Rémy de Haenen was a sailor, aviator and visionary who was the first to see the incredible potential in the island of St Barths. Born in London in 1916 to a French mother and Dutch father, de Haenen began his career as a merchant marine and discovered St Barths in the late 1930s while working on a research vessel in the Caribbean. De Haenen immediately fell in love with the island upon arrival and decided to unpack his bags—renting a house and setting up a small shipyard in the Port of Gustavia to make a living repairing boats. An astute businessman, he soon accrued a fleet of boats for fishing and whaling, before turning his attention to aviation. After receiving his pilot’s licence in Martinique, de Haenen began buying airplanes, establishing a Caribbean airline called Compagnie Aérienne Antillaise.
In 1953, Rémy de Haenen purchased an overlooked rocky promontory on the Bay of St Jean where he built the Eden Rock Hotel—one of the very first hotels on the island. It wasn’t long before members of the elite—Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, Jacques Cousteau and John D. Rockefeller—began showing up as guests at Eden Rock to enjoy St Barths’ astounding beauty…the very beauty that de Haenen had placed his bet on over 10 years before.
Upon its reopening in November 2019, Eden Rock–St Barths will honour Rémy de Haenen’s name and legacy with the new Rémy Bar. We hope you’ll join us for a drink this autumn to celebrate the vision of our original founder.