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St Barts: Why The Caribbean Island is The New French Riviera of The South   

St Barts: Why The Caribbean Island is The New French Riviera of The South    

One of the smallest islands in the Caribbean, the little-known tropical paradise of St Barts (St Barths for locals) is quickly becoming an internationally renowned luxury travel destination where the world's best known and most influential figures go to disconnect and recharge.


Located at the border of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the overseas collectivity of France uniquely combines the sophistication of St-Tropez with the laissez-fare of the Caribbean lifestyle. The result is somewhat unprecedented: an extremely exclusive yet unpretentious natural sanctuary. 


While it's common to see billionaires parading their superyachts in the port of the capital, Gustavia, it is just as regular to see many of the island's 8,500 locals sitting outside eating accras and sipping on beer in the local taverns.


For these reasons and many more we will explore here, the tiny tropical island is quickly becoming The French Riviera of the Caribbean. Still relatively unspoiled by tourism, we recommend visiting Saint Barthelemy and enjoying its swaying palms, wild remote beaches, and stunning cuisine while it's still somewhat of a secret.


A Hidden Treasure Trove of Natural Beauty


The 25 Km2 volcanic island of St Barts is ringed by sandy shores and thriving coral reefs. Thanks to also having shallow waters, particularly the channel between St Barts and St Martin which is no deeper than 30m, this means the tiny island is not just one of the world's top beach destinations but also an incredible place for snorkeling and diving. 


The shallow reefs that encircle the island help to protect its 16 pristine beaches while also attracting a diverse and colorful array of reef fish. The overall biodiversity of St. Bart's and the surrounding islands is remarkable, including 183 different species of fish, 54 varieties of coral, and 60 types of sea sponges. 


There are twenty-two dive sites scattered around St Barts, including The Kaïali, a wreck dive in 30m of water for advanced divers. For less experienced divers or those who prefer to stay on dry land, there are also several large, hidden caverns to explore within the island’s rocky walls.


For those with a real taste for exploration, multiple islands sit close to St Barts with mooring spots, including the luxury travel and nightlife hotspot of St. Martin as well as Anguilla with its stunning and ecologically significant coral reefs and beaches. 


The World's Most Luxurious Accommodation 


St Barts is home to every kind of luxury: from ultra-plush resorts where you go to see and be seen, to highly secluded villas that possess the feel of being on your own private island.


Two of the most renowned accommodation options on St Barts are Eden Rock and Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France. Both hotels were damaged and forced to closed following Hurricane Irma in 2017. However, both are once again fully open for business—and with upgrades. 


Eden Rock is the ultra-chic and fashionable place to be and place to party in St Barts. Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France is more regal and like a grand palace hotel. Other luxury accommodation options include The Christopher Hotel, which has the island's largest infinity pool and some of the best views on the island.


St Barts is also home to some of the world's most luxurious villa rentals. The VUE villa is high up in the hills of Colombier and features a private infinity pool, jacuzzi, and stunning views over the harbor and the islands of Nevis to the South. Villa Pelican (PLC) is a spacious Caribbean-style property that places you intimately and impossibly close to the sea and its abundant marine life. If your idea of a luxury travel destination is carving out your own piece of a tropical paradise, a private villa on St Barts island is the way to go. 

One of The Caribbean's Top Beach Destinations


With 16 long stretches of pristine white Caribbean sand, beach lovers are spoilt for choice on St Barts island. Whether your idea of a day at the beach is plenty of cocktail bars and eateries or unspoiled, secluded bays where you have to pack your own lunch (we recommend Mayas To Go), there is a beach for you.


Here are some of the top beaches we recommend on St Barts:


Anse de Grande Saline Beach


Grand Saline is a remote beach accessed down a leafy corridor on the Southeastern part of the island. There are no beach bars, no shade, and no amenities whatsoever. Simply coral sand, a backdrop of towering mountains, and the open sea. Not forgetting a few nude sunbathers.


