spotlight — or draw it on the deck of a megayacht.
The Matthews, who bought the property and moved their four children there in 1995, were looking for a family adventure. (They got it, when a few days after moving in, Hurricane Luis crossed the island, forcing the family to hide under the kitchen’s concrete sinks.)
The accommodations today are a bit more luxurious. The property, managed by the international hotel group Oetker Collection (which also runs the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc in Cannes), offers 34 suites and several villas. The 3-story “Villa Rockstar” features a private whiskey bar, two pools and a recording studio that holds the console John Lennon used to record “Imagine.”
“It was like waking up in a dream,“ says The Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Melissa Gorga, who visited the Eden Rock last week with her husband, Joe. “The views were spectacular, the water was amazing, and the lunch there was the best. We can’t wait to go back.”
With amenities including a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, which the celebrity chef asked the Matthews if he could open there, and yoga practice on a paddleboard in St. Jean Bay, Eden Rock is no doubt the island’s crown jewel.