The French Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy, or St. Barts (or St. Barths) as it’s generally referred to as, is a playground for the extraordinarily well-heeled—the form of place Kendall Jenner or Jeff Bezos would possibly jet to for the weekend, and sometimes do. It had lengthy existed in my thoughts as a luxe dreamland, and after a brief constitution flight from San Juan, courtesy of Tradewind Aviation, I used to be excited to search out out why the tiny island (it’s lower than 10 sq. miles), is such a draw.
By the point I completed my first meal, I had found out what units St. Barts aside. Certain, the island has the pristine white sand seashores and good turquoise water that a lot of the Caribbean is understood for, however there’s additionally an enormous bonus relating to vacationing right here: scrumptious French meals all over the place, ready by among the finest cooks on the planet. Lovely seashores and fresh-baked croissants? Signal me up.
And if that isn’t sufficient to entice you: St. Barts additionally throws some actually epic seashore events, and is dwelling to among the finest high-end purchasing within the Caribbean (Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Prada all have outposts there). Learn on for one of the best locations to laze the times away.
St. Barts could also be recognized for its white sand, however dare I say Shell Seaside, which, because the identify suggests, is roofed by shells of many shapes, sizes, and colours, is probably much more gorgeous. And lest you are concerned that this seashore is fairly however painful on the ft, there are many areas the place the shells have been crushed all the way down to a wonderful powder that’s excellent for throwing down a towel over. Situated on the western facet of the island, Shell Seaside can be an amazing spot to look at the sundown; head to Shellona to nosh on some Greek bites as you absorb the view.
Pure Swimming pools
Everybody is aware of about St. Barts’ seashores, however its lesser-known pure swimming pools are additionally a must-see. They are often arduous to search out—tucked behind rocks and under jagged cliffs—and the paths are a bit arduous to observe, so it’s finest to enlist the assistance of a educated information. (Guides additionally know when the swimming pools are protected to enter—the waves are sometimes too sturdy; I went with Jean-Edmond Amblard of Essence Wellness St. Barth.) The fairly brief however steep trek, with nice vistas, was nicely definitely worth the reward on the finish: a dip within the vibrant waters.
Look, any high-end lodge spa is certain to be superb, however add in a partnership with the luxurious skincare model La Mer and Le Spa is in a category all of its personal, as the one spa within the Caribbean to combine the famed miracle pores and skin cream into its face and physique therapies. Whilst you’re there, you may soak within the spa’s Nordic-inspired baths (one heat and two chilly), that are fabricated from crimson cedar and scent unbelievable.
Set in a tropical jungle, consuming at Tamarin feels much less like dinner and extra like an expertise. In the event you’re fortunate, you’ll be seated at one in every of its tables that’s so enveloped by the luxurious environment that it’s simple to overlook there are different diners close by. A few of the stars of the menu are the tiradito, a Peruvian dish just like carpaccio, with pickles and ginger sorbet, and the milk-fed veal. When you’ve got any room left, the citrus pavlova and ingenious tackle a lemon meringue pie are to die for.
I might eat at Amis for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—and actually, I did! That includes French and Mediterranean-inspired dishes, the menu is precisely the form of mild, contemporary meals you need to be consuming once you’re by the water, together with native ceviche, watermelon-goat cheese salad, spiced beef balls, and carpaccio (each fish and tomato, the latter of which is served with burrata from Puglia). Guests who aren’t staying on the lodge can go for the “A Day at Amis Plage,” which incorporates an appetizer, foremost, and dessert, together with a solar mattress for the day, for 90 euros. And when you stick round for dinner, you should order the lobster ravioli; it comes with carrot and ginger purée and a curry butter sauce that had me actually desirous to lick my plate clear.
That is the form of place that can depart you mystified, pondering, Are we positive I’m not in Saint-Tropez proper now? A play on the French Riviera, Rivyera goals to move guests to the equally posh South of France by way of each the feel and appear of its house in addition to the delicacies. Chef Arnaud Faye hails from among the finest eating places in Paris and elsewhere in France, the place he acquired a number of Michelin stars, earlier than falling in love with St. Barts and bringing his skills to the island. Top-of-the-line components about eating right here: the pastry cart, the place candy choices abound.
