St. Barth's, Laid-Back Luxury
Let’s start off by stating that St. Barth’s is back on its feet after hurricane Irma. The island has made a great and speedy recovery after getting hit by the powerful storm in 2017. There may be fewer hotels and the beaches are not so crowded, but the island never lost its vibe. Chances you’ll run into Jay-Z and Beyonce are still strong as St. Barth’s continues to be the go-to getaway for our favorite celebs. St. Barths is like an extension of St. Tropez in the Caribbean—totally unpretentious, but very very chic.
There are no direct flights to St. Barth’s…unless you charter your own plane. If the PJ is not an option, then flying to Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten is your best bet, where, you can choose between a 15-minute plane ride or a 45-minute ferry crossing to St. Barth’s. You’ve probably seen YouTube videos of landings in the St. Barth’s airport, one of the shortest runways in commercial aviation, so if you’re a nervous flyer I suggest the very unglamorous ferry ride.
WHERE TO STAY:
If you’re traveling with your love, like I did, I suggest staying at Cheval Blanc, romantic and private. The exact opposite happens at Eden Rock St. Barth’s with more of a “see and bee seen” vibe, but great service and location. If you’re traveling with kids or in a big group, your best option is to rent a villa. The island offers a variety of properties ranging from one-bedroom guesthouses to luxurious estates.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Think French sophistication combined with the laid-back Caribbean spirit. Birkins with jean cutoffs is the vibe. Despite its chic reputation, St. Barth’s is very casual during the day, so please don’t break out your heals before dusk. During the day—plenty of beautiful beaches to visit. I like to start my day with an açai bowl and green juice from Tom’s Juice Bar in Gustavia, then head over to my favorite beach, Gouverneur’s Beach. My second fave, Shellona Beach—which is covered in shells, hosts a delicious restaurant, and is one of the best spots to catch the sunset and a glass of rosé (or two). If you prefer more of a scene, Nikki Beach makes for great people watching!
At night, St. Barth’s is for the foodies. Dine at Bonito St. Barth, a latin-french restaurant with amazing fish tiraditos, L’Isola for Italian, and if you’re feeling romantic On the Rocks by Jean-George serves a beautiful view and some of the best seafood in the island.
If you go to St. Barth’s and don’t experience Le Ti St. Barth, you’re doing it wrong. Go to the back room, dress up and unleash your inner fantasies. Escape from the sun for a slice of pizza at L’Isoletta, and in the words of my friend Maria Tettamanti, melt the Amex at the shops in Gustavia. Bon Voyage!