Anse Du Grand Colombier Beach


Another one of St Barts untouched beaches, this time on the western end of the island, Grand Colombier is only accessible by catamaran or a 25-minute hike along a goat path. Pack a picnic lunch, snorkel, and make sure to stay for the sunset.


Saint-Jean Beach


Just a few minutes from Gustavia and the Eden Rock hotel, Saint-Jean is one of the most well-known beaches in St Barts. Celebrities, water activities, beach bars, and even planes touching down (The runway in St. Bart’s is one of the shortest in commercial aviation) can be enjoyed from its warm white sand and calm waters. 


The Culinary Capital of The Caribbean


From local family-run taverns to upscale, Michelin star dining and restaurants run by up-and-coming young French chefs, the St Barts dining scene is truly world-class. It also has plates to suit every budget, from filling lunchtime plat du jours (daily specials) for 10€ to 12€ to some of the world's most expensive and elaborate dishes.


The local cuisine mainly stems from French and Creole origins. Popular methods in Creole cooking include barbecue, smothering, and curry style “colombo”. You can also find some of the best Italian food outside of Italy, incredibly fresh seafood, Asian food, and traditional French cuisine imported directly from Paris. 


Some of the most popular and impressive restaurants on St Barts island include:


Do Brazil 


A Brazilian restaurant co-owned by French singer and tennis star Yannick Noah, Do Brazil is a relaxed eatery perched above Shell beach. A must-visit for its South American stews and people-watching.


L'Esprit Saline


One of the most fashionable spots on St Barts, L'Esprit Saline is where chef Jean-Claude delivers a daily changing menu of local and international fusion cuisine. 


La Langouste 


Located at Hotel Baie des Anges, La Langouste is the place on St Barts for the freshest spiny lobster, chosen directly from the tanks.


On the Rocks 


On the Rocks is the restaurant at Eden Rock. The premier dining spot serves gourmet classics by French chef Jean-Claude Dufour and provides beautiful views over the coral reefs.


As well as fine dining and candle-lit dining spots, St Barts is home to several gourmet traiteurs. More than the classic French picnic, these establishments offer Michelin-star worthy takeouts perfect for a midday beach picnic or private candlelit dinner. The most noteworthy gourmet traiteurs on St Barts include Mayas To Go, La Rôtisserie, and St Jean.


The Ultimate in High-Class Caribbean Fashion 


With over 200 shops and boutiques, St Barts is one of the premier shopping destinations in the Caribbean—if not the number one. From small local designers to leading international brands, St Barts offers style and character from another era that is much subtler than the extravagance found in Mykonos, St. Tropez, or Sardinia.


Walking along the cobblestone streets in Gustavia at 6 pm is like stepping into another time. As well as fashion, endless other shops are waiting to be found down narrow alleyways, including local beauty brands and cosmetic lines such as Route de Saline, and specialist purveyors of everything from wine to jewelry to housewares.


A few of the must-visit shopping destinations on St Barts island include:


Ligne St Bart 


One of the few products made on the island, Ligne St Barth uses medicinal plants and natural ingredients such as frangipani flowers, sugar cane, and mango butter to make incredible cosmetic products.


Delfina Swimwear 


The Italian label sold at Barneys, New York, offers elegant Caribbean-themed designs with nautical stripes, Palm trees, and tropical flowers.


Boutique at Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France


At the Boutique at Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France, you can find everything from Pucci bikinis and limited-edition watches to Givenchy bags and astrology necklaces and pearls by local designers. 



Booking Your Luxury Trip to St Barts


With no direct flights from the US, many visitors arrive at this luxury travel destination by private plane or yacht. Daily ferries, water taxis, and helicopter connections are also available from Sint Maarten and Saint Martin.


Your time is precious. Allow our team to help book everything from luxury transfers to world-class accommodation, so you can sit back and make the most out of every moment of your trip.