In the event you’re in search of a day celebration—and who isn’t?—head to the luxurious seashore membership, Nikki Beach, for a day of beats, swimming, cocktails, sushi, and sure just a few celeb sightings. Snag one of many plush, glowing white solar beds and, who is aware of, possibly Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, or Gwen Stefani (all of whom have reportedly blessed Nikki Seaside with their presence) will plop down within the subsequent lounge chair over? Don’t miss Rosé Fridays and Superb Sundays, the favored day-long world dance celebration.
Bar de L’Oubli
This vibrant bistro, centrally positioned in Gustavia, is a superb spot to wind down after a day of purchasing within the island’s capital metropolis’s many boutiques. Select from any variety of tropical cocktails, from Caribbean classics (daiquiris, mai tais, darkish and stormies) to the inventive (its namesake options blended strawberries and champagne), and snack on cod fritters and fries. Alternatively, get an early begin with mimosas at brunch. Bar de L’Oubli is a favourite for breakfast on the island, simply ask the Kardashians and Karlie Kloss, who’ve reportedly dined there.
St. Barts meets Moulin Rouge at Le Ti, the place burlesque dancers placed on a cabaret present when you dine. After the meal, the restaurant, set in a Creole cottage up within the hills, turns right into a full-on membership and, for a small price, partiers can go to the costume closet to adorn themselves with feathers and sequins. That is your Instagram second.
On the north finish of St. Barts, away from the crowds of Gustavia, lies Le Barthélemy, a luxurious lodge positioned in the midst of the island’s Grand Cul de Sac, a quiet, crescent-shaped lagoon recognized for kitesurfing and sea turtles. Its trendy ocean view suites include non-public infinity swimming pools, beneficiant patios, and the biggest rain showers I’ve ever seen. In the event you actually need to deal with your self (and 5 very fortunate BFFs), hire one of many two six-bedroom villas, every geared up with non-public infinity swimming pools that look out over the bay. And when you can pull your self away out of your setup, the lodge’s sizable infinity pool is a sight price taking in, to not point out the beachfront loungers alongside it are additionally an amazing spot to spend a day. (The hardest determination I confronted every day was the place to park myself!) All that, plus all-you-can-eat ache au chocolat within the morning? I by no means wished to depart.
Cheval Blanc is the one lodge in St. Barts to have acquired the coveted “palace” distinction. The lodge, a part of the LVMH’s lodge group, not too long ago underwent a top-to-toe renovation by famend French inside designer Jacques Grange. The outcomes are grand. A spotlight: La Villa de France, a five-bedroom villa with two infinity swimming pools, a personal spa, and jaw-dropping views. However maybe one of the best a part of the property is the gardens surrounding it, designed by Madison Cox, the panorama designer behind Marrakech’s famed Jardin Majorelle, as soon as owned by Yves Saint Laurent. The lodge’s restaurant, La Case, can be a stunning house, with porcelain Dior tableware made completely for the restaurant. You should definitely order chef Jean Imbert’s specialty: the sand-crusted sea bass.
Rosewood Le Guanahani
Le Guanahani is again! And it has a brand new identify. The beloved mainstay, set on a personal peninsula and recognized for its lovely lavender, yellow, and blue clapboard cottages, was all however destroyed by Hurricane Irma and closed in 2017. After 5 years of renovations, and now below the management of the Rosewood Lodge Group, the resort has reopened and it’s chicer than ever. Now the biggest lodge on the island (although you’d by no means comprehend it from the intimate really feel), its 20 suites every have non-public swimming pools, which very a lot appears to be a factor in St. Barts.
Kayla Webley Adler is the Deputy Editor of ELLE journal. She edits cowl tales, profiles, and narrative options on politics, tradition, crime, and social tendencies. Beforehand, she labored because the Options Director at Marie Claire journal and as a Workers Author at TIME journal.