What to do and where to stay on this luxury Caribbean island
With its dramatic volcanic landscapes, paradise beaches and sleek towns, St. Barthélemy is one of the Caribbean’s most exclusive destinations. And, following 2017’s hurricane, the island is getting back to business as usual, with many St. Barthélemy luxury hotels welcoming guests from autumn 2018. We’re delighted to announce that a boutique resort in our collection, Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa, is one of them. So if you’ve yet to visit this enchanting isle, here are just some of the things you can look forward to…
With almost every Caribbean island boasting stunning beaches, what makes St. Barthélemy – or St. Barth, as it’s locally known – stand out? In two words: pristine beauty. Many of the bays on this elegant French isle are refreshingly free of bars and shops. It’s just sugar-fine sand, blue skies and clear water stretching to the horizon. Some of our favourite spots include:
• Grand Cul de Sac – often high on ‘the world’s most beautiful beaches’ list, it features a curved shoreline and water so sheltered it feels like a lagoon.
• Lorient – this family favourite also has some of the island’s best waves. On calm days, grab a snorkel to swim with turtles.
• Colombier – this beauty spot can only be reached by a hike down the cliffs, or by boat. What better excuse to charter a yacht for a day or two?
St. Barth’s has long been a playground for millionaires, billionaires and stars of the music, film and fashion worlds. Yet for all its exclusive appeal, the island has a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere. Think Missoni caftans, or slouchy cotton shirts with Saint Laurent cut-offs – perfect for strolling straight from the beach to lunch.
In the island capital, Gustavia, visitors hop off luxury yachts to browse bohemian galleries and boutiques. Peruse Les Petits Carreaux, which features local artist Veronique Vandernoot’s distinctive hand-painted tiles. Pick up the latest Miu Miu espadrilles or Balenciaga shopper from Human Steps, the go-to choice for men’s and women’s accessories. Or book an appointment at Stephane & Bernard to plan a complete new look, with the latest womenswear by the likes of Valentino and Herve Leger.
St Barth’s volcanic terrain has kept the island free of major resort developments – particularly on the rocky, south-eastern shore. This is the location of one of the island’s most scenic hikes – from Toiny to the Grand Ford Piscine Naturelles (natural swimming pools set among dramatic orange-hued boulders).
Another popular walk is to Grand Saline. This short (but steep) hike down the cliffs ends at a peaceful, sun-drenched beach enclosed by forest-covered headlands. As there are no bars or cafes, it’s a good idea to bring a picnic if you plan on spending a few hours here. Which brings us to…
Food on St Barth is deliciously varied, from the daily changing creole menus at Maya’s to the Michelin-starred restaurants housed in luxury hotels. If you’re heading out sailing or visiting a remote beach, grab gourmet picnic provisions (including champagne) from Rotisserie in Gustavia. Tuck into a burger at local favourite, La Select. Or take in the Shell Beach sunset over ceviche and mojitos at Do Brazil.
WHERE TO STAY
Discover elegant style in an enchanting setting at Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa. Overlooking the crescent sands of Grand Cul de Sac, this boutique retreat boasts refined rooms and villas with interiors by Parisian designer Sybille de Margerie. The French theme continues in Aux Amis restaurant, with menus courtesy of Michelin-starred chef Guy Martin.
Le Barthélemy is taking bookings for the winter 2018-2019 season, and is looking forward to welcoming guests back to this beautiful island.