The French Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy, or St. Barts (or St. Barths) as it’s generally known as, is a playground for the extraordinarily well-heeled—the sort 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 discovered what units St. Barts aside. Positive, the island has the pristine white sand seashores and good turquoise water that a lot of the Caribbean is thought for, however there’s additionally an enormous bonus in relation to vacationing right here: scrumptious French meals in all places, ready by a few of the greatest cooks on this planet. Lovely seashores and fresh-baked croissants? Signal me up.
And if that isn’t sufficient to entice you: St. Barts additionally throws some really epic seashore events, and is house to a few of the greatest high-end procuring 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 Seashore, which, because the identify suggests, is roofed by shells of many shapes, sizes, and colours, is probably much more gorgeous. And lest you are worried 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 nice powder that’s excellent for throwing down a towel over. Positioned on the western facet of the island, Shell Seashore can also be an awesome spot to observe 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 onerous to search out—tucked behind rocks and under jagged cliffs—and the paths are a bit onerous to comply with, so it’s greatest to enlist the assistance of a educated information. (Guides additionally know when the swimming pools are protected to enter—the waves are sometimes too robust; I went with Jean-Edmond Amblard of Essence Wellness St. Barth.) The fairly quick however steep trek, with nice vistas, was effectively well worth the reward on the finish: a dip within the vibrant waters.
Look, any high-end lodge spa is bound to be wonderful, 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 remedies. Whilst you’re there, you may soak within the spa’s Nordic-inspired baths (one heat and two chilly), that are manufactured from pink cedar and scent unbelievable.
Set in a tropical jungle, consuming at Tamarin feels much less like dinner and extra like an expertise. If you happen to’re fortunate, you’ll be seated at one in all its tables that’s so enveloped by the luxurious environment that it’s straightforward to overlook there are different diners close by. A number 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. In case you have any room left, the citrus pavlova and ingenious tackle a lemon meringue pie are to die for.
I may eat at Amis for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—and actually, I did! That includes French and Mediterranean-inspired dishes, the menu is strictly the sort of mild, contemporary meals you wish 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 in the event 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 sort of place that may go away you mystified, considering, 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 means of each the appear and feel of its house in addition to the delicacies. Chef Arnaud Faye hails from a few of the greatest eating places in Paris and elsewhere in France, the place he obtained a number of Michelin stars, earlier than falling in love with St. Barts and bringing his abilities to the island. The most effective components about eating right here: the pastry cart, the place candy choices abound.
If you happen to’re searching for 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 a number of movie star sightings. Snag one of many plush, glowing white solar beds and, who is aware of, perhaps Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, or Gwen Stefani (all of whom have reportedly blessed Nikki Seashore with their presence) will plop down within the subsequent lounge chair over? Don’t miss Rosé Fridays and Wonderful Sundays, the favored day-long world dance celebration.
Bar de L’Oubli
This brilliant bistro, centrally situated in Gustavia, is a superb spot to wind down after a day of procuring 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 charge, 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 situated 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 personal infinity swimming pools, beneficiant patios, and the most important rain showers I’ve ever seen. If you happen to actually wish to deal with your self (and 5 very fortunate BFFs), hire one of many two six-bedroom villas, every outfitted with personal infinity swimming pools that look out over the bay. And in the event you can pull your self away out of your setup, the lodge’s sizable infinity pool is a sight value taking in, to not point out the beachfront loungers alongside it are additionally an awesome 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 obtained 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 non-public 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 also be a stunning house, with porcelain Dior tableware made completely for the restaurant. Remember to 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 non-public peninsula and recognized for its lovable lavender, yellow, and blue clapboard cottages, was all however destroyed by Hurricane Irma and closed in 2017. After 5 years of renovations, and now beneath the management of the Rosewood Resort Group, the resort has reopened and it’s chicer than ever. Now the most important lodge on the island (although you’d by no means understand it from the intimate really feel), its 20 suites every have personal 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 traits. Beforehand, she labored because the Options Director at Marie Claire journal and as a Employees Author at TIME journal.