St. Barts has certainly perfected its role playing the most glamorous destination in the West Indies. Defined by toney hotels and extravagant villas, sceney beach clubs, and a pulsing nightlife, it’s no wonder St. Barts has long served as a jet-set playground for the world’s glitterati. But look beyond the ritz and glitz and you’ll find a tiny island packed with natural beauty and laid-back Caribbean vibes.
Located on serene crescent shores of Grand Cul-de-Sac, 44-room Le Barthélemy serves up a streamlined interpretation of Caribbean style thanks to dreamy interiors by Parisian designer Sybille de Margerie. The hotel’s superb new Amis restaurant, helmed by chef Vincent Gomis, goes big on South of France flavors while highlighting the freshest local ingredients.
TO EAT / TO DRINK:
Less than one year old, this chic newcomer has arguably become the island’s hottest beach club. Come for a toes-in-the-sand lunch to enjoy incredible seafood, sip tropi-cocktails (or magnums of rosé), and dance to house beats.
Perched on a hill above the harbor, swanky French-Peruvian restaurant Bonito is the ultimate place to be seen in Gustavia. Snag a table on the balcony for sunset cocktails, then gorge on fabulous ceviches.
There are two ways to reach secluded Colombier Beach: by boat or on foot. While it’s a 25-minute trek down steep steps and rocky hills, you’ll be rewarded with crystalline waters and minimal crowds.
Go Plane-Spotting in St. Jean
The notoriously short runway on St. Barts means that arriving airplanes swoop in dramatically to stick a landing. Join other snap-happy visitors on the hilltop above Gustav III Airport or on St. Jean Beach for brilliant photo opps of prop planes making their treacherous descent.
Dip into the “Piscines Naturelles”
Drive along the rugged southeastern coast to Grand Fond, then walk the cliffside path to the photogenic natural pools. Along the way, you’ll also pass by the “Washing Machine,” an area where the waves crash into the rocks to form a whirlpool.