Travel Guide: St. Barth
Best place for a quick weekend away? St. Barth for some serious R&R or the Hudson Valley (including in the winter!) – Stevie Benanty
Ahh, St. Barth—all the grand sophistication of France, but with the tropical allure of a Caribbean island that boasts some of the region’s best beaches and cuisine. Curious about this opulent isle? Check out our trip itinerary below:
You cannot directly fly to St. Barth from most places because the airport is too small; instead fly into Gustaf III airport on a prop plane from nearby St. Maarten, where there are many connecting flights. Winter, especially during the holidays, is ultra-expensive and busy on the island, while later summer brings rains and possibly hurricanes. The best months for a vacation, with off-season prices yet little rain, are Spring and Fall.
Bring your bags to Le Sereno, an intimate luxury resort and St. Barth first five-star hotel. A short 10-minute drive from the airport, it was designed by internationally acclaimed French designer Christian Liaigre. Boasting a beachfront freshwater swimming pool, spa treatments and VIP reception at the airport, it is truly an unforgettable experience. The restaurant serves classic Italian-influenced Mediterranean dishes using the bounty of the adjacent ocean. Rates range from $858 to $2145; book here and follow the hotel on Instagram.
Another phenomenal option is Sibarth Villas, featuring supreme five-star services with the chance to rent an oceanfront villa. Villas range from classic West Indies houses to those oriented more toward family or romance. Prices range from the reasonable $100 to the outlandish $35,800 per night. Perks include airport pick-up and hotel-like features, including a concierge and housekeeping. Follow on Instagram for #villagoals.
Savor classic Italian food at L’Isola restaurant in Gustavia, the island’s main town. Dine in a romantic atmosphere with a classical Italian ambiance, where everyone feels like family. Try the any of the homemade pastas or the seafood stew. This is the place you go for a romantic celebration.
Located in Gustavia, the island’s yacht-filled port town, Orega offers French-Japanese cuisine to holidaymakers who throng to this part of the French West Indies. The restaurant, which opened in 2015, serves locally sourced ingredients with a varied sushi menu that includes the emerald roll (battered tuna and salmon topped with the popular Japanese condiment wasabi) and a platter of sliced raw fish. Main dishes include rack of New Zealand lamb served in a spirulina crust with sweet potatoes and eggplant caviar (€44) and Kobe-style beef with vegetables and sake sauce (€65).
Address: Rue Samuel Fahlberg, Gustavia 97133 Saint Barthélémy
Phone: (+59) 0590 524 531
Maya’s To Go
With its pastel blue-colored exterior and potted plants, Maya’s To Go offers traditional favorites with a tropical twist a stone’s throw from St. Jean Beach on St. Barts. The menu changes daily and includes fresh pastries served from a small delicatessen, and the smells of hot sandwich fillings attract passers-by from Les Galeries du Commerce, a palm tree-lined thoroughfare that borders the restaurant. Food favorites include beet salad with fresh goat cheese (€5); tomato, mozzarella and eggplant salad (€6); shrimp (€14) and beef tenderloin (€16). Maya’s To Go lies across from Gustaf III Airport, making it a popular destination for travelers who want a bite to eat before or after a flight; tourists can also buy food from the restaurant for a picnic on nearby St. Jean Beach.
Phone: (+59) 0590 298 370
Address: Les Galeries du Commerce, St. Jean, Saint Barthélemy
Sand Bar at Eden Rock
Located in Eden Rock—one of Saint Barthélemy’s glitziest hotel complexes—Sand Bar lures two different crowds. In the day, the venue—with its extensive breakfast, lunch and dinner menu—serves gourmet food to beachgoers. In the evening, Sand Bar turns into a Miami-style beach bar, with candlelit tables that overlook the turquoise waters of St. Jean Bay and live music. Travelers flock to the restaurant-cum-bar for a varied food menu devised by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, a Strasbourg-born three Michelin-starred chef who has restaurants in New York City and Tokyo. The night menu includes penne pasta with crushed tomatoes, mozzarella and basil (€27) and grilled beef sirloin with chimichurri sauce and fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce (€36). Sand Bar also has an extensive wine selection for thirsty visitors who come here for an evening snack and a glass of red. Book a table online.
Address: Baie de Saint Jean, Saint Barthélemy 97133, Saint Barthélemy
Phone: (+59) 0590 297 999
Take the time to drive to remote Gouverneur Beach, a private, tree-lined strip of sand embraced by hills on each side. Considered one of the island’s most exclusive beaches, its sweet seclusion makes it the perfect place to get an all-over tan. Located at the bottom of Montbars Hill, the journey involves steep and winding roads, but the isolation is more than worthwhile.
Known for its white sands, Colombier Beach overlooks the horseshoe-shaped bay of Anse de Colombier and its yacht-filled waters. The beach, nestled in a rocky cove on the tip of Saint Barthélemy, can only be accessed by foot via a hillside path or boat charter (see below). The trip is well worth it: Colombier Beach is home to an array of sea life, including reef fish, and is a popular snorkeling hotspot. Travelers descend on the beach throughout the year to soak up the sun, have a picnic and spot sea turtles that hobble across its shoreline, making it the ultimate destination for rest and relaxation.
The beach is still called “Rockefeller’s Beach” by locals because David Rockefeller once owned a villa here. The property, which is now abandoned, was famous for its wave-shaped roof and lavishly landscaped gardens.
Private Boat Charters
See St. Barth from the water with a private catamaran cruise. With full- or half-day options available from different providers, a cruise is fantastic at any time of day but absolutely magical at sunset. Cruise destinations can include the nearby marine park, Colombier Bay or Fourchu Island. Book with a company such as Jicky Marine Service.
Indulge in the excitement at the famous Nikki Beach, with worldwide locations including Bali, St. Tropez, Miami Beach, Spain, Morocco, Monaco, Greece, and Thailand. Located on the beach of Saint-Jean, only minutes from the airport, this luxurious establishment prides itself on its famous, jet-setting clientele. Sip on the finest wines and liqueurs while lounging on a classic white beach bed and gazing out to sea. Follow on Instagram.
Grab a cocktail at Le Ti, a lively and colorful locale at Pointe Milou. Le Ti is famously loud, proud, and legendary. Perfect for lovers of partying, music, and dancing on tables, the gourmet cuisine is fantastic, too. Le Ti is famous for its fun and eclectic cabaret show during dinner, don’t miss out!
A luxury lifestyle brand with modest beginnings, Calypso effortlessly channels the chic, carefree spirit of St. Barth. Born on the island, the store at Le Carre D’or in Gustavia is Calypso’s flagship shop. The brand, like its loyal customers, is inspired by all things art, culture and travel. Purchase designer clothes, perfumes and decor, and connect on Instagram.
Address: le carré d’or | gustavia 97133 St. Barthélémy