Close your eyes and imagine a place with crystal clear water, perfect weather, that laid-back Caribbean attitude, all of your favorite French foods, endless fresh seafood, and rosé coming out your ears. See that place? It’s called Saint Barthélemy.
While not the easiest island to get to in the Caribbean, we promise it’s worth the extra hop, skip & jump to reach one of our favorite islands in the world. From New York City, you can fly direct to St. Maarten in 3.5 hours. From there, you can either take a ferry to St. Barths or a quick flight in a tiny prop plane. We went with option number two, because traveling by sea takes over an hour and the flight is just a quick 10-minutes. This flight, however, is not for the faint of heart. The tiny, 8-person plane approaches the island with a fist-clenching descent and extremely abrupt landing (like, literally thought we were a-crashin’). But, alas, you must trust that the pilots make the trip dozens of times a day and are quite skilled at landing planes on the shortest runway ever. So… now you’re ready for a cocktail
Spend a Day at the Beach
When you crave the feel of soft sand under your toes, there are plenty of world-class beaches on the island to choose from. We recommend renting a car to do some exploring, so you can check out a few of the different beach scenes. While they’re all gorgeous, our favorites are Grand Cul de Sac Beach, Flamands Beach, Colombier Beach and Saline Beach. While nudity is forbidden on the island, you’ll often find a few sunbathing rebels lounging out in their birthday suits on Saline Beach.
Go for a Hike
For a little exercise, spend the morning out hiking and enjoying the gorgeous scenery. The Colombier Beach Trail is one of our favorite trails, beginning at the end of the road that parallels Flamands Beach. While not too strenuous, you will need tennis shoes since some of the terrain is a bit rocky and uneven. Follow the trail, even when it seems a bit precarious, and you’ll reach Colombier Beach. As this beach is only accessible by the hike or by boat, it’s a magical spot with few other people.
When you land at the airport in St. Jean, peek out at the shopping options across the street. The strip there has some great options but we prefer the more neighborhood-y shopping district in Lorient. For the most expensive stores on the island, head to the the port town of Gustavia, where searching for the best boutiques is part of the fun.
Pack a Picnic
Lots of great little grocery stores speckle the island, so having a beach picnic is easy and a great way to spend the afternoon. Don’t forget the rosé!
Relax at the Spa
Spa Sisley at Hotel Christopher is one of our favorite indulgences. Nothing is better than starting a vacation with the ultimate relaxation: a massage. The rooms here are open to the ocean, so the sound of the waves lull you to sleep, while your stress is worked away by talented estheticians.
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A favorite of locals, the patio seating here is killer and the vibe is refreshingly relaxed. It’s a welcoming spot and notable less stuffy than some of the island’s other restaurants. After a few cocktails, order the catch of the day and make sure to linger over dessert.
Always our first stop for lunch when in paradise, La Langouste lies on Flamands Beach. As the name suggests, they specialize in langoustines and will even let you choose which one you’d like from the tank.
The restaurant at Hotel Christopher serves delicious food accompanied by one amazing view. Enjoy your lunch or dinner while you listen to the waves crash on the shore below.
If the name Eden Rock sounds familiar, it’s probably because the hotel is a favorite among celebrities. Have dinner here, and who knows who you’ll be rubbing elbows with.
Set in the middle of a super lush landscape, each table at Tamarin is delightfully intimate. Illuminated by candlelight, the tables are strategically placed to create sense of privacy and seclusion. While the ambiance immediately makes the experience feel special, it’s the food that makes it one truly unforgettable meal.
The pink and white Cheval Blanc hotel seems to have been snatched right out of a dream. With only 40-rooms, the property continuously receives acclaim for it’s attention to detail and high level of service. Set on Flamands Beach, the property is secluded luxury at it’s best.
The swoon-worthy 40-room Hotel Christopher is set right on the edge rocky overhang with a picturesque view of the ocean. There’s no beachfront on property, but the beaches are a short drive and the pool loungers are set so close to the cliff-edge, it feels like you’re floating on the water. Elegant in style and minimally decorated, the rooms are an oasis of their own. The only thing that can pry you from the bed, is the beauty just outside your window.
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