Put this magical island of St Barths on your bucket list if it isn’t there already. The moment you land you will feel the Parisian vibe, be blown away by the breath-taking views all along the coast lines, the turquoise and dark teal sea, pristine beaches and some of the best restaurants, chic shopping boutiques and stunning hotels with some of the most welcoming locals I have met while traveling the world.
As you are planning your trip to St Barths, I wanted to share the options on the best ways to get there because there are no direct flights from the US. Of course, private would be the way to go but there are three other options as well. I would recommend flying into San Juan and taking Tradewind. It is a little pricier than Winair out of Saint Martin but a much better airport. It was a cluster navigating through Saint Martin and they just throw you on whatever Winair flight and your luggage will arrive before you, or even two flights after you. If your only option is to fly through Saint Martin and take Winair, use the VIP service arranged through your hotel. It is worth every Euro! A guide meets your US arrival flight and guides you through the process. Do it on the return also, no lines to re check in on your US bound flight, no lines for customs, immigration or security. Tips are welcome and our agent was incredible.
I do not recommend the ferry although it is an option if you booked last minute and can’t get a flight. The unpredictable weather, the rough seas and the pure inconvenience of getting to the ferry in Saint Martin’s from the airport then from the port in St Barth’s to rent your car, it is simply not worth the hassle. Oh yes, and by the way, rent a car in St Barth’s. There is valet at all the hotels, beach clubs and restaurants and taxis are sometimes a lengthy wait. If you are not fond of European skinny, winding roads then don’t drive yourself but if you are up for an adventure and you want to hit all the beaches and hot spots rent a mini convertible or a Moke.
Where to Stay
There are so many incredible hotels on St. Barth’s. It all depends on which part of the island you want to spend your time at. We stayed at Le Sereno. Loved it, the rooms and service were incredible and so was our terrace view & private pool and you can walk ¼ mile into the ocean and not be above the waist in the sea. It is a 10 minute drive to St Jean (all the beach clubs & casual shopping) and 20 minutes from Gustavia which is where I would like to stay next time I holiday in St. Barths. Most of the chic shopping, fav restaurants and where Shell beach is located! We visited many hotels, so other notables would be Le Carl Gustaf, with stunning views and spectacular sunset bar and I adore Le Cheval Blanc, for every single reason you would ever dream of . If you are looking at something a little less expensive but still luxurious , check out St Christopher. Eden’s Rock is right in the heart of the party scene in St Jean where people go to be seen. Rooms are lovely but make sure you get a terrace with a view, many rooms have neither.
Where to Beach Club It!
There are amazing beach clubs in St Barths and that is where you want to be from 130ish until 430ish. The most well known is Nikki Beach where the Sunday scene is “where to be seen”. We went on a Monday and had a blast, excellent service, sushi, champagne and space to enjoy the beach without all the crowds. Eden’s Rock is also a vibe and close to Nikki Beach, super fun, eclectic high end boutique in the hotel lobby and a St. Tropez cool factor. Gyp Sea is my favorite in St. Jean. The boho-chic-free spirit ambiance, amazing people watching, incredible chef and staff and we closed the place down at 6pm before sunset. Another fab beach club is Shellona on Shell Beach in Gustavia on the other side of the island. Incredible cuisine, cocktails and view. Definitely plan on spending a relaxing 2 hour lunch there and bring your swim suit and towels and stay the afternoon!
You can’t find a “wrong” beach in St Barths. They are all immaculate. Check with your concierge if you are planning on hiking to Colombier Beach or the Piscine Naturelle (it could be a little confusing without a map and the wind and time of day also factor in). My favorite beaches are Gouverneur; the beach in front of Le Cheval Blanc hotel (plan on spending a few hours there too, super luxe hotel, best boutique on the island, fabulous dining and you can pay 170.00 euros per person for chairs at the beach if you are not staying at the hotel); and Shell Beach in front of Shellona Beach Club. The beach along St Jean is in front of Eden’s Rock, Nikki Beach and Gyp Sea. All swimmable, all white sandy perfection!
We did not have one “s0-s0” meal the entire time we on the island. Every restaurant is known for the fresh catch of the day which is usually sea bass or halibut it is difficult to narrow down the BEST because they were all amazing. I ate so well, healthy and light. You never left hungry, and you could eat all the fresh French break and I never felt too full.
I will recommend Bonito, it’s a must & their famous cocktail comes in mini bathtubs with a ducky! La Petite Plage for its last sitting of the night, 9:30pm, where you will end up dancing to ABBA on the tables by 11pm and the floor is sand so choose your footwear wisely. We loved the jungle casual feel at Eddy’s, we didn’t make it to Tamarin but it will be on the list for next year and the scene at Bagatelle on Friday for drinks at sunset is a must.
A little more casual, fun, super cute, more budget friendly clothing and accessory shopping can be found all around the beach clubs in St Jean. There are little narrow alley ways to explore, unique swimwear boutiques and great men’s clothing to be found in this area. You just must walk up and down both sides of the street and you be sure to find some cool trendy pieces to pick up. Most of the luxury boutiques are in Gustavia. But amongst them were boho boutiques with unique flair and island wear like Pop St Barths and Clic Concept boutique (you can also find them in the Hamptons). The large fashion houses can also be found in Gustavia amongst all the independent décor, book, clothing and accessory boutiques lining the main streets of Gustavia. It is worth spending 2-3 hours walking, people watching and window shopping if you don’t want to splurge!
There are very few island destinations I would return to because there is so much of the world I have yet to see, explore and learn from but St Barths, I will be back, sooner rather than later!