You won’t find anything like this in the Caribbean. St. Barths has always made people dream and always will, even if the island has been oversaturated with too many new homes lately. The tiny island of less than 10 square miles still enchants with its verdant landscape, pristine white-sand and turquoise water beaches, its impressive range of beach bars and great restaurants, and the port town of Gustavia, where old stone buildings now house high-end boutiques.
“Un je ne sais quoi” with delicious French flair that makes you want to come back. You might want to visit the island when it’s crowded for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, or the Bucket Regatta, or when it’s quieter, May or June: each season is different and each of them is so enjoyable, just depending on your mood . Celebrate, relax or both. St. Barths will always be the place to be.
How to get there?
Half of the island’s visitors are Americans, so the best route from the US is via San Juan. Then board one of Tradewind Aviation’s eight-seat Pilatus aircraft. Since 2001, the US-based company has operated charter and scheduled flights to St. Barths, making the dramatic scary landing one of the most memorable. 2021 was a very sad year for the company, longtime friend, co-founder and veteran pilot David Zara passed away. He was an incredible island figure, generous, passionate, David will be greatly missed.
When traveling through St Marteen book a VIP transfer service with St Barth Services. They take care of your transit perfectly and most of the time you will get an early Winair or St Barth Commuter flight.
Where to sleep?
In a mansion. St. Barts insiders know that the best option for vacationers is to rent a private villa. Based on 2020 government data, the island has 850 villas available for rent on the island with a total of over 1,800 bedrooms. That dwarfs the number of rooms available at the island’s 25 intimate hotels.
WIMCO Villas represents the 380 best private villas on the island and has a concierge service office just opposite the airport arrivals door. The company recently expanded its Special Reserve Collection. Ultra-luxe villas come with a private chef, plus other perks like priority access to beach club chaise lounges and free nightly taxi service. There are now 24 contemporary villas in the program including Villa NEO overlooking Eden Rock and Villa Embrace overlooking Gustavia Harbour.
WIMCO also lost a cult figure last year. Tim Warburton, who founded WIMCO in 1983, died last year shortly after selling the company to Nocturne Villas. He was a true pioneer in the villa rental industry and helped establish St Barths as the well-loved tourist destination it is today. In connection with this, Nocturne also acquired St Barts Properties and effective October 1st the two companies were merged and now trade as WIMCO St Barth Properties. This will create an even stronger full service operation for travelers looking to book a villa vacation on St Barts.
For arrivals up to December 2, 2022 (including Thanksgiving and Gourmet Festival), WIMCO has created a special offer: For all villa rental bookings of 7 nights or more, you can select either complimentary gourmet supplies for the first night from Atelier Joel Robuchon, who in stock are in your villa or free car rental for 7 days.
Hotel Rosewood Le Guanahani. After five years of renovation, Le Guanahani opened last November under the management of the Rosewood Hotel Group. The largest hotel in St. Barths, situated in a sheltered part of Cul de Sac and Marigot, is ideal for families and those who prefer intimacy during their stay in a hotel.
The iconic Hotel St. Barths, known for its colorful cottages, has been redesigned by architects David M. Schwartz and Luis Pons Design Lab. D. 37 suites (20 have private pools) spread out over green spaces in front of the Cul de Sac Lagoon.
The Sense of Spa offers unique treatments created around the atmosphere and nature of St. Barths. From breakfast to dinner, The Beach House offers extensive, fresh Mediterranean cuisine with a touch of Caribbean flair.
Where to rent a car
The best car to drive around the island is definitely the Land Rover Defender rental company St Barth Defenders which offers different models of Defenders. All have automatic transmissions and air conditioning, and some have panoramic glass and upgraded stereos. Get the Defender Club Edition with panoramic and sunroof and you’ll be happy to drive.
Where shall we eat?
La Cabane at Cheval Blanc
The bohemian chic decor designed by Jacques Grange immediately creates a relaxed atmosphere. With your feet in the sand of Flamand Beach, try the Caesar salad, the mahi mahi hot dog or the legendary “Flamand burger”.
Quarter St. Barth
“Our cuisine is a mix of Japanese and Korean because I grew up here as a kid as my father worked in both countries,” said Christopher Davis, owner of Quarter St. Barth. Chef Arianna Boni prepares a variety of excellent dumplings: Japanese gyoza, Korean mandu and bao buns. New flavors are offered this season. It is definitely a must-try if you are a Japanese and Korean food lover.
The Quarter is also the only place in St. Barths to offer such creative cocktails, an incredible spirits menu and sake selection. There are DJs on the weekends so you can eat ramen, drink sake and have fun with some great music.
Americans at Le Barthelemy Hotel & Spa
For lunch and dinner. The menu is French and Mediterranean inspired. The dishes are light, fresh, excellent. The atmosphere is so relaxing with the sea breeze and the lapping of the water at night. On the plates: local ceviche, fish carpaccio with Puglia burrata and a must for dinner, the lobster ravioli. Ask the bartender for a signature cocktail.
What to do?
Discover the natural beauty
There are sixteen beaches in St. Barths. From Shell Beach with its endless seashells, to Salines and Governor with its turquoise waters, to Colombier, which can only be reached on foot or by boat, the choice is yours. You will definitely find your favourite.
St. Barths has always been known for its nightlife, but the island is an oasis of natural beauty and nature. Hike to the natural pools of Cul de Sac or Toiny and discover the natural treasures of St Barths.
Prada, Dolce Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Hermes – all luxury brands are represented in the small town of Gustavia. Dior opened last year after being closed for many years.
For Brunello Cucinelli lovers, find the entire collection in the shop in an inspired zen atmosphere: Edgar St Barth Store in the Cours Vendome.
In addition, you will find great concept stores like Le Bazaar St Barth @lebazaarstbarth created by Argentinian-Italian Loana Junco. Le Bazaar St Barth offers a selection of ethical fashion and accessories brands, as well as art and photography.
Kimono-inspired silk wrap dresses, embroidered pareos, most of the garments highlight exclusive precious Latin American brands such as Deloreta, Niluu or Omnia. A very sweet eclectic store.
Assouline is releasing a new book from her travel series St Barths Freedom just in time for the season.
It brings together photographs of iconic locations, views and natural surroundings with quotes and images from the people who made St Barths a legend. “If I really can’t sing anymore, I go to my place in St. Barth. I take my guitar and look out to sea.” said the renowned French singer Johnny Hallyday.