A small piece of heaven, an uncontaminated corner of Earth, a Caribbean pearl in the French Antilles. It’s Saint-Barthélemy, St Barths for all. Discovered in 1493 by Cristoforo Colombo, the island bears the name of his brother Bartolomeo. Crystalline sea, gilded beaches, nighttime fun, luxurious houses, and wild forests have made St Barths the island preferred by the American jet set since the 60s when it became the go-to destination of multimillionaire David Rockefeller.
Although the island measures only 25 square kilometres, it’s rich in treasures and surprises, and it’s the perfect place for suntan lovers. St Barths has a tropical climate with temperatures that wander between the 22°C and the 30 °C. The warm weather is not torrid but moderate, thanks to the trade winds.
Best Beaches of St Barths
The strong point of St Barths is surely the beaches and the nature that surrounds them, with forests and mountains that seem to embrace the island with their wild vegetation. In the northern zone, you will find some of the most authentic beaches, especially in the area of the Sea Park, a wildlife sanctuary for turtles, corals, and shells. Here the splendid Grand Cul-de-Sac bay is found, an uncontaminated lagoon from which to depart for whales sighting tours. Moreover, you can’t miss Anse de Flamandse and Saint Jean’s bay, an uncontaminated sandy area where to suntan or look for the cool shade of the palm trees.
Among the most famous beaches of St Barths, there is also Le Saline, surrounded by a mountainous landscape. Another beach that deserves a visit is the Gouverneur, a protected reserve only accessible by boat or by foot. Going down south, you’ll find Toiny and Grand Fond, the wildest face of the island. This area is among the jet-set’s favourites, thanks to the heavenly resorts and clubs equipped with swimming pools, cocktail bars and Spas.
Gustavia, the Capital
However, in St Barths, there aren’t only beautiful beaches. The capital, Gustavia, once a fishermen village, is nowadays a delicious town made of low houses with Colonial-style red roofs, lots of green areas, and roads rich in restaurants, exotic boutique, and so many cafes full of music. Also, the shops offer a big variety of choices: here you can find all that you desire, from local products to international boutiques, up to the most exotic craftsmanship.
Finally, you can’t miss the ruins of the fort of Gustavia. They’ll allow you a privileged sight, a view from above on the whole city, to admire the few remained Swedish buildings.
Best Luxury Hotels of St Barths
Hotel Villa Marie Saint-Barth
As for housing, it goes without saying that in St Barths you will find luxury and starred resorts without difficulty. In the top list of the most famous hotels on the island there’s the Hotel Villa Marie Saint-Barth (Colombier Gustavia, St-Barthélémy BL 97133, +590 590 77 52 52), a four-star hotel with 21 rooms conveniently located on the hills above Colombier, and directly overlooking Flamands Beach. The hotel features a chic tropical design, and here you’ll find an excellent gourmet restaurant with Creole and local cuisine, a bar offering rum and cigars, a luxury Spa, and a magnificent tropical garden.
Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa
One of the most luxurious hotels in St Barths is Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa (Baie de Grand Cul de Sac, St-Barthélemy 97133, +590 590 77 48 48), offering 46 rooms and a strategic position on the sea with a private beach. If this is not enough, you better know that this hotel sports a swimming pool open with an ocean view and a Spa. Here you can also find the cuisine of the starred French Chef Guy Martin. Finally, Le Barthelemy stands just near to designer boutiques, art galleries, and modern waterfront bars.
Another recommended hotel in St Barths is the Eden Rock (Baie de St Jean, St Barthélemy 97133, +590 590 29 79 99), also one of the most famous hotels in the whole Caribbean area, located on a stunning rocky promontory in the heart of Saint-Jean’s bay. With a Spa and the cuisine of Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Eden Rock offers you a complete experience, also thanks to the numerous activities here offered. Above all: sports and outdoor activities, art, gastronomy and music tours, and shopping tips.
Pearl Beach Hotel
One of St Barth’s most popular hotels is the Pearl Beach Hotel (Plage de St Jean, 97133 Gustavia, St Barthelemy), at a one-minute walk from the white sands of St-Jean Beach, offering an outdoor pool and water sports facilities. All rooms are air-conditioned and offer a beachfront view thanks to the terrace overlooking the garden. You will not miss anything here: flat-screen TV, minibar, iPod docking station, airport shuttle, Wi-Fi connection. To satisfy all your wishes, the Pearl Beach also has a snack bar and a restaurant.
Villa Angel Sunset
As an alternative to hotels, the best independent accommodation in St Barths is Villa Angel Sunset (Colombier, 97133 St-Barthélemy (+590) 690 735 018), a house suitable for two people with a private outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, and a wonderful balcony overlooking the patio. There is also a seating area with a flat-screen satellite TV, a kitchen with a dishwasher, and an en-suite bathroom. BBQ facilities are also available. Activities in the area include horse riding, fishing, and hiking.
