St. Barths
Overview

You’re wearing head-to-toe white on a pristine beach, holding a glass of chilled rosé, kissing your friends hello on both cheeks as you all head out to a party. Are you in heaven? Not yet, but luckily, you’re in the closest place on earth — Saint Barthelemy. Located in the French West Indies, St. Barths the poshest place in the Caribbean, drawing devoted royals, scene-loving celebs and yacht wielding billionaires to its beaches and bars each holiday season. Gustavia harbor is like ‘I Spy’ for decadence...“I spy with my little eye, something that begins with ‘C’”. “Okay, ‘C’...Cartier? Chanel? No, its caviar, right? No? Champagne? Chopard?”. With a population of just over 9,000, visitors keep the local economy going strong. Portia and Ellen have been spotted on shopping sprees, Rachel Zoe goes bananas in the boutiques, Roman Abramovich throws his notoriously elaborate New Year’s Eve parties, Diddy wears white, Ron Perleman docks his yacht, Simon Cowell smirks from his sundeck, Gwen and Gavin in their together times rocked the town, and chicette Olivia Palermo was proposed to on its shores. Yet, St. Barths has been a jet-set mainstay for decades for its European heritage, charming villages, natural beauty and bohemian spirit, as much as its has for its glitz and glamour. Even the ‘capital’ of Gustavia, which hugs the marina like a horseshoe, feels like a little nook of the old world, its azure bays dotted with bright white sailing boats, its streets lined with anything-but-ordinary shops, where adamant discussions en français can be heard wafting out from the cafes.

The island is completely devoid of high-rise, chain hotels, thanks to an antiquated building code stating that no structure could be higher than the tallest palm tree. Thus, uber-chic boutique hotels and glamourous private villas, some of which tap out at $190k per week, are the accommodations of choice. Its the antithesis of all-inclusive - St. Barths is all exclusive. With almost 20 beaches, each possessing its own distinctive character, its easy to plan a perfect day in paradise for everyone (the island only takes 30 minutes to drive around). Whether you’re tanning topless on Saline Beach, having a rose picnic on isolated Gouverneur, or hiking to hidden Colombier, the sand will be silky and white, the water turquoise, calm and warm. Though, it doesn’t have to be an adventure to spend some time in the sun. Say you’re staying at Eden Rock - St Barths on St. Jean, simply walk ten meters to La Plage to dine on €30 tuna tartare, hear a local DJ and watch a island chic ‘fashion show’, all without having to change out of your bikini.

Sure, the tropical breezes are enchanting and the vistas are pristine, but the 1% needs more than a hammock to have fun. With over 100 restaurants in nine square miles, choices for an evening out are endless - yet a real St. Barths night on the town is a truly insider experience. Die hards know that while Le Ti is the site of the infamous Real Housewives taping, the mood at Le Select is so chillaxed, it inspired Jimmy Buffett to pen his ballad ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’. The Hideaway is where you are most likely to rub shoulders with A-listers going incognito, yet you can still hear the chi-ching of black cards handling seemingly insurmountable bills over at at Nikki Beach, only a hop, skip, and a jump away.

And what to wear on the Caribbean’s chicest île? Laid-back luxe is the style tous les jours - this is the place that birthed the Calypso empire, after all. A perfect outfit is a mix of boho and runway, heavy on hats, jewels and trinkets. Just layer your resortwear with standout accessories, a tan and a dash of bling - et voila! -  St. Barths' style. Perhaps you’ll swing by Vuitton and pick up a silk dress to wear as a cover up over your Eres bikini with a classic Louboutin espadrille. At night you’ll slip into a Missoni maxi and simple leather slides for dinner at Maya’s. Or, you may prefer a no-name white shift with an Hermes scarf, a mis-match of bold beaded necklaces and no shoes for lunch at Le Sereno’s pool, changing to vintage Pucci for a night of dancing in the moonlight. Either way, you’ll look the part. Now that you’re all packed, bisous, bisous - see you on St. Barths!

Stay

Where to stay

Indulge

Indulge

DINING

While many destinations pride themselves on local ingredients, the selection on Saint Barths is largely imported (French wine and cheese - sounds awful, right?). However, there are some regional Caribbean specialities, such as wahoo and langouste that are often incorporated into French and Creole dishes. La Plage at Tom Beach Hotel is a favorite for a light but boozy lunch, serving their signature tartares, fresh ceviches and salad Nicoise. Its also renowned for its Full Moon white parties, where DJ sets, fire shows, ‘tasteful’ pole dancing and skinny dipping often go down. L’Isola is rated among the top dinner reservations in town, cooking up remarkably authentic Italian. Bresaola, burrata, six risotto preparations and more in a chic, whitewashed space set in the heart of Gustavia...L’Isola is a slice of la dolce vita that should not be missed. Its small spin off, L’Isoletta, serves crisp pizzas and refreshing wines, ideal for a midday shopping stop. A few other spots for pizza lovers include L’Entracte, on the harbor, and The Hideaway, favored by locals and St. Barths regulars alike. Bonito offers spectacular views of the harbor, a hip and trendy scene and a French meets Latin menu focused heavily on a unique ‘ceviche bar’. For classic island Creole, try Eddy’s, set in a tropical garden, where the focus is on fresh fish and the staff is a delight. Le Sereno elevates dining to the next level - and seasoned goers are in for a gluttonous surprise with the change of a culinary vision lead by celebrated London restaurateur Giuliano Lotto and a mouthwatering menu spearheaded by his long-time partner, Chef Alex Simone.

