ST.BARTHS: French West Indies

St.Barths (Saint Barthelemy) is the largest island in the Caribbean and probably “the coolest island on earth”, not only for its beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters but because it has the best apres-beach: lots of shops, restaurants and nightlife.

It is the only francophone Caribbean island left. The reminiscences of its conquerors can be appreciated as the island is well looked after, has delicious cuisine and fantastic shops.
Surely you will see many celebrities if you spend a few days and will probably see some Victoria Secret “angel” posing on the beach, as most of the catalogues are photographed there.
It is a very safe island, unlike many others in the Caribbean. All the island’s residents are billionaires, among others, Abramovich, who bought the most expensive house to date, in the Salines beach.

Getting there:

There are direct flights to the island of St.Maarten (the capital of the archipelago) from Paris with Air France, or you can fly from Miami (2 hours and a half) or New York (4 hours), if you want to combine it with some big city.
If you want to go straight from Spain ideally fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico and from there catch a one hour flight to St.Maarten.

In any case, from St. Marteen have to take another small plane from the WinAir company that takes 10 minutes and which is not suitable for those suffering from any heart disease, as the runway is so short it looks like you’ll end up in the water.
When to go:

The high season at St.Barths is Christmas. On that date prices soar because it is the “Celebrity New Years Eve Spot”.

The weather is fantastic all year round, except from September to mid-October, when everything is almost all closed because of the hurricane season.

Eden Rock: The hotel of the “beautiful people” par excellence.
Bungalows and beachfront villas, each one of them decorated differently.
If you want to give yourself a treat, it has two huge villas, Villa Rockstar and Villa Nina which are stratospheric, as well as their prices.
Its beach restaurant “The Sand” is nice, but do not miss “The Rock”, the hotel’s most emblematic restaurant that opens only at night. It has a very romantic atmosphere and the food is delicious (do not forget to visit the toilets, really worth to take a look …) (about 80 € per person)

If you go, ask for the manager, Sonia who is from Barcelona and will treat you very well.

Le Toiny: It’s in the greenest part of the island, to the West, on a hill facing the Salines beach.
It is one of the best hotels on the island, highly recommended for a more peaceful plan.
All rooms are villas with private pools, cascading over the mountain, so to access the beach there is a shuttle that takes you from the hotel and it takes only about 5 minutes.

Restaurant “Le Gaiac” which has lovely views, is considered one of the island’s Gourmet places.
I recommend you try the brunch buffet on Sundays, an “all you can eat” luxury, with a fixed price. (45 € per person without drinks)

Le Sereno: it is a lower category, a 4 star, but it’s nice because it’s brand new and very nice, so it’s a cheaper option.
L’isle de France: In the past, the best hotel in St.Barths, situated on the beach of Flamant, this 5 star has fallen a bit behind compared to the previous ones.
Let’s go shopping:

– Gustavia: which is the capital of St.Barths, is where the best shops such as Hermes, Vuitton, Bvlgari are … and they are duty free.
There are many hippie chic fashion boutiques like “Vanita Rosa” or “Marina”, “Celle Calypso” or “Pain de Sucre”.
Check out the souvenir shop “St.Barths Pati” as it has really cute things.

– St-Jean: The area is less luxurious but some boutiques sell endearing treats.
To eat:
In general all the restaurants on the island are quite expensive.

Nikki Beach: One of the famous “beach clubs” in St. Jean Bay. One of the hottest spots on the island to stay until pretty late, though it also has a great atmosphere at lunch time and on Saturdays there are usually fashion catwalks as a means of entertainment.

Moreover, in this beach you can see sea turtles if you bring some snorkels with you. (About 60 € per person)

The Sand (Hotel Eden Rock): This is the hotel’s “beach club”, very enjoyable. (About 60 € per person)

La Plage: Another “beach club” in the same bay, great atmosphere, where you can eat well, while a DJ plays music. (About 50 € per person)

Do Brazil: In Shell Beach in Gustavia. A casual restaurant, really cool, just off the beach perfect for watching the sunset. (About 50 € per person)

For dinner:

Le Ti St.Barths Caribbean Tavern: It’s the most entertaining place on the island. Decorated with chandeliers and red velvet, dinners are served at about 8:30 pm and at 10 pm people are already dancing on the tables. Best nights, Friday and Saturday. (About 70 € per person)
Isola: It’s in the city of Gustavia, quite sophisticated and probably the best Italian on St.Barths. (About 70 € per person)
Maya: It’s one of the first good restaurants on the island, considered almost an institution (it has been more than 25 years on the beach), the atmosphere is relaxed and the food is a mixture of French and Creole cuisine. It is a favourite for regulars to the island.
For a drink:

Le Yacht Club: From the same owners as Le Ti, it is the hottest club in the harbour with great sea views, definitively the place to see and be seen. The restaurant serves French cuisine and upstairs there is the Voyageur Lounge to have a drink outdoors.

Casa de Nikki: It’s a club in the port of Gustavia, from the same owners as Nikki Beach. In fact you have a shuttle bus which leads you from the beach to the club for free. Cool nightlife environment from midnight until dawn and it is very popular among the owners of the boats moored in the harbour as well as “celebrities”.
Baz Bar: In the port of Gustavia, not glamorous at all, with wood decorations but very popular among celebrities and the owners of the docked boats.
To know the island and its beaches, I recommend renting a jet ski with a guide monitor to take you all around the island. It is quite tiring, but pretty fun.

Saline beach: While nudity is not allowed on the island, plenty of people do practice it on this beach.
Flamands Beach: It is very long and the water is deep.

Shell Beach: Very near Gustavia, near the Do Brazil restaurant.

St.Jean Bay: It is divided into two areas by Eden Rock. It is the busiest beach on the island.

Toiny Beach: It is a favourite among surfers for its waves though it has strong currents.


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