Best Restaurants of St Barths
We also have good news for food lovers: in St Barths, there are plenty of restaurants, great variety of food choices, and different cuisines that will satisfy all tastes. One of the most famous restaurants in St Barths is certainly Le Tamarin (Saline St-Barthélemy BL 97133, +590 590 29 27 74), where Chef Charley Bouhier offers a creative cuisine with French, Caribbean, and gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Obviously, it’s located on the sea, and the architecture is typical of the Caribbean area, with soft lighting and a relaxing atmosphere. This restaurant is open only for dinner.
For a good lunch, however, we recommend L’Isoletta, a very nice place in the capital Gustavia (II Rue du Roi Oscar, Gustavia 97133, St. Barthélemy, +590 590 52-0202). This is one of the most appreciated Italian restaurants in St Barths. Guess why? Because it’s a restaurant in full Italian style, even the Chef is Italian, and it tops it all by offering a great selection of pizzas. This pizzeria is open all day, even in the evening, and it also offers Italian breakfasts.
Bonito Saint Barth
If you are a nightlife type and want something fun, Bonito Saint Barth (Rue Lubin Brin, Gustavia, St-Barthélemy, +33 5 90 27 96 91) is a restaurant where you can dine with music and DJ sets. Here you can enjoy South American and French cuisine, combined to create a surprising mix. The highlight of this beautiful restaurant is fish, but there are also vegan and vegetarian options. In addition, the aesthetic appearance of the dishes is very well curated, an experience that will involve all your senses. You can also spend the rest of your evening here, as it’s one of the most popular night spots in St Barths.
If you have something less demanding in mind, your place is Santa Fe (Morne Lurin, St-Barthélemy, +590 590 27 61 04). Here you will have one of the best views you can dream of in St Barths, as the place overlooks the ocean and allows you to see all the neighbouring islands. In this case, too, French cuisine and fish specialities prevail but the dishes are decidedly unusual and creative; from desserts to sandwiches to seafood, everything will surprise you.
Finally, we would like to recommend La Plage (D209, Plage St, St-Barthélemy, +590 590 52 81 33), a sort of bungalow on the beautiful beaches of St Jean, to enjoy the sea breeze and the breathtaking view. This restaurant will offer you typical dishes from the Caribbean cuisine, for a 360-degree immersion in the paradisiac mood of St Barths. At La Plage, moreover, there is always a fun atmosphere, perfect for your beach parties!
Nightlife In St Barths
For a night out, you can’t miss the Modjo (Centre Vaval, St Jean 97133, St. Barthélemy, +590 590 29-7569), a place where you can also eat, but above all have fun. This is a lounge bar, a sort of club with an energetic party atmosphere, great cocktails, live music, and DJ sets. Different events take place here every night, with music and guests to satisfy all tastes.
Le Ti Saint Barth
Another favourite place for St Barth’s nightlife is Le Ti St Barth (Pointe Milou, Pointe Milou 97133, St. Barthélemy, +590 590 51-1580), a typical Caribbean tavern that offers dinners with cabaret, but not only. It’s also a very popular bar where you go dancing on the tables, along with the animation, which every night cheers up the place. There is also a fancy dress room available to make your stay even more fun.
Le Bar de l’Oubli
On the port of Gustavia, there is Le Bar de l’Oubli (Rue de la France, Rue de la Guadeloupe, St Barthélémy 97133, +590 590 27 70 06), a French family-run restaurant specialized in Caribbean cocktails, and with a good wine list (almost all French, of course). A place that aims to make the surrounding world fall into oblivion and offer you moments of quality, peace, and excellent drinks. Also, your pet friends are more than welcome here.
Sayolita Cocktail Bar
For all the surfers’ fans and the lovers of places frequented by the locals: we have the right one for you! It’s called Sayolita Cocktail Bar (Les Jardins de St Jean, St Jean, St. Barthélemy, +590 590 27-1330) and it’s a place on a pretty hill where to enjoy some of the best cocktails of St Barths. Imagine yourself in a Caribbean bar, surrounded by surfers, sipping a Mojito or a Margarita with your friends; could anything be better than that?
Ready to leave? How to get to St Barths
Are you ready to leave and discover this little pearl? Here is some info about the flights from Italy. The airport of Saint Barthélemy is very small and, therefore, can’t accommodate large aircraft. From Milan, the connection is guaranteed by Air France, which lands in Guadeloupe via Paris. The rates are around 770 euros on a return flight. Alternatively, you can fly from Rome to Saint Martin with KLM, with rates from 977 euros. From Guadeloupe and Saint Martin, some small companies, including Air Antilles Express and Air Caraïbes, reach St-Barth. From Saint Martin, the island of the French Antilles can also be reached by boat.