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Villa La Banane

Lorient, St.Barts - 9 bedroom villa

On this island which boasts more than its fair share of gorgeous villa estates, only a handful have a history as fascinating as Villa La Banane. This very private 8 bedroom compound is surrounded by lush tropical gardens filled with bougainvillea, fragrant frangipani and fittingly, banana trees. It boasts two swimming pools that are flanked by chaise lounges; palm trees accommodate shade seekers. Each chic bungalow houses a boudoir with a delightful en suite bath and a terrace.

Well over 50 years ago, the property caught the eye of Jean-Marie Rivire, a luminary of the Parisian cabaret world and by the way, a cher ami of Brigitte Bardot. He just had to have the hotel and he created a hideaway that became a favorite of the eras glitterati. Rivire staged his first sexy revue here; he called it and the hotel La Banane.

Fast forward, and enter new owner Parisian entrepreneur Jean-Marc Israel who was enamored with the petit property and together with his partner Benjamin Fabbri, artfully restored it, paying homage to both its past and noted mid-century designers. The bungalows feature draped, four-poster king beds under whirling ceiling fans, a striking white-on-white palette with bright pops of colors, refurbished antiques, unique pieces and objects dart. They have a lovely vintage-tropical feel but include all the 21st Century must-haves, air conditioning, WiFi, flat screen TVs, DVD players, iPod docking stations and such. The en suite baths have open-air showers with rainheads, fluffy robes and the upmarket Acqua Di Parma toiletries.

What was the poolside lobby and bar, now functions perfectly as a sheltered outdoor living room complete with an extra-long - and beautiful - teak dining table. Guests will enjoy having a serene shaded spot to read and relax or surf the web. The retro-chic mid-century modern dcor includes rosewood pieces commissioned in the 50s from artisans in the Indian city and design mecca Chandigarh, adding a dash of glamour to the ambiance of simple luxury. An air-conditioned media room with a plasma TV and satellite service makes for a cool retreat. A fully equipped professional kitchen is tucked away just behind the bar and a guest bath is located adjacent to the living area.

Very similar in design and dcor and with the same amenities, the bungalows vary some in size and in the layout of the bathrooms. Four measure 324 sq ft and the others range from 365 to 430 sq ft. Number 4 is the largest. Some of the smaller bungalows have open terraces with bistro tables for two and the larger have more outdoor space that is covered.

Location is everything and La Banane is just a short sashay from the perfect-for-swimming Lorient Beach; five minutes and your toes are in that white-sugar sand. Worth mentioning there is a divine boulangerie right near the entrance to the beach where you can get goodies-to-go. Although secluded, the villa is just 2 minute walk to the Oasis center with its grocery store and the casual open-air eatery Le Bouchon (think les burgers and les pizzas) and the popular fine-dining restaurant La Table de Jules.

Weekly rates:
                                  9 bedr.
    April 15 - December 14:       $35,070
    December 15 - April 14:       $45,070
    Christmas (2 week min.):     $125,000
    
    All villa prices are subject to an additional 5% Accommodation Tax and a 10% administrative 
    fee (this reflects a 2.5% cash/check payment discount). All non cash/check payments subject 
    to non-discounted administrative fee of 12.5%. Prices subject to change without notice.
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