Find that French “je ne sais quoi” in a tropical setting on St Barts, where ocean-minded living is enjoyed by stylish sun-seekers and glamorous yachters. Despite the celeb stamp of approval the island is relaxed and friendly, which is exactly what makes it so attractive to those truly in need of an escape. For a weekend that will rejuvenate your spirit, inspire your tastebuds, and leave you with a golden vacation glow, there’s simply no place like it.
The infamous landing into St Barts is half the thrill of the trip – but it’s not as frightening as some might say. There are no direct flight to the island, as the short runway means only small planes can land. The best way to get there is via St Martin on a flight with St Barth Commuter; flights run a few times a day. Step onto the tarmac and climb up the 10-seater plane, where the pilot will personally encourage you to take a window seat and enjoy the view.
The flight is about 12 minutes from take off to landing, and the aerial view you’ll get of St Barts and the sparkling Caribbean sea is magnificent. At the airport, you’ll find a handful of rental car companies to pick up your island wheels.
Where to Stay
For a getaway à deux, Alphane Villa is the ideal hideaway. Located in the Mont Jean gated community on the island’s North East tip, this charming little white cottage boasts an idyllic private setting and gorgeous pool, not to mention the sweeping views of Anse du Marigot and Petit Cul De Sac. Nearby, you’ll see the signature St Barts red-roofed villas tucked into surrounding hills, and the calm atmosphere is only added to by the sound of the waves down below. Mornings at Alphane Villa should be spent waking up slow and sipping coffee while your feet dangle in the pool.
If you’re traveling with a larger group, you can rent Alphane Estate, an 5-bedroom villa just down the lane with equally chic all-white decor, a requisite shaded pool and a dock that juts out onto the sea.
What to Eat
The abundance of international cuisine, mixed with French fabulousness and as-fresh-as-it-gets seafood on offer is sure to please even the most discerning foodie. First thing’s first, it’s necessary (naturally) to stock your villa with the French essentials: bread, cheese, and wine as soon as you arrive. There’s a supermarket a stone’s throw away from the airport so you can fill your car with the must-have goodies, and don’t forget to stop at Le Petit Colombe for buttery, flaky croissants. For a memorable lunch, make your way to Le Cheval Blanc Isle de France on Anse de Flamands; where you can sip on crisp Sauvignon Blanc and tuck into incredibly fresh tuna tataki with your toes in the sand.
What to See
St Barts is a small island, and its coastline happens to be home to some of the world’s prettiest stretches of sand. It’s possible to hit two different beaches each day, and possibly a third for sunset. Spend one morning at local-favorite Grand Saline beach; where turquoise water is enclosed by two rugged rocks jutting out into the sea to create a calm cove for swimming. The entrance is a little hidden, but when you see a pretty walkway shaded by an umbrella of palms that means you’ve arrived. On your way out, stop for a beer at the unassuming Creole restaurant across from the parking lot, Le Grain de Sel.
Afterward, make the 10-minute drive to Saint Jean beach (right), the see-and-be seen spot on the island. You can watch the planes take off while you swim in the warm waters, or sip on an icy cocktail from one of the beach bars like Le Plage St Barth. On day two, explore the island’s west side with a hike to the secluded sands of Colombier Beach after soaking up the sun at Gouverneur Beach.
What to Do
While beach hopping is a great way to experience the island, for a break from the sands, head to the charming town of Gustavia, where you’ll find plenty of excuses to fill your closet back home. Stores like Hermes and Cartier invite you to shower yourself in French luxury, while local favorites such as Calpyso offer the best of local style, including fragrant perfumes. When there’s no room left for souvenirs in your suitcase, venture towards the sea and hop on a yacht charter for a late afternoon sail, or perhaps try your hand at windsurfing. No matter what, catch one sunset show from the sand at the renowned Eden Rock Hotel in St Jean (right).
Au Revoir? Yes please!
We’re willing to bet most people who visit St Barts spend their last morning trying to figure out a way just to stay a little longer. Unfortunately, all weekends must eventually come to an end, but you can hang on to those incredible St Barts vistas a little longer if you take the ferry to St Martin to catch your flight home. The Voyager ferry dock is in the heart of Gustavia, perfectly situated for you to grab a coffee at one of the cafés across the street to bring aboard. Take a seat up top and enjoy the breeze. As you watch the island slowly become a small dot in the horizon, you’ll be planning your next visit, guaranteed.
Find out more about Alphane Villa