Saint Barthelemy, more popularly known as St. Barts, serves as a playground for international celebrities, socialites and business tycoons. From shopping at designer boutiques to hitting the see-and-be-seen beach clubs, this laid-back but luxurious island has a lively atmosphere tailor-made for the revelers who flock here year-round.
Here are our picks for the top St. Barts attractions.
Swim at Saline
One of the best beaches is a trek up and around dunes, but up at the top, it’s the sweep of cerulean blue sea will leave you breathless, not the walk. The cove’s gentle waves are fun for body surfing, and the water always seems to be just the right temperature. Saline is a naturist beach, so leave your inhibitions at your hotel.
Hit the shops
Gustavia, the island’s capital, is the place to shop. You’ll find everything from Hermès to one-of-a-kind jewelry shops. Walking down Quai de la République, shopaholics can pick up pieces from Eres, Cartier and Dior. Follow the insiders to Saint-Barth Stock Exchange for vintage finds from high-end shops.
Dine at Le Ti
Book a late table at this restaurant/nightclub and wait for the party to unfold — it could be one of the legendary full-moon parties or a theme night. The staff is sexy, the entertainment is risqué, the music is sultry and you could find yourself dancing on a table by the end of the night.
Party at Nikki Beach
A terrific location on Baie de St. Jean makes Nikki Beach a central partying spot. If you want to join the champagne-fueled fun, be sure to reserve a white sun bed or a private teepee ahead of time.
Find Privacy at Le Guanahani
When you tire of St. Barts’ hard-partying scene, retreat from the crowds and prying eyes at the hidden-away Le Guanahani. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel sits on its own 18-acre peninsula. For the utmost privacy, reserve one of the rooms with its own pool and terrace.
Hike to Colombier Beach
The rocky path is a bit rugged, so don’t try it in flip-flops. The 20-minute hike leads you to an idyllic deserted cove and one of the island’s top snorkeling spots. Bring water and a snack with you because it’s nothing but nature here.
Charter a Boat
Another way to visit Colombier Beach is via catamaran. Charter a private boat to bring you to the isolated area to see the island’s secret beach from another perspective (you’ll also get a glimpse of the deserted Rockefeller villa). Then spend the day sunning, snorkeling and sipping rosé.
Gaze at the waters in St. Barts and you will see an onslaught of colorful kites. Kitesurfing has become the sport of choice on the island. The best place to learn it is in the calm and shallow water in the Grand Cul de Sac lagoon. Le Guanahani sits right along the Grand Cul de Sac and can set you up with private lessons with certified instructors.
People-Watch at Eden Rock – St. Barths
Snag a table at the hotel’s Sand Bar and follow the scene on the beach. While people watching and admiring kitesurfers, enjoy the best burger and frites in the Caribbean. At night, the hotel’s chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten-helmed On The Rocks restaurant perched high above the bay affords mesmerizing views.
Relax at the Spa
Reverse the effects of St. Barts hedonism with a trip to the spa. Hidden in among tropical gardens, Spa by Clarins at Le Guanahani gives you a tranquil respite. After the Clarins Pure-Melt Gel Deep Touch Massage revives you, spend the rest of the time lounging by the spa’s adults-only outdoor pool as the attendants come by with treats.
Or head to nearby Le Barthélemy’s tiny Le Spa to get a relaxing facial from cherished skincare brand La Mer that will leave your skin radiant.