St Barths has long been touted as the ultimate winter escape, an exclusive playground to which the rich and famous flock year after year. It’s a see-and-be-seen kind of place that attracts fashionable crowds from all over the world.
From the moment you step foot on the island, you’ll feel like you’ve joined one of the world’s most exclusive clubs. Yet behind the superyachts that dominate the marina and nightly soirées that don’t stop until the sun rises, lies an island with a classic, laissez-faire Caribbean attitude and feet-in-the-sand luxury.
It’s a place where designer-clad glitterati and French-speaking locals sit side-by-side in shoes-optional, beachside restaurants, and where renting a car or Mini Moke is a requirement for exploring every coast, beach and cliff on the eight-square-mile island.
Hurricane Irma devastated the island in 2017 — the island’s crown jewel hotel, Eden Rock, will reopen at the end of this year — but it has bounced back with beautifully reimagined hotels, restaurants and villas.
There’s no better time than now to visit St Barths and marvel at its glamorous party scene and natural beauty, from the Jurassic Park-esque mountainscapes and pristine beaches to St Jean’s splashy clubs and out-of-this-world, French- Caribbean cuisine.
After landing in St Maarten or Puerto Rico, take a puddle jumper to St Barths’ Gustaf III Airport (no large passenger planes, private planes included, can land on its 2,170-ft runway — one of the shortest runways possible).
It’s touted as one of the most hair-raising landings on the planet: As the pilot turns off the engine as you coast through two peaks, the propellers guiding you down to safety just feet from St Jean Beach.