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Despite its modest decor, Maya’s has been the undisputed grande dame of Saint Barths dining for thirty years. The selections rely on fresh produce, most fetched from nearby Guadeloupe, paired with local or imported fish. Although the menus change daily, Maya’s chocolate cake is the perfect finish, available every night. If you’re staying in a villa or a room with a kitchenette, hit up Maya’s To Go for fresh croissants, yummy sandwiches, fresh salads and roast chicken. Many people make it their first stop upon arrival. In addition to serving novel Fresh-style breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, Le Toiny presents their Tuesday fish market, featuring the catch of the day, and on Sundays, its ‘Brunch Le Toiny’. No meal in St. Barths is complete without a shot of vanilla rum to finish.

NIGHTLIFE

Le Bête à Z’ailes, affectionately nicknamed Baz Bar, is a must for music lovers. On any given night, an unknown band from Brooklyn or a bonafide celebrity may be on the stage. Grab a drink and a table, you could be sitting next to a ship hand or Nicole Kidman. Not far away is Le Carre Lounge, tucked away in a narrow alley of shops. No first trip to St. Barths is complete without a beer and ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ at Le Select during the day, or a trip to Le Ti St. Barth in the evening - it's a wild and wacky initiation ritual for newcomers. A supper club with Caribbean flavor, each night finds a combination of performers, a fashion show, burlesque dancers and some special dates lend an entire cabaret. Give in and get up on that table! Although Nikki Beach is known around the world, the St. Barths location has never fallen out of favor with rich and famous. At lunch you can find a chill but fun scene, at night, things get more spirited. Don’t even think about trying to book on New Year’s Eve unless you're a billionaire, or dating one. There’s even an outpost of Manhattan’s famed Bagatelle restaurant and club in downtown Gustavia, if you don’t want the party to stop. Do Brazil is a sundowner spot extraordinaire, serving strong, tropical drinks on Shell Beach. On the Rocks is your last stop for a drink with a view. This Jean George restaurant at the Eden Rock - St Barths hotel features terraces of dining tables facing the ocean, which lead up to a very sophisticated bar set up. You can listen to the gentle waters below, while sipping a martini. 

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Explore

Explore

Simply, hit the beach. A scenic hike along the craggy route to Colombier is rewarded with a quiet swatch of sand you can call your own. Wear shoes with grip, remember to pack a picnic, as there are no restaurants or facilities of any kind, as well as an umbrella for your pale and young companions, and finally, head home at low tide if you don’t want to wade back. Take a short walk through the dunes to Saline, which feels delightfully isolated. Next, drive through Grand Fond along the Cote Sauvage for the island’s most ruggedly beautiful views. Flamands is large and ideal for families, La Langouste is worth a lunch. The snorkeling at Gouverneur and Petite Anse is divine, while Grand Cul de Sac has ideal windsurfing conditions. The bay of Saint Jean is protected by a coral reef, making waves non-existent and the water temperature is equal to a lukewarm bath. Anchored by the famed Eden Rock - St Barths hotel and its Sand Bar resto, Saint Jean’s liveliness is also accentuated by the constant rumble of prop airplanes taking off not so far above your head. Shell Beach delights all ages, children for the namesake treasures which coat its shores, and adults for the wickedly potent Planter’s Punch served at Do Brazil.

SHOP

Where to Shop

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There is no shopping destination in the Caribbean aside from St. Barths. From small, bohemian boutiques run by chic expats who’ve given up the city life long ago, to mega brands like Prada, Hermes and Chanel, Gustavia is a cornucopia of style. Christiane Celle started Calypso here, and now has stores across the world. A visit to this boho behemoth's origins is always fun, as the shop is lined with stacks of neutrals and racks of sherberts, all perfect for the island’s scene. Christiane now has an outpost of her Clic Gallery in Gustavia as well, where you can go for books, art, design and gadgets. Another hometown brand is Ligne St. Barths, a line of natural cosmetics made on the island. Gustavia has more boho design shops than you could ever wish for - Lolita Jaca, Vanita Rosa and Poupette St Barth are all worth a visit, plus Stephan and Bernard for designer. Shoe lovers should walk on by Human Steps for the latest styles from Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Jimmy Choo, Gucci and more. If something shiny is more your speed, swing over to Carat Saint Barth or Diamond Genesis, for watches browse Goldfinger or go to Bijoux de la Mer for those tropical pearl pieces. The guys can wait at Laurent Effel, Cafe Coton or Sunbarth. In Villa Creole, just by St. Jean, you’ll find a treasure trove of shops as well. Yume stocks gifts and objets, made from all natural materials. Pati de St. Barth sells the official unofficial branded tees, hats and accessories of the island - and they are anything but average tourist swag. More hippy sleek shops are hidden here - Le Civette, Filles des Iles and Pain de Sucre among them.

Shop the Destination

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