Hotel Review – La Banane, St. Barts

Named and discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, St Barthélémy has captured the hearts and imaginations of it’s various settlers. Who, after the initial search for gold, were overwhelmed and taken back by the natural wonder of paradise on this central Caribbean island; flanked with long white sand beaches and unspoiled land.

The famous French cabaret owner Jean-Marie Rivière chose a plot on St. Barts close to the Baie de Lorient (one of the islands many splendid beaches) where he built an archipelago of nine bungalows around one main house.  Jean-Marie Rivière’s brought the Parisian nightlife to St. Barts, performing his famous cabaret ‘la banane’ on the site; leaving it’s name to the site.  Over time La Banane went from a destination for Rivière’s family and friends, to welcoming a broader clientele and establishing as the hotel it is today.

New owner Jean-Marc Israel has taken La Banane away from traditional styles and opted for adding his own personal passion for modern sleek lines and exuberant interior design.  Graphic design duo ICH&KAR are also behind the hotel’s new visual identity.When re-desiging La Banane, Jean-Marc Israel wanted to maintain the spirit of the very special site, and uncover the essence of a place dedicated to sharing.  Attention was paid to every little detail; buildings were restored, retaining the traditional wooden architecture. Inside, the framework has been set off in white, with a 1950’s shade of bold yellow and a design of azure circles created by the sandstone floor tiles.  The open-air bathrooms and translucent turquoise glass blocks hesitate between an evocation of the sea and the sky.

In each room unusual works by the likes of Pierre Jeanneret, Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, Serge Mouille, Jean Royère and Juliette Derel, form the highlights of an ever-changing tapestry.  1950’s design is truly celebrated with a fruitful crossover between post-colonial India and the ideals of European culture, giving La Banane a new lease of life.  Some pieces have been adapted; such as a library table now used for impromptu breakfasts, while others have been given a makeover with new fabrics and vibrant colours.

For further information on booking and rates please visit the La Banane website.


Meet Pippa

Pippa Jameson is an author, tv designer and interiors expert. The previous interior editor on several leading UK titles, Pippa has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Throughout her 25-year career, Pippa’s unique and creative approach has won her commissions for large retail brands and celebrities to deliver exciting and engaging projects. 

She’s written the curriculum for the British College of Interior Design, produced and styled shoots for well-known brands including John Lewis, H&M & Team GB/DFS, worked as an International Stylist for leading paint brands in Asia, consulted on the launch and creative direction of major retail names including George Home and Wren, and most recently, published her first book, The Sensory Home. Pippa possesses expertise unmatched in the interior industry.