The island of St Barths (short for St Barthelemy) is often described as the gem of the Caribbean and is a popular hotspot for the rich and famous where celebrity spotting is par for the course. Being a French territory some of our favourite things pervade – Rose, french bread, cheese and cool, chic island style at every turn. The island showcases a mesmerizing mix of yachts, designer and local boutiques, pristine beaches and fabulous restaurants, all dotted around the edge of the startling blue caribbean sea. Don’t die wondering, dust off your passport and just GO. Until nightfall, flights from St-Martin, Pointe-à-Pitre, Antigua, St-Thomas or San Juan land at Gustavia airport. It’s commonplace to arrive on private jets and yachts. On top of this it is very laid back. And you wonder why we love this island so much..
- Villas. We’ve already told you our pick of Villas on the island. One of the best is La Banane Villa which is pretty hard to go past. This private Villa is walking distance from the less touristy Lorient Beach, as well as shops. This Villa has 8 bedrooms so bring your extended family and friends. We have now got something in common with The Kardashians, as one teenage GCR’er excitedly told us that on a recent episode, they stayed at this Villa we had picked. If this Villa is not for you, is too big or you just want to see the selection start at Wimco Villas for the full array of options. Not only that, you can have as much or as little service as you like – butler, no problem, private chef, yes thanks and there are Villas to suit most budgets.
- Luxury Hotels. GCR FAVOURITE The Eden Rock Hotel. You die and go to heaven here. The French attitude at reception serves nothing more than to remind you that you are on a distinctly French island, which only adds to the atmosphere and it is all smooth sailing from there. The hotel setting itself is unique as it’s set on a rocky promontory that divides St Jean Beach (feature picture on the blog)Every room in the hotel is an interior designer dream. If you are going with kids they have the most fantastic set up where the adult’s room with a verandah is above a little cabin for the kids, set up like the bottom of a ship. So charming. Let the kids jump off the jetty and sit back and sip on the never ending Rose. Get us there NOW.
GCR OTHER FAVOURITE The Ilse de France oozes style and sits on the serene Flamands Beach and and also happens to have the most gorgeous little curated shop full of high and lower end clothing brands. If you don’t end up staying here at least have lunch or dinner at the beachside restaurant La Case de L’Isle serving locally inspired French Cuisine.
- Restaurants The food on St Barths is exceptional. For simple uncluttered seafood and a touch of creole go to Mayas. Book at least one night here at this waterside restaurant not far from Anse de Public just outside of the capital Gustavia. It’s been hailed as the best restaurant in the Caribbean by foodies and experts alike. La Case de L’Ilse at Ilse de France on Flamands Beach is perfect for lunch, as is The Sandbar restaurant at The Eden Roc on St Jeans. L’esprit de Saline at Saline Beach is excellent and Do Brazil is a fun Brazilian restaurant perched on rocks above Shell Beach.
- Beach Cocktail A drink at Nikki Beach is almost a rite of passage on St Barths. They bill themselves as the “playground of of choice for the world’s most well-known celebrities” but aside from anything the setting is beautiful and if you are staying at the Eden Roc you can swim across for a drink.
- Retail Therapy The original home to the now huge empire that Calypso St Barths is, in the USA. It is now not part of the chain but it still nails the casual chic island look. There are all the usual big name brands but seek out Pati De St Barth, Poupette and wander around the cluster of shops walking distance from Nikki Beach.
- French Supermarche – Head to the supermarket where there is an abundance of French cheeses and charcuteries and have a picnic at one of the many secluded beaches.
- French Pharmacy – Always take the opportunity to browse the French pharmacies and pick up the skin products that the French do so well and are often hard to find back home.
- Best Beaches in St Barths – Saline Beach has great waves and true to it’s name beautiful salty clear water. There’s also Gouveneur, Columbier (a good walk to get to it) and at Lorian and Le Toiny you can even surf a wave or two. Nikki Beach is where you go if you want some St Barths action in terms of a party atmosphere. Not really the place to go if you have kids although the kids we were with seemed to love it.
- Fashion shows – Many of the restaurants showcase their fashion wares from their own boutiques or other usually local brands while you are sitting having lunch or a drink. We found this kind of amusing but a fun distraction and often an expensive outing. Check out at our Packing Guide to St Barths or just pack your GCR outfits and you’ll fit right in.
- DON’T SAY WE DIDN’T WARN YOU Ok so the arrival in a tiny plane usually Tradewind Air (unless you travel by PJ) is pretty hairy but we think that only adds to the sense of adventure.
- BEST ACTIVITY IS TO CHARTER A BOAT FOR A DAY from one of the many charter companies on the Island and be your own captain. And remember there’s always a bigger boat and in GCR’s case it was Roman Abramovich’s Superyacht.
- IN SHORT It is one of our favourite island’s in the world, along with Mustique which we’ve already declared the Best Island in the World, but St Barths is definitely one of Mustique’s main competitors.