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Design Backgrounder



As vibrant as a tropical garden and relaxed as a Caribbean breeze, Le Guanahani welcomes guests to the beauty of St. Barth with style all its own.

In January 2016, after a four-year and $40-million renovation, Hotel Guanahani & Spa, St. Barth’s only full-service boutique hotel, reopened as Le Guanahani. Le Guanahani’s Managing Director Martein van Wagenberg joined forces with top creatives from Luis Pons Design Lab and David M. Schwarz Architects to reinvigorate the property’s layout and interiors to heighten the property’s exclusive and residential feel as a casually elegant private retreat.

Le Guanahani’s new look encompasses a captivating tropical landscape on the private 18-acre peninsula property. The redesign was inspired by the functionality and essence of the iconic Panama hat, and each element, from the guest cottages and dining areas to the room keys and website are designed to welcome, delight and make one feel at home while embodying the property’s art de vivre ambiance.

Pons designed a custom furniture collection for the resort inspired by the distinctive weave of the Panama hat and informed by the island’s French Colonial tradition. The collection of dressers, nightstands and beds feature richly colored mahogany wood with appliqued panels of woven straw while slender metal legs impart lightness for sophisticated craftsmanship. The whimsical reception desk by Pons in the colonial-style guest reception house harkens to steamer trunks on a porter’s trolley and was inspired by the luggage chests used by explorers on their journeys through the colonies.

Accommodations are spread throughout the lush, mature landscape and include guest cottages in vibrant hues of turquoise inspired by the water in the Grand Cul-de-Sac, yellow mimicking the tropical sun and lavender as an ode to the South of France. The spacious and well-appointed rooms are all decorated in the graceful Explorer-style with worldly touches and modern comfort. Color palettes of blue and yellow or pink and blue complement the ocean or garden views. Extended terraces provide ample, yet secluded outdoor space.

Luis Pons Design Lab
Luis Pons Design Lab is a Miami-based design firm founded by Venezuelan designer Luis Pons which specializes in residential and hospitality design. Other hospitality projects 5 O’Clock Hotel and Energy Clinic Spa & Hotel. Pons’ furniture collections include “Frame,” the “Beach Collection,” “Illusion,” and the “Panama Collection.” His lighting, jewelry and other design collections include “Mutables,” “Rain,” and “Uno.”

David M. Schwarz Architects
David M. Schwarz Architects is architecture firm founded by David M. Schwarz in Washington D.C. in 1978. The firm works on a broad and diverse body of project types including civic, institutional, cultural, commercial, residential, educational, sports, healthcare and planning projects. Other hospitality projects include The Linq mixed-use street in Las Vegas, Worthington Hotel and Ballroom in Fort Worth, TX, AC Hotel Spartanburg in Spartanburg, SC, and more.

The redesign has been covered in outlets such as Architectural Digest, Departures, Forbes Travel Guide, DuJour, Robb Report, Domino and more.