A slice of paradise hidden in the Antilles, St. Barthélemy is merely 11 miles long and 2 miles wide. What it lacks in land mass, the island makes up in affluence. It’s everywhere—from the towering megayachts to luxury boutiques. Because the island is relatively unknown and difficult to get to without a private jet, St. Barts continues to attract celebrities, royalty, and high net worth individuals in search of exclusivity and privacy. Fly your private jet into St. Barts Gustaf III Airport. At the end of runway, the view of the beautiful St. Jean Bay gives you a taste of what you can expect during your relaxing escape. Just be warned—you’ll fall in love.
What to Look Forward to in St. Barts
Shopping and Dining
Sophisticatedly French, St. Barts packs a lot into its small footprint. Every turn is a reminder of the opulence it embodies. Gustavia, the capital offers high-end shopping with more than 200 shops that rival those found on Rodeo Drive. Brands you’ll find include Cartier, Hermès and Louis Vuitton. To sweeten the experience, all shopping is duty-free.
After a day of shopping, there are more 80 restaurants waiting to cater to your gastronomic needs. La Langouste at the Baie des Anges is popular for its signature lobster salad. Maya’s has a range of diverse dishes. If you’re a hardcore chocolate lover, Le Tamarin will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth.
St. Barts has just over 20 picture-perfect beaches, or anses. Those on the leeward side are protected by the island, offering calmer waters that are safer for swimming. Beaches on the windward side have some protection because of hills and reefs, but are better for watersports, such as windsurfing.
Popular St. Bart beaches include:
- Lorient: A shady beach teaming with marine life, like colorful fish and turtles
- Anse du Gouverneur: A remote beach that rewards you with privacy
- Anse de Grand Galet: Called “Shell Beach” for the plethora of shells found on the shore
- Anse de Grande Saline: A white-sand beach that naturists enjoy
- Grand Cul de Sac: A beach with warm, shallow waters in a protected bay
- Petit Cul de Sac: A resident favorite that has a coral reef that’s ripe for exploring
- Grand Fond: Superb for surfing and shell hunting
- Marigot Bay: A gray-sand beach with lovely coconut palm trees accented by crystalline waters
As you wander the beaches and marinas, particularly with children, keep in mind that topless sunbathing is common. If you’re prepared to bare all, don’t forget the sunscreen.
Where to Stay
St. Barts has about 25 hotels. Most have 15 or fewer rooms. Reportedly the most expensive hotel on the island, Hotel Le Toiny features 14 luxury villa suites on a gentle slope that overlooks the bay and its blue waters. Eden Rock is one of the few resorts on the planet with an artist-in-residence program. The colonial-style Cheval Blanc is a favorite among celebrities. If you want a break from hotels and resorts, St. Barts is filled with about 400 private villas that are available